Hand writing, hand wringing

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Above, a little recent hand writing from my daughter, who cannot be stopped in her quest to render the alphabet (in no particular order) on every stationary surface she can find.  And I don’t mean “stationary” in the office supply sense of the word.    

This is not to be confused with hand wringing, which is what we all will be doing from here to March 5th, when the California Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case against Prop 8.  I’m sure you’ve heard.

If the kids weren’t likely to miss me (or rather, likely to FREAK OUT because they’d be left alone at home for hours on end in my absence), I would volunteer to spend the next month positioned behind the various chairs of the small army of NCLR, Lambda Legal, and ACLU folks, administering shoulder massages  (them, and the folks in the law offices of David C. Codell, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP).  “Latté?  You bet!  You want that foam, no foam, lowfat, nonfat, caf, decaf? In five minutes, or three?  Sir.  Ma’am.  Sir.”

These people are all working their ASSES off right now, on behalf of all of our asses. I will add, on behalf of my own ass, that it has felt very much in a sling since ’round about November 5th (you might have noticed).  So I couldn’t be more grateful for their work. 

[If you feel as grateful as I do, you could make a gift to the National Center for Lesbian Rights to help support their work this next month.]

After hearing the oral arguments — which will be live broadcast via the California Channel, and I do hope their server can handle what is sure to be a load just a tad heavier than that they get for, oh, say, the Food and Agriculture Committee meetings — the justices have ninety days to issue a ruling.  Which means we will know by the end of the first week in June at the latest.  Just in time for us to either (a) dye all our Pride outfits jet black, for what’s sure to be a march of outrage/mourning/you name it, or (b) make a run on bubble gum cigars, feather boas, and those paper extending party horns, because the LGBT Pride following such a ruling will be a celebration like no other.

California Supreme Court info page on the case is here.  Behold on that main page, if you haven’t seen them listed already in various news pieces, the range of entities filing Amicus Curiae Briefs in support of the Petitioners (that would be us). It’s a who’s who of justice lovers well-known and less-known, national and local.

 Our Family Coalition and COLAGE. CA National Organization of Women and The Feminist Majority. San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Ass’n, the Asian Pacific Americal Legal Center et al. and that “al” includes the NAACP and MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund). Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. Human Rights Watch, et al. 

Professors Bruce Cain (Berkeley, Political Science) and William Eskridge (Yale, Law) include references in their brief to The Federalist Papers, Hobbes’ Leviathan,  and Locke’s Second Treatise of Government.  Right fine reading, that; makes you proud to be an American.  If Obama’s election didn’t already finally do it for you.

There’s even a brief on behalf of the town in which we live:  Berkeley, et al.  People’s Republic of Berkeley, long may it wave!  Flap! March! Gesticulate! The “al” also includes the cities of Cloverdale, Davis, Fairfax, Humboldt, Long Beach, Palm Springs, Sonoma, and West Hollywood, hereafter prime family day trip destinations the lot of ’em. (“C’mon, kids, we’re going to Cloverdale today!” “What’s in Cloverdale, Baba?” “Who the hell cares, sweetie, hop in the car!”). 

Read some of these briefs, read ’em all.  I dare you not to feel a flutter in your heart about the whole quest for civil justice thing, and its long, checkered, ultimately unflagging history in this country.  You may even feel tempted to become a lawyer.  Or at least hug one.

10 thoughts on “Hand writing, hand wringing”

  1. (stupid user name, I know, but it was all I could think of)

    I’ll be wringing my hands right along with you, but I have to say that it gave me a thrill to see my employer’s name up there in your list. It feels so nice to finally work for a company that (often) is noted for fighting the good fight.

    (N, from twohotmamas)

  2. Hooray for Davis! (And all the other places.) After I am settled into my new digs, which I hope will include a guest room, your family will always have a place to stay if you want to make an overnight trip. You and the beloved can have the bedroom, the kids can have the guest room, and I’ll sleep on the couch.

  3. I don’t think the hand-wringing will stop on March 5! Try June 3, the 90th day after the hearing.

    (Which, coincidentally, is also my b’day. It will be a monumental birthday one way or another…I just wish I knew which way!!)

    I’ve been glad to see your posts making a bit of a rebound, LD. I’ve noticed the growing re-emergence of many folks who were hit particularly emotionally hard by the loss in November. I know for me, President Obama’s inauguration went a long way towards that!

