Couples use Lockyer's words against him
Judge to decide if ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
A group of gay and lesbian couples and the city of San Francisco are trying to use Attorney General Bill Lockyer's cautious defense of California's ban on same-sex marriage to their advantage as they challenge the law.
In separate filings Monday before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer, lawyers for the couples and the city claimed that Lockyer had virtually conceded one of their main points - that domestic partnership falls far short of marriage, even under a new California law that provides partners many of the same benefits as spouses. That law is due to take effect Jan. 1, but is also being challenged in court.
Kramer is scheduled to hear arguments Dec. 22 on whether the ban on same- sex marriage discriminates unconstitutionally on the basis of sex or sexual orientation. Lockyer, in a filing last month, contended California has a policy of treating intimate partners equally - as illustrated by the domestic partner law - but is entitled to follow "the deeply rooted and historic understanding of marriage.''
In Monday's briefs, City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office argued that the state is undermining the constitutionality of its marriage law by offering same-sex couples many of the legal benefits of marriage while withholding the right to marry.
Romanian elections marred by antigay politics
Romania's leading gay rights organization urged the ruling party Tuesday not to incite citizens against gays and lesbians to gain advantage in a closely disputed election campaign. Gay rights has become one of the central issues ahead of Sunday's elections in light of centrist presidential candidate Traian Basescu's comments that he supports equal rights for gays and lesbians.
The dominant Orthodox Church condemned Basescu's statements, and the ruling Social Democratic Party has used the statements against Basescu, who is the mayor of Bucharest. "Human rights and the rights of a sexual minority should not become an issue in the elections," said Florin Buhuceanu, who heads Accept, Romania's main gay rights group. Buhuceanu also condemned "the way in which the Social Democratic Party is trying to use this topic, by inciting Romania's population against sexual minorities, when the level of discrimination is high anyway."
Arizonans in poll split over amendment banning gay unions
The Arizona Republic
Arizonans are split over a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and they strongly support outlawing smoking in public places, a new statewide poll indicates.
The new poll suggests 49 percent of 372 registered voters surveyed last week favor amending the state's Constitution to ban same-sex marriages while 43 percent opposed it. Eight percent were undecided or had no opinion.
The majority, or 62 percent, of those interviewed Thursday-Sunday said they would support a statewide smoking ban in public places, including restaurants, bars and workplaces. Thirty-five percent opposed it, and 3 percent were undecided. Health organizations announced plans to put the smoking ban in the 2006 ballot.
The poll by Channel 8 (KAET) and the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.
Anti-Gay Marriage Advertorial Rankles 'Washington Post' Readers
By Joe Strupp
NEW YORK A 16-page advertising insert espousing a strong argument against gay marriage ran in some editions of The Washington Post Sunday, sparking more than 1,000 e-mails and phone calls, according to Ombudsman Michel Getler, who said most of the comments opposed the publication as offensive.
"They were overwhelmingly negative about the Post distributing this thing," Getler told E&P, noting that many of the responses were from outside the Post circulation area, indicating a formal campaign against the publication may have begun. "People were upset and they let the paper know."
The advertorial did not run in the metro edition of the Post, according to Getler, but could be found in about 200,000 zoned copies. It was labeled "BothSides Magazine" and appeared to be a creation of Grace Christian Church, with support from a number of Virginia area churches.
Formatted like a magazine, the publication included articles that argued against comparing gay-marriage rights to civil rights and criticized same-sex couples as parents.