2008-NOV-04: CA: Prop 8 narrowly passes: As of
2008-NOV-04 at 10:30 ET, the day after voting day, with all of the precincts
52.5% of voters approved Prop 8
47.5% were opposed.
Chip White, the press secretary
for the Yes on 8 campaign, said: "The momentum has really been with us."
Jose Ronni Pahl, with her wife
Hannah, were one of the first same-sex couples married in Santa Clara County.
"It's bittersweet right now because we just watched the first
African-American president elected. We were watching it with our
African-America son, there were tears coming out of our eyes, and we went to
look at what's happening at 8. We're speechless right now."
Some commentators attribute the win on Prop 8 to fear tactics used by its
promoters. They invested over 30 million dollars in advertising campaigns and
ran TV ads claiming that if SSM were allowed to continue, churches that refused
to marry same-sex couples would lose their tax exempt status and that students
in grade 3 would be taught about SSM.
A court challenge to Prop 8 is expected.
Meanwhile, state constitutional bans on SSM appear to be winning in Arizona and
Florida. The status of an Arkansas measure that
would prevent unmarried couples from adopting children or being foster parents
is unknown. This measure mainly targets same-sex couples. 1,2,3,4
2008-NOV-20:World: UN passes resolution against
death penalty: A resolution passed at the United Nations General
Assembly that affirmed a 2007 measure. Both asked all governments to
establish a moratorium on executions "with a view to abolish the death penalty."
It passed with 105 members in favor, 48 against and 31 abstentions. The United
States, China, Iran, North Korea and Sudan all took a pro-death stance by
objecting to the resolution. This places the U.S. in interesting company, with
the world's most vicious dictatorships that have a proven record of contempt for
human rights 5
2008-NOV-21: Germany: Germany abandons attempts to ban Scientology:
During 2007-DEC, Federal and State interior ministers
asked the country's domestic intelligence agency
to determine whether the Church's status as an organization could be challenged.
Scientology is recognized as an organization but not as a religion in Germany.
A 2007 annual report of a German group that tracks extremism reported that
Scientology "seeks to reduce or deny basic constitutional and human rights, such
as the right to human dignity, the right to self-fulfillment and the right to
However, the country's intelligence agency failed to find sufficient evidence of
illegal activity to make a case against Scientology.
Erhart Koerting, Berlin's top security official, said:
"This organization pursues goals â€" through its writings, its concept and its
disrespect for minorities â€" that we cannot tolerate and that we consider in
violation of the constitution. But they put very little of this into
practice. The appraisal of the government at the moment is that
[Scientology] is a lousy organization, but it is not an organization that we
have to take a hammer to." 6
2008-NOV-25: FL: Ban on adoption by same-sex couples found
unconstitutional: A child welfare judge in Florida declared the state's
31 year-old ban on adoption by homosexuals unconstitutional after a lengthy four
day hearing in which decades of psychological and sociological studies were
studied. Miami-Date Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman approved the adoption of two
half brothers, aged 4 and 8 by Frank Gill, a gay man who had raised them as
foster children for the past four years. She wrote:
"John and James left a world of chronic neglect, emotional impoverishment
and deprivation to enter a new world, foreign to them, that was nurturing,
safe, structured and stimulating, They are a family, a good family, in every
way except the eyes of the law." 7
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