  4. You are very very kind, Reno. Though you’d be woken at circa 6:30am by the little guy wherever you were, couch, bed, guest room. Of course when you recovered yourself you’d have to take us on a tour of the town. Most of which I forget, since, though I lived there the first 1.5 years of my life, my memory from that era is kinda fuzzy. Many hearty congratulations on landing a gig in such an enlightened place!

    Ruffian, o, do I hope it will be a happy birthday for you this year!

    You are kind to note a wiggly, slightly upwardly trending graph line over here, in the way of the frequency &/or cheeriness of posts. You know, it was impossible not to try to direct all available energies into that Prop 8 fight, since nothing less than the legal, social, and emotional well-being of my kids felt to be hanging in the balance. That’s how it felt, at least.

    What it wound up doing was throwing all the emotional ballast in one part of the boat. (? not a sailor, me.) It has taken a very long time to redistribute the weight, and to find, really, what the voice of this blog should be, or maybe even was. In fits and starts I remember that the everyday is still there waiting, always was.

    I hope one day to be able to convey, particularly to interested hetero folks, and to younger queer folks as well, just why it is that this particular bait-and-switch hit folks like me so hard in the solar plexus. The nugget of it is definitely that a few months into the legal recognition thing, when we began to realize what it was like to be treated (legally at least) as equals, we began to realize how much anger we had been sitting on for ten, twenty, thirty or more years. At the homophobic/ heterosexist/ heteronormative society around us, but probably also at ourselves, for the degrees to which we absorbed or accepted that. Trippy, and painful, but true. That is a lot of past due anger, enough to give you an ulcer.

    Many people I’ve talked to have eventually come to think of it this way. Total pacifist types feeling like they could punch holes in walls, etc. Or not be able to reconcile friendships/relationships with folks on the other side of this vote. It just took something out of me that twenty-plus years of eyes open engagement (and forty-plus years of being me) did not prepare me for.

    Anyhow. So thank you. It’s been an interesting challenge to be host/convener of this public forum that’s so organized around celebrating and exploring the thing that felt so under attack last summer/fall. Hard to write around the topic. Yet hard to write about it. Therefore hard to write, period. Then, compounding that, hard to host a writing-based conversation and not writing.

    But it’s done the same very salutary thing to this particular emotional journey as it’s done to my parenthood overall, which has been to pry me into a slightly higher level of productive self-examination, with a stronger commitment to transforming the fruits of that examination into something of use to others. Even if, often, when I have been able to peep much, the use has been to reflect the wind-knocked-out feeling of my peers.

  5. LD, I have slept through earthquakes, the use of power tools in the room directly under me, Rachmaninoff on a grand piano 6′ from the bed, dorm life, Indian pujas (in India, where there are no noise ordinances that I know of), and Street Vibrations. Could I sleep through the pouncing of a charming toddler?

    I don’t know, but it would be an interesting challenge.

  6. Have you seen this NPR article?

    check out this (infuriating and wrong-headed) quote:
    “It was frustrating,” says Fred Vanderhoof, a sixth-grade teacher who has taught at Nelson Elementary in Pinedale, Calif., for the past 20 years. “But I was not surprised, because they’ve had a liberal agenda for a couple of decades.”

    Vanderhoof, who does not belong to the union, gave $650 to support the gay marriage ban. To him, it is unremarkable that teachers gave more money in favor of the ban than against it.

    “I think that as public school teachers, we are with these young people every day and we see the problems that they have — not understanding their sexual identity and their sexual roles, male and female.” Gay marriage, he says, “is one more thing happening that is not going to help them. I think we teachers see that.”

  7. Just a little background on Fred Vanderhoof…since I live in the same town. He works for Clovis Unified, the largest school district in the state of California to not be union. So his lamenting/being disappointed with CTA is silly…he earns a good wage and has great benefits precisely because of CTA’s left-leaning/worker-supporting efforts and his district’s desperation to keep them out of their district.

    As a former teacher myself, I agree with everything he said except his conclusion…Gay marriage gives kids hope & security.

    PS, I’m glad I’m not the only one sweating March 5 onward…here we go again.

  8. Thank you, JenRink. Very helpful to have more context to set his comments into. I recall being very heartened by the CTA endorsement of the No on 8 position, and rather stomach-churned reading the article annz passed along.

    As to the rest of this leg of the journey, to the hearing of arguments on March 5 and then the wait. Only an old picture my daughter drew really conveys the feeling:


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