Saturday, April 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Supreme Court decisions resonate across Solano

27 doma 1

Dawn LaBar of Vacaville, left, hugs Donia Williams, Wednesday, during a rally supporting the Supreme Court's rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act in front of the Solano County Government Building in Fairfield. "We finally have equality," LaBar said. "It's a monumental day for the entire country." (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | June 27, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — Wednesday’s sweeping decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court were well celebrated by Solano County’s gay community, even if there’s still some work to do.

A number of people gathered to celebrate the court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and to throw out California’s Proposition 8, waving rainbow and American flags in front of the Solano County Government Center on Texas Street.

“My initial reaction this morning was pretty much awestruck,” said David Janis-Kitzmiller, one of the organizers of the rally. “Expected, but you don’t realize it until it actually washes over you, the words of, ‘This is what has been decided.’ ”

The far-reaching nature of the rulings was immediately apparent.

“The instant feeling of the 1,138 rights that now, all of a sudden, were instantly there, that you didn’t have,” Janis-Kitzmiller said. “That last night when you went to bed you were different and then today you’re the same as everybody else. That is a totally different feeling and all in a matter of minutes.”

Janis-Kitzmiller was among 25 or so people gathered, waving at passing cars. The group got positive responses from passing motorists, with fist pumps and peace signs among the gestures and no real negative reaction.

Responses that got the loudest cheers from those on the curb came from an ambulance crew and a sheriff’s deputy who sounded their sirens briefly.

What it all means

Janis-Kitzmiller and his husband were married in July 2008 during the brief window when same-sex marriages were allowed in California. He said there was a lot more to Wednesday’s decisions.

“So it’s been pretty unbelievable and it’s taken a lot to soak in today,” Janis-Kitzmiller said. “I’ve got a lot of gratitude. It’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get to this point.”

He said that he and his husband Jeff have been together 13 years and they were the first gay couple married in Solano County in 2008.

It was an emotional day for the Rev. Robert Fuentes of Holy Family Old Catholic Church in Fairfield and his spouse Louis Souza-Fuentes.

“As a married gay man I’m delighted by both decisions,” Robert Fuentes said.

“I did not expect that window to close,” Robert Fuentes said.

While the two could share in the joy of their union, they were bothered by the fact that other gay friends had missed that window and were not afforded the same right.

In an email to the Daily Republic, Souza-Fuentes said he was feeling very emotional, and on the verge of happy tears.

The Defense of Marriage Act was already in place when they wed.

“We were still ‘second class citizens’ in a very real way,” he wrote. “Imagine our dismay when Prop. 8 passed. So many people would be denied the same joy we experienced – to be married to the one we love, our other half, our soul mate.”

He’s ready to challenge the naysayers and encourages them to look into the eyes of the person they married and then imagine not being able to share that joy in marriage.

“This is all about love. Nothing more, nothing less,” Souza-Fuentes said.

The sweeping nature of the rulings wasn’t lost on Kristen Loomis, one of the rally’s organizers.

“It’s not a hundred percent of what we would have fantasized, but it’s awfully, awfully good,” she said.

“Dave (Janis-Kitzmiller) was telling me that they actually stopped court proceedings on the East Coast today, of people who were about to be deported because they were gay spouses who were in the country illegally,” Loomis said. “It was like, ‘Boom, we’re releasing you, we will not deport you. There’s not point anymore as a result of DOMA (falling).’ And that’s pretty dramatic.”

That’s just the beginning.

“(There’s) the woman who does not have to pay the IRS all those taxes,” Loomis said. “And my case, it’s very tiny, my wife (Kathy Rardin) died last year and I went and filed with Social Security to tell them, because you’ve got to do that, and just because, I put in for the death benefit and they told me, ‘You do not get the death benefit.’ So I’m going to go back and talk to them again and see if it’s retroactive, since DOMA was invalidated, that I really had a right to it all along.”

While Wednesday’s rulings were a big step forward for equal rights, Loomis said there is a lot to be done still.

