It is vital that the LGBT community—especially families—be represented as the Court weighs the harms inflicted by Proposition 8. That is why NCLR, the ACLU, and Lambda Legal filed a motion to intervene in this historic case on behalf of Our Family Coalition, Lavender Seniors, and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). We believe the involvement of the LGBT community will significantly help the Court decide the case.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Last Modified: Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 - 2:45 pm
Bowing to the advice of political consultants and pollsters, officials from a major gay rights advocacy group announced Wednesday that they will wait until 2012 to return to California voters with an initiative legalizing gay marriage.
The leaders of Equality California, which calls itself the largest gay rights advocacy group in the state, said they won't try to qualify a measure on the subject for the 2010 ballot despite demands from many gay and lesbian activists seeking quicker movement on the issue.
That decision, however, hasn't stopped a liberal advocacy group, Courage Campaign, from collecting signatures for a 2010 ballot initiative on the subject. According to that group's Web site, it has already raised about $136,000 to "invest in research, polling and focus groups to repeal Proposition 8," the ballot initiative passed last year banning same-sex marriage.
Other gay rights groups are also working to put a same-sex marriage initiative on the 2010 ballot.
Geoff Kors, Equality California's executive director, said in a conference call Wednesday that his group has "knocked on 500,000 doors" to survey voters statewide about the issue and determined that such an initiative would stand a better chance with more time. The group plans to spend the next three years launching outreach and education campaigns about the issue to convince voters.
Additionally, running the initiative during a presidential election year would bring out more young voters, who polls show are more likely to vote for legalizing same-sex marriage, said Equality California Marriage Director Marc Solomon in the conference call.
"Waiting until we're confident we can win is understandable but not acceptable," Solomon said. "We need to start doing the work now until we win marriage back."
Solomon said his and other groups would need to raise tens of millions of dollars to push through such a ballot measure, and donors haven't so far shown much appetite for a 2010 campaign.
"Pretty monolithically, they're not supportive of a return to the ballot with a $40 million to $60 million campaign," Solomon said.
Pro-Proposition 8 advocacy group ProtectMarriage.com responded in a news release Wednesday that any measure legalizing same-sex marriage would fail regardless of which year it was put on the ballot:
"Whether in 2010, 2012, or beyond, ProtectMarriage.com will be ready to defend marriage and emerge victorious again."
GENEVA, 12 August (BWNS) - In yet another example of the denial to Baha'is in Iran of their rights to justice, including due process, judicial officials have reportedly set next Tuesday as the trial date for seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders - despite the fact that the lead lawyers registered with the court to represent them are either in prison or outside the country.
Further, efforts to have the accused released on bail have not succeeded. The investigation against them was concluded months ago but they remain incarcerated, without access to their legal counsel and with only the barest minimum contact with their families - contact that did not begin until some five months' after their arrest, when they were finally taken out of solitary confinement.
Authorities recently sent to Abdolfattah Soltani, a key member of the legal team representing the seven Baha'is who is himself currently imprisoned in Evin prison, a notice saying that 18 August has been set as the trial date for the seven Baha'is. Dated 15 July, the writ of notification for the seven gives 9 a.m., 18 August, as the date for the trial, in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. That is the same court that tried Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi.
The writ of notification giving 18 August as the trial date was specifically addressed to Mr. Soltani, a well-known human rights lawyer and a principal of the Tehran-based Defenders of Human Rights Center, which was founded by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and has since last year undertaken to defend the seven Baha'is.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ebadi, the senior member of the legal team, remains outside the country.
"The judiciary's decision to schedule the trial under these circumstances is an effrontery and yet another tactic aimed at depriving the seven Baha'i leaders of competent legal counsel," said Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
"The Iranian authorities know full well who is serving as legal counsel for the Baha'is. Indeed, authorities have several times tried to pressure the seven to change lawyers.
"It is the height of absurdity to issue a trial notice to a lawyer who has himself been unjustly imprisoned," she said.
"The willingness of Iran's judiciary to flout the most fundamental internationally accepted norms of jurisprudence were brought to light in the widespread publicity attending the trial of Roxana Saberi.
"More recently, the attention of the world has been focused on the show trial of scores of individuals arrested in post-election turmoil in Iran, also without due process and which has included 'confessions' that were clearly coerced through torture," said Ms. Ala'i.
The Baha'i International Community has called for the human rights of all the people of Iran to be respected and upheld. "Today, then, we raise the call on behalf of our innocent co-religionists, whose only 'crime' is their religious belief, and who face the most severe punishments if they are found guilty of the trumped-up charges against them.
"Instead of going on trial, they should be immediately released on bail, and, at the very least, be given adequate time for their attorneys to prepare a defense," said Ms. Ala'i.
Ms. Ala'i also said that the 18 August trial date could not be taken as firm, noting that the families of the seven had been told in June they were to be tried on 11 July, only to have that date come and go.
"Given the past history of this case, the utter lack of concern for procedure on the part of authorities, and the current situation in Iran, it is simply not possible to know when the proceedings will actually begin," she said.
The seven Baha'i prisoners are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. All but one of the group were arrested on 14 May 2008 at their homes in Tehran. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008 while in Mashhad. They have since been held without formal charges or access to their lawyers at Evin prison in Tehran.
Official Iranian news accounts have said the seven are to be accused of "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic," charges that are rejected completely and categorically.
The ongoing imprisonment of the seven and pending trial is particularly alarming because of their leadership position as the former members of a national-level coordinating group known as the "Friends in Iran." Some 25 years ago, other Baha'i leaders were executed after being rounded up in a manner similar to the way in which these seven were arrested last year.
To read the article online, with a photograph, go to:
For the Baha'i World News Service home page, go to:
Subject: Trial Set Again for August 18th
Straight from the Baha'i World News Service - http://www.facebook.com/l/;BWNS.org -
GENEVA — In yet another example of the denial to Baha’is in Iran of their rights to justice, including due process, judicial officials have reportedly set next Tuesday as the trial date for seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders – despite the fact that the lead lawyers registered with the court to represent them are either in prison or outside the country.
Further, efforts to have the accused released on bail have not succeeded. The investigation against them was concluded months ago but they remain incarcerated, without access to their legal counsel and with only the barest minimum contact with their families – contact that did not begin until some five months’ after their arrest, when they were finally taken out of solitary confinement.
Authorities recently sent to Abdolfattah Soltani, a key member of the legal team representing the seven Baha’is who is himself currently imprisoned in Evin prison, a notice saying that 18 August has been set as the trial date for the seven Baha’is. Dated 15 July, the writ of notification for the seven gives 9 a.m., 18 August, as the date for the trial, in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. That is the same court that tried Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi.
Read the whole story at: http://www.facebook.com/l/;news.bahai.org/story/725
To reply to this message, follow the link below: