Still, it pops the lid off a can of worms created by Prop 8. It's a very narrow judgement, and there's only one question it really answers.
On the up-side, it maintains our position of strength (sadly entirely disregarded by the "No on 8" coalition and campaign) in working to re-ammend the constitution. We have roughly 18,000 married same-sex families living their lives, working, paying taxes, raising children. We are not destroying the fabric of society in California, we're strengthening it. We are not devaluing California's spiritual life, we're celebrating it. That's what the campaign has to be about, not mealy-mouthed inoffensive unchallenging pap.
There's also the bureaucratic and business madness of supporting three different marriage and marriage-like classes of service. The RNC wants to complain that same-sex marriage will be a financial burden on small business? It's nothing compared to the burden that this balkanized judgement will place on business and government. This will have to be addressed.
Finally, there's the meat of the amendment, "a man and a woman." Wait for a spate of lawsuits to prevent or dissolve marriages since November where "man" or "woman" is debatable. Savvy divorce lawyers are going to go wild with the non-existent legal definition.
The imp of the perverse sees chaos, confusion and unintended consequences coming out of this, ideally enough that the silent center will want to repeal the amendment in disgust.
That means we will most certainly be going to the Capitol Crossroads "Sierra Stampede" in Sacramento in June. We may sponsor buckles, we may not.
On the way home on Sunday, we stopped at the tail-end of Potlatch to visit with folks, and ended up staying for about 4 hours. It was a blast.
I'm processing pics and they will be up on flickr in a few days.
The silver lining is the ACLU's suit that the amendment initiative exceeds the boundaries of an amendment, and instead is a "revision" to the constitution. Seeing that suit win would warm the cockles of my heart. Why?
Well, "Yes on 8" burned up $40million that could have been spent by evangelicals and Mormons on other races. That's nationally significant dollars. That's more than Republican campaigns went into debt this race. Sure, "No on 8" burned up money that could have been used in other progressive campaigns, but thanks to Obama's charm and fundraising skills it wasn't needed. I would love to see all that money wasted on an initiative that was struck down.
That's not what's going to make me dance a happy dance if the courts do strike the initiative down, though. What will make me dance a happy dance is that, if the courts strike down Prop 8 on the grounds that it's a "revision" rather than an "amendment" that pretty much kills any chances future initiatives on the subject have. It raises the bar to a level that other states haven't been able to defeat, and well above the current 52% that Prop 8 could muster.
Will it happen?
I'm not going to set myself up for disappointment. That said, the courts have struck down initiatives on just these grounds; there is legal precedent.
Democratic Senate gains? Yay.
Democratic house gains? Yay.
I'm going to send a letter, though, to my representative, my senators and the democratic leadership. Don't squander this chance. Don't make this into the first two years of the Carter administration. Don't make this into the first two years of the Clinton administration. Don't make this into the first two years of the second W administration (he had it his way in 2004-2006, or he should have). Come together. Work on reform. Work with the moderate Republicans; some of them have good ideas and might agree with you on some things. Drive legislation.
Prop 8? Not so yay. There's an estimated 3,000,000 uncounted mail-in and provisional ballots, though. There's still a slim chance that the proposition could be defeated if those ballots skew the right direction.
If you voted "yes" on Prop 8, you voted to end my marriage. I will not forgive that.
If you are crying in your beer about Prop 8's likely passage, and were eligible to vote in California but didn't vote against it, Prop 8's victory is your fault. I will not forgive that.
Doing this the weekend after Worldcon was a bit rough.
So for those of you who don't know the history, we've been going to the rodeo for something like the last 8 years. When we started, the host hotel was the San Jose
Then the rodeo decided that the fairgrounds wasn't a great venue (it wasn't, it was hot, dusty and boring) and got tired of being jerked around by the Hyatt (which was and still is, as a Holiday Inn, owned by a douche who really hates having "alternative" events in his hotel regardless of whether or not they make money). They moved the rodeo to Driscoll Ranches on the other side of the hill, an hour's drive from San Jose. The next year they moved the host hotel to the Hyatt Rickey's (once in Palo Alto, now torn down), which was a smidge closer, knocking off perhaps 15 minutes of travel time. After losing Rickey's (because it was being torn down) they moved to San Francisco and the Cathedral Hill Hotel. This, unfortunately, killed the Saturday pool party; SF was never warm enough to support it. It also changed the hospitality suite from being hosted and run by the Rodeo to being catered and bartended by the hotel.
I never really liked the Cathedral Hill (although it's much better than the Holiday Inn Golden Gate up the street).