“We’re still on a states’ rights basis, which, 40 years ago I would have screamed and yelled, ‘We want it all now.’ But I’m older. If it goes to the states’ rights level, I’m OK with that,” she said. “It gives people time to adjust. There are still an enormous number of people in this country who are angry and fearful and sometimes dangerous. This’ll give us time to evolve.”

Sharlene Parkman of Fairfield, also stood on the curb, waving a rainbow streamer as cars drove by.

“First thing that was on the news,” Parkman said. “And it always happens that way for me, the first thing I see on the news is something so dramatically important and it happened to be this and I knew the decision was coming down and I completely forgot about it, but I woke up in time to see it on the news. I looked at the clock, it was 7:10 a.m.”

Parkman, who identified herself as bisexual, said she was happy for the far-reaching results, but disappointed that the rulings didn’t go far enough.

“But the Supreme Court decision kind of saddened me because if we’re ever going to have equal rights in America, it should stand across the board for everyone, for everything,” she said. “Nothing comes easy, you’ve got to work hard and hard and hard and hard for what you want and nothing is ever going to come easy.”

An Army veteran, Parkman also said she was happy for people in the military.

“I was in the military when I found out about Prop. 8,” she said. “It blew me away to see my battle buddies get kicked out just because of their sexual preference. I stand out here for them, too, because that’s discrimination and I don’t stand for discrimination of any sort.”

What’s next

County Clerk Charles Lomeli said a few things must happen before Solano County will issue same-sex marriage licenses.

First, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals must confirm the Supreme Court’s decision, sending prop 8 back to the lower court to be thrown out. Then the state Department of Public Health will notify county clerks.

“At that point, it would be treated like any other person coming in to get a marriage license and ceremony,” Lomeli said.

Same-sex marriage was legal in California for a period in 2008 before the passage of Proposition 8. Lomeli said the state redrafted the marriage license language to say person A and person B. That gender-neutral language is still used.

“It truly is just a matter of them saying, ‘Now you can do it’ and we move forward,” Lomeli said. “I don’t expect a flood of people to come in. I don’t see it as anything that is going to increase our workload to a significant degree.”

Barry Eberling and Amy Maginnis-Honey contributed to this report. Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 25 comments

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 2:28 am

    The Supreme Court managed not to embarrass itself by being on the wrong side of history, while all the justices maintained their conservative/liberal credentials. Scalia’s dissent in the DOMA case is pretty outrageous in its non-judicial language. He’s starting to lose it. Prop 8 was a punt, but is still a huge win for Californians and a sign of things to come elsewhere. It's good judge Walker's decision will be the law in our state; it was brilliant. The backers of Prop 8 can keep trying, but even they know their support is eroding away daily. SCOTUS did find one important thing: Same-sex marriage harms NO ONE (if that wasn't obvious already). So enough of that argument. There are battles to come, but the Supreme Court has basically warned anti-same-sex marriage people: "If you don't want the answer, don't ask the question. Stay out of our court!"

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 2:39 am

    One of the interesting side-effects of the Prop 8 decision is in the future no federal appellate court will allow private citizens to defend a state constitution unless they can show actual harm. Only public officials charged with defending the constitution on behalf of everybody will have standing to do so. If those officials refuse to defend the constitution (as here) they may suffer political consequences, but they can't be forced to act and no one is allowed to take their place, barring actual harm. In this case, the politics had swung so against Prop 8 is just a few years that there were no adverse political consequences to our governor or attorney general. In fact, they benefited politically by doing what people perceived as the right thing--let judge Walker's decision stand. Expect the Jarvis people to come unglued. They want to run the state with money and initiative campaigns (or the threat thereof), and this ruling weakens their hand. About time.

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  • K LoomisJune 27, 2013 - 9:04 am

    Actually, rlw, the Court, in denying standing, said something like, We've never done it before and we're not going to start now. That seems to leave them some wiggle room for the future?

