Some Little Tidbits

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Well, it’s a government/public day here, with primary elections and all… Thought I’d mention a few things.

The first one I mention because people shouldn’t twist the truth to further their own ends.

The second one I mention because I think it’s really excellent when people can move beyond what they think and feel about things – what they hold true. So often when we hold something _tightly_ true, it means that we’re worried it might not be after all – and this makes us unsettled – even angry. I think that the truth of things lives regardless, anyway.

The third one I mention, just cuz it’s good to see even the stodgey get a wiggle in their butts sometimes… 😉

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The Seattle Monorail Project might be coming up for vote yet again – I don’t know how many times they’re going to make us approve it – even though it was a close call. The project’s already even bought a lot of the land it needed to, to put in the stations.

According to a Seattle Times article today a state appeals court is allowing the “recall” initiative to go through. However, the Monorail Project is appealing to the state Supreme Court.

Strangely, it’s not really a recall, from what I can gather – but an initiative to disallow the public agencies from forcing land owners to give up little rights-of-way for it.

I can’t find the text of I-83 anywhere – even on the I-83 website.

The monorail project that passed has terms for a recall – I don’t know why they’re just not using it, instead of focusing on public rights-of-way.

Maybe it has something to do with Martin Selig, a gigantic Seattle developer, providing over 90% of the funding for the “recall”…

Interestingly, they hired out-of-towners to come in and collect the signatures needed to validate I-83. They said they did this without any local volunteers because everyone here “has jobs”…. ??

Honestly, I don’t know what’s best. The monorail might be very ugly in some places.

But I think that if we don’t want it, we should vote on an actual recall, rather than voting on something that sets a precident for undermining Washington’s Growth Management Act – which I can see might be a good thing for big developers…. 😉

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I was talking with my always wonderful to talk with lawyer Lindsay the other day about many things, including the recent opinion by Judge Richard D. Hicks regarding same-sex marriage. The opinion talked about gays being a “protected” class – which irritated me.

As usual, I was taken on a very interesting journey through legal thinking, which is still so strangely like philosophy, yet utterly different – I think because _there has to be an answer_. 😉

He pointed me to the text of the actual opion, which I’ve attached to this message, if you’re interested. It’s the most wonderfully thought-out approach to the subject I’ve read.

And, in reading it – I had a little epiphany. Thanks, in part, to Oregon and insurance companies. 😉

I guess our state Constitution is taken largely from Oregon’s – we’re very, very similar. And yes, Anthony, I find that difficult to admit. 😉

A “suspect class” of people – from what I can gather – is a group of people where laws or views upon them seem to be applying in different ways, depending upon the circumstance you’re looking at. For example, Oregon did this:

…Oregon’s practice of denying insurance benefits to unmarried same-sex couples while at the same time allowing benefits to married opposite-sex couples. The state insurance agency argued that the basis for the distinction was whether a couple was married or not and did not turn on their sexual orientation. The court found this facially neutral explanation insufficient to support the discrimination because same-sex couples could not marry and cure the distinction whereas opposite sex couples could marry and gain the benefits. In reaching this result the Oregon court found that same-sex couples constituted a suspect class for the purposes of constitutional discrimination analysis.

It’s really a very well-written – and not such a hard read – I think he went to lengths to make it accessible to the “lay”… 😉

Interestingly, this judge deals a lot with family and child issues in his court. All the notions of what constitues a family – all the wild and various things that have come across his doorstep over the years – he is a uniquely qualified person to look at this issue.

We, the community, need to come to know ourselves. We need to have the fortitude to see who we are and accept ourselves as we are. If we look at ourselves, and at our neighbors, what do we see that counts as a “family”?

For at least two generations we have understood “family” as something more than a man mating with a woman to have a child. A single parent is a family. Grandparents raising grandchildren without the help of the parents is a family. Adults giving foster children a home are a family. Same sex couples who adopt children are a family. Opposite sex couples who adopt children are a family. Single parents with children who marry each other bring into being a new family. A childless couple, same sex or opposite sex, can be a family. And older child raising his or her siblings is a family. There are other examples.

…Although encouraging more family stability is a compelling state interest these statues do not further that interest and are not narrowly tailored to do so. They do not even bear a rational relationship to that interest. It is more likely that they weaken family stability when we consider what a family is.

…The clear intent of the Legislature to limit government approved contracts of marriage to opposite sex couples is in direct conflict with the constitutional intent to not allow a privilege to one class of the community that is not allowed to the entire community. To the extent RCW 26.04.010 and RCW 26.04.020 effect this they are contrary to the state Constitution.

…When the government is involved, one part of the community can not be given a privilege that is not given to other members of the community unless the government can demonstrate how that discrimination furthers the benefit of the entire community.

When we divide the community into classes and categories the division must at least bear some rational relation to a legitimate government purpose. If this division is based on ‘suspect’ lines, such as immutable characteristics that a person can’t change such as race, sex, age and so on, or, involves a fundamental right, such as marriage or to bear children, then the discriminatory division is looked at closely and must be narrowly tailored to advance the particular government interest.

For the government this is not a moral issue. It is a legal issue. Though these issues are often the same, they are also quite different. The conscience of the community is not the same as the morality of any particular class. Conscience is what we feel together as one community. Conscience makes us one people. What fails strict scrutiny here is a government approved civil contract for one class of the community not given to another class of the community. What can reconcile our differences is the feeling that with these differences we are still one people. This is the democracy of conscience. (footnote to Jacob Needleman, The American Soul).

I dunno – read it over – I thought it was great.

I don’t feel so stupid about being part of a class that is “suspect”… 😉

Lindsay says it just means that it “raises the bar” to a higher level – where you have to really go out of your way to say that someone shouldn’t have that right.

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And finally, check out our federal governement’s Federal Citizen Information Center – you know, the people in Pueblo Colorado…

On the right side they quote the infamous gay iconic Sister Sledge song, “We are family, I got all my sisters with me”…

Almost as good as all the high school football teams around the country, and fans all singing, Queen’s “We Are the Champions” – go Freddy! 😉

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