After three years at the Cathedral Hill the association decided to get a hotel in San Mateo, just over the hill from the rodeo grounds and an easy 30 minute drive. They chose the Foster City Crowne Plaza. Some of you may remember this hotel from SiliCon 2003.
We bailed on work early on Friday to try to catch the tail end of the new Friday Afternoon pool party, but between scheduling, packing and travel we got there about 5 minutes before it ended. It was small (unlike the pool parties of the past) but fun, and Mark and Yvette met us at the hotel. Rodeo registration was just getting started, so we could pick up our sponsor badges.
Hospitality once again was in the hands of the Rodeo (and a cute new host), but three years of having the hotel run it meant that things were a bit shaky. Still, while the start was late the suite itself was excellent, with a great bar and lovely nosh.
Once again there was a dance up in the Bayview at the Sundance Association's Sundance Saloon. This time there were shuttle buses from the hotel to the venue, so we didn't have to catch a cab. We spent a little time there, talked with the guys from Homorodeo.com. We also had a few too martinis, so we headed back on the last bus and crashed.
Saturday morning we got up, got breakfast at the hotel (it wasn't impressive) and headed out. We got to the rodeo in time for the last few entrants in Pole Bending. About that time one of the entrants was kicked in the head by one of the animals, so there was a break while additional EMTs showed up. We were also treated to a Reno 911!-style entrance by a San Mateo Sheriff's Deputy (none of us quite got what her rush was, neither the other patrol car that followed nor any of the additional emergency vehicles saw the need for speed into the site). With that excitement over we got back to the real excitement of the rodeo.
Mark, Yvette, lobolance, mettemu, Bryan and jorhett all showed up and we got to see a pretty good day of events. I shot everything from Bronc Riding on through the end of the day, and will be posting pictures once things are sorted.
After the events were over we made our way to Half Moon Bay and found the Miramar Beach Restaurant to have dinner at. It was a bit odd, but the food was fabulous. We ate and then drove back over the hill.
By the time we got back, the Saturday Night Buckin' Ball was in full swing. We all cleaned up and spent a few hours at the ball. On the annoying side, our function rooms were mixed up with a Phillipino 18th Birthday Party that could have given Modesto ghetto lessons. Some of the kids cleaned up well, but some obviously didn't know what "cleaned up" even meant. Still, it was a good time.
Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, only without the too much drink the night before and no more Reno 911! following the inevitable injuries. Mark, Yvette and jorhett came back for another day's events. Sunday was, for the most part, a very good day.
Once the events were over, we (kind of) cleaned up and got ready for the awards BBQ. Of all the changes made over the last few years, putting the awards at the rodeo grounds and having a barbecue caterer come in with food was probably the most inspired. The caterer is good, and it allows things to wrap up in a much more relaxed fashion than the old practice of going back to the hotel for awards. Once again Phil Lucier and Drew Overbeck won the goat dressing buckle, but they weren't there to collect as Drew (I think it was Drew) was getting checked out for a wrenched shoulder when he fell off his horse in barrel racing earlier in the day.
So, while attendance was once again down (blame it on shifting weekends and three years in a San Francisco hotel), this was a most excellent rodeo. The rodeo grounds, while a bit of a schlep, were as beautiful and functional as ever. The Foster City host hotel was a great idea, even if the Crowne Plaza wasn't a great hotel. There are other hotels just off of Highway 92, though, and with a different hotel we could be seeing an upswing again. I can't wait until next year.
In the Mormon Times, Orson Scott Card publishes a strident call for revolution against governments that allow LGBT people to get married:
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.
Yeah, I've got no problem going negative on these people. They're the kind of folks that marriage needs to be defended against. I would love to see a list of major promoters of these initiatives and bills with marriages shorter and more one-sided than the engagements of queer couples who aren't allowed to marry.
So for those of you out there heterosexually bonded in matrimony, I ask you one thing:
Is your marriage weaker now than it was at 9:59 am PDT, May 15, 2008?
If you can say "no" then good for you.
If you have to say "yes," you're a sad, sad person and I feel very sorry for you.
Did it take an outside influence, "threatening marriage," to make you notice the flaws in your own marriage? Has your marriage been a sham this whole time, only held together by government pressure? Is your marriage so weak that the government allowing other people of other traditions and faiths (or not partaking in any faith) to exercise their rights shatters your own faith and your marriage?
Feel free to ask these questions to others...
Of course, one way to ensure that an anniversary surprise is an anniversary surprise is to do it a day early. On April Fool's Day. Yes, having regular Wednesday plans was the biggest reason.
But yeah. 10 years today.