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 4:25 pm

    KL: That's right. I was defining what "doing it" was in this case. You know, it can have various meanings, depending on context;-).

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  • PornacJune 27, 2013 - 5:56 am

    Was god the more powerful in this decision, or the devil?

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  • PornacJune 27, 2013 - 6:41 am

    It's the end of our civilization, maybe a good thing.

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  • Rhee MedboyJune 27, 2013 - 6:57 am

    Regardless of how you feel about the decisions yesterday, it does send a chilling message to voters: if the government doesn't like what you voted for, then they won't defend it and won't be held accountable. Maybe we need a proposition that would force them to defend the law, regardless of their personal opinions, or face immediate recall.

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  • CD BrooksJune 27, 2013 - 7:05 am

    They DID enforce the law.

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  • The SugarJarJune 27, 2013 - 7:29 am

    Nice to see the Supreme Court did their jobs. And their job isn't to rubber stamp the will of the people, particularly when the people are misguided. A plus to living in a republic.

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 27, 2013 - 7:32 am

    CD, exactly. The problem was with the California initiative process that allows an unconstitutional measure to be placed on the ballot. Vetting occurs after the fact.

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 7:48 am

    I told you the Jarvis people would come unglued. RM=anonymous Jarvis person.

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 8:39 am

    In the DOMA case, It's noteworthy that only Thomas joined in Scalia's imprudent language. It's also noteworthy that only Alito had the opinion that the petitioners had standing AND were right on the merits. So the Court was 8-1 on the result.

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  • Hmmmm Scalia goes Duck hunting w/CheneyJune 27, 2013 - 9:04 am

    Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court today bluntly rejected demands that he step aside in a case involving Vice President Dick Cheney, mocking criticism that a duck hunting trip the two were on in January suggested he would be biased toward his longtime friend.......... Hours later, the Sierra Club, which had formally asked Justice Scalia not to participate in a case it had brought against the vice president, said it would take no more legal action against the justice, even though it believed his ``recusal was still warranted'' to ensure public faith in the integrity of the court........... In a 21-page memorandum filled with scorn and with lessons in the ways of Washington, Justice Scalia wrote that if people assumed a duck hunting trip would be enough to swing his vote, ``the nation is in deeper trouble than I had imagined.''.............. He said that throughout American history, justices have been friends with high-ranking government officials, and that as recently as Christmas other justices socialized with Mr. Cheney at the vice president's home............. ``A rule that required members of this court to remove themselves from cases in which the official actions of friends were at issue would be utterly disabling,'' Justice Scalia wrote............. During the hunting trip to Louisiana, which the memorandum said involved 13 hunters as well as Mr. Cheney's security detail, ``I never hunted in the same blind with the vice president,'' he said. .............. ``Nor was I alone with him at any time during the trip,'' he continued, ``except, perhaps, for instances so brief and unintentional that I would not recall them - walking to or from a boat, perhaps, or going to or from dinner. Of course we said not a word about the present case.''........ Three weeks before the trip, the court agreed to hear an appeal of a case in which the Sierra Club sought information about who had participated in private meetings of Mr. Cheney's energy task force in 2001. Justice Scalia's decision to go hunting with someone who had litigation pending before the court prompted editorial pages across the country to echo the Sierra Club's belief that the public might believe he could not render an impartial ruling............google...Scalia Angrily Defends His Duck Hunt With Cheney - NYTimescom

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  • HmmmmJune 27, 2013 - 9:10 am

    Consider the following report from the venerable Los Angeles Times: "Two Black Hawk helicopters were brought in and hovered nearby as Cheney and Scalia were whisked away in a heavily guarded motorcade to a secluded, private hunting camp owned by an oil industry businessman [identified as Wallace Carline, the head of Diamond Services Corp.] ... the Cheney-Scalia trip drew the attention of local officials because of the unusual security precautions ... on the morning of Jan. 5, a large security contingent was in place -- two Black Hawk air combat rescue helicopters, a line of armored sport utility vehicles and a ring of federal agents and sheriff's deputies who set up a security perimeter. The area was declared a no-fly zone for other aircraft ... Perry [Ken Perry, of the Perry Flying Center at the Harry P. Williams Airport] said Cheney was among the first to deplane, followed by Scalia and a young woman who was identified to Perry as one of the justice's daughters. Both Perry and Naquin [David Naquin, the local sheriff] said there were orders prohibiting photographs of those who exited the planes and climbed into the motorcade. But two days later, Cheney returned to the airport without Scalia, and photographs were allowed ... Scalia stayed on to hunt a few more days, the sheriff said, but local officials said it was unclear how he returned to Washington." [David G. Savage and Richard A. Serrano "Scalia Was Cheney Hunt Trip Guest," Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2004] Would it be considered rude to ask what happened to Scalia's 'daughter'? Why is there no mention of how she returned to Washington? And would Scalia really have brought his daughter along on such an outing? Since it wasn't a big secret that Scalia and Cheney were there, doesn't it seem reasonable to conclude that the ban on photographs was intended to protect the young woman's identity? And did Scalia really hang around to hunt for a few more days, despite the fact that, according to Sheriff Naquin, the hunting "was terrible. There were very few ducks killed."?

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  • GoogleJune 27, 2013 - 9:15 am

    Scalia Cheney Duck Hunting Most Dangerous Game.....But remember Kagan is a prominent Illuminati Family....So see once again just Political Theater for the Masses...The Supreme Court, Executive and Legislative Branches are all controlled by the International/Banking/Corporate New World Order Luciferians. Remember 9/11 was an inside job.

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    Go away, StR.

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  • Rick WoodJune 27, 2013 - 8:41 am

    Great photos. Happy day!

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  • LoveMyCommunityJune 27, 2013 - 9:41 am

    Amen to that, Rick. Now I hope these folks who continue to fight marriage/LGBT equality can get on to more important matters and quit worrying about what other people are doing in their private lives.

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  • RickJune 27, 2013 - 4:30 pm

    We turn our new-found attention to voting rights.

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  • Rich GiddensJune 27, 2013 - 10:10 am

    Your perverted "equality" is only a distinction of BEHAVIOR, and is not a matter of any other distinction. That BEHAVIOR carries scientifically validated risks and consequences to the physical and emotional health and well being of those who engage in that BEHAVIOR. That is a fact. You made your choice. A very poor choice.

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  • JBDragonJune 27, 2013 - 1:40 pm

    No now that voters rights are meaningless these days, it'll just get thrown out by activist judges, when is Polygamy going to also be legalized? I see zero difference in the matter now. Otherwise it's discrimination also!!! Let everyone jump on this bandwagon now, then after that, I can think of. Few more things.

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 4:40 pm

    JBD: If you can see no difference, it's a good thing you're not a judge.

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 4:36 pm

    Rich: I'm not sure, but if you are trying to say sexual orientation is a behavior and not a status or condition of being, you are going to find fewer and fewer people understanding it that way. No one makes that argument in court anymore because it's not credible.

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  • rlw895June 27, 2013 - 4:32 pm

    Today, the last day of the session, the Court let stand too lower court rulings favorable to gay rights. That's a grand slam.

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  • Rich GiddensJune 27, 2013 - 8:51 pm

    Not so fast---PROP 8 IS STILL THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA. Prop 8 is still the law in California. Section 3.5 of the California Constitution specifically commands: An administrative agency ... has no power: (a) To declare a statute unenforceable, or refuse to enforce a statute, on the basis of it being unconstitutional unless an appellate court has made a determination that such statute is unconstitutional; (b) To declare a statute unconstitutional; (c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations. As of today, there is no appellate opinion (meaning an opinion issued by a court of appeals) against Prop 8. The Supreme Court refused to issue one, and threw out the only other one (the Ninth Circuit's). There is only a trial court opinion. So every agency in California is legally bound to regard Prop 8 as binding law.

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