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Phone: 323.661.2071 x203
Jason Pérez Howe
Public Information Officer
213.382.7600 x247 Mobile: 415.595.9245
Media Relations Director
ACLU of N. California
Today, in a 6 to 1 decision, the California Supreme Court upheld
Proposition 8, the ballot measure that eliminated the right of same sex
couples to marry. In the ruling authored by Chief Justice Ronald
George, the Court stated "We emphasize only that among the various
constitutional protections recognized in the Marriage Cases as
available to same-sex couples, it is only the designation of marriage -
albeit significant - that has been removed by this initiative measure."
At the same time, the court unanimously ruled that the more than 18,000
marriages that took place between June 16 and November 4, 2008 continue
to be fully valid and recognized by the state of California. The
decision reaffirmed the Court's prior holding that sexual orientation
is subject to the highest level of protection under the California
In a strongly worded dissent,
Justice Carlos Moreno stated, "The rule the majority crafts today not
only allows same-sex couples to be stripped of the right to marry that
this court recognized in the Marriage Cases, it places at
risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities. It
weakens the status of our state Constitution as a bulwark of
fundamental rights for minorities protected from the will of the
"Today's decision is a terrible blow
to same-sex couples who share the same hopes and dreams for their
families as other Californians," said Shannon Minter, Legal Director
for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who argued the case before
the California Supreme Court in March. "But our path ahead is now
clear. We will go back to the ballot box and we will win."
National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU
represent Equality California, whose members include many same-sex
couples who married between June 16 and November 4, 2008, and six
same-sex couples. David C. Codell and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP are also counsel on the case.
a press conference this morning, all of the groups vowed to return to
the polls to restore the right to marry for same-sex couples.
Gill, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, said,
"Same-sex couples yearn for the same dignity and respect that others
enjoy. The current situation in California is fundamentally
unfair, and it is deeply disappointing that the Court let this
injustice stand. But we are committed to restoring equality at the
The National Center for
Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU filed the legal challenge on
November 5, after Proposition 8 was approved by just 52 percent of the
voters on Election Day.
An unprecedented 43 friend-of-the-court briefs, representing hundreds of religious organizations, civil rights groups, and labor unions, and numerous California municipal governments, bar associations, and leading legal scholars, were filed in the case, urging the Court to strike down the initiative.
opinion is moving in the direction of fairness and equality, and it is
only a matter of time until the freedom to marry will again be secure
for all Californians," said Jennifer C. Pizer, Marriage Project
Director for Lambda Legal. "Achieving equality always requires
struggle, but over time people come to accept that equal treatment and
equal protection of the laws is the best way to protect the rights of
"By upholding Prop. 8, the Court has moved
our state backward and has put all Californians at risk of losing
fundamental rights at each and every election. Our Constitution must
ensure that all Californians are treated equally by our government,"
said Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California. "Despite
this injustice, we are prepared to return to the ballot box together
with our allies to restore the freedom to marry. As more and more
states across the nation allow same-sex couples to marry, and as we
continue our efforts to win the hearts and minds of Californians
through real conversations in homes, in neighborhoods, online and on
the air, we are confident that same-sex couples will soon enjoy the
honor, dignity and protections that only marriage provides."
The case is Strauss et al. v. Horton et al. (#S168047). For more information, go to: https://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8.htm
The National Center for Lesbian Rights
is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and
human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and
their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public
is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of
the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people
and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public
policy work. www.lambdalegal.org
The American Civil Liberties Union
is America's foremost advocate of individual rights. It fights
discrimination and moves public opinion on LGBT rights through the
courts, legislatures and public education. www.aclu.org
is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy
organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for
all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. www.eqca.org
"We should not have to risk arrest and imprisonment for exercising our constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and equal protection under the law," asserted one of the plaintiffs.
Progressive advocacy groups are suing Mississippi officials over a new state law requiring permission to hold public protests near state government buildings in the capital city of Jackson.
A lawsuit filed last week by JXN Undivided Coalition, Mississippi Votes, Mississippi Poor People's Campaign, Black Voters Matter, and a trio of activists challenges S.B. 2343, which is set to take effect on July 1. The legislation required prior approval from Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell or Capitol Police Chief Bo Luckey for public demonstrations on the grounds of or near state government buildings including the Capitol Complex, Governor's Mansion, state Supreme Court, and other edifices.
"The JXN Undivided Coalition and its members have for years engaged in the deeply American tradition of peacefully gathering on public property to convey to elected officials what matters most to us," the group said in a statement on Monday. "What matters most to us is the right to vote and the right of political self-determination for Jackson residents."
"We have spoken, and the state has responded with a sweeping prohibition of speech next to properties in Jackson occupied by state officials absent prior authorization," JXN Undivided Coalition added. "We should not have to risk arrest and imprisonment for exercising our constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and equal protection under the law."
\u201c.@JxnUndivided files lawsuit to stop new law requiring the Public Safety Commissioner or Capitol Police Chief\u2019s permission to protest or gather in Jackson anywhere near buildings occupied by a state employee \u2014 aka damn near all of non-residential Jackson. https://t.co/ISwW2dakw1\u201d— Blake Feldman (@Blake Feldman) 1685977958
According to the suit:
This year, Mississippi made peaceful protests on public sidewalks and streets next to state government buildings in Jackson without written prior permission from one of two state officials. The new law... is an unconstitutional prior restraint that does not further a constitutionally sufficient or permissible purpose. Those who peacefully protest without state government authorization and who are charged with crimes for doing so may be prosecuted and sentenced to prison. This chills protected speech.
As the Associated Pressreported Monday:
Critics say the majority-white and Republican-controlled Legislature passed the laws to take away local autonomy in Jackson and surrounding Hinds County, which are both majority-Black and governed by Democrats. Supporters of the laws say they are trying to control violent crime.
Several protests have been held near state government buildings in downtown Jackson during the past year, including some in January, February, and March against the legislation dealing with courts and policing. The Poor People's Campaign held events on a street outside the Governor's Mansion last fall to protest what organizers said was the state’s inadequate investment in Jackson's struggling water system.
In recent years, numerous states have passed laws criminalizing or restricting protest activity and protecting motorists who kill or injure protesters under certain circumstances.
"Mr. Musk's behavior reveals an apparent indifference towards Twitter's longstanding legal obligations, which did not disappear when Mr. Musk took over the company," says a new letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and three of her Democratic colleagues.
Four Democratic U.S. senators have asked Twitter CEO Elon Musk and CEO-Designate Linda Yaccarino to provide information about the social media corporation's "continued disregard for consumer safety" by June 18, the lawmakers announced Monday.
In a letter dated Friday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Ed Markey (Mass.), and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) expressed their concerns that since Musk purchased and assumed control of Twitter in October 2022, the company may have "violated its consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and put consumer privacy and data security at risk."
The letter follows last week's back-to-back resignations of Twitter's former head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, and its former head of brand safety and advertising quality, A.J. Brown.
"Regardless of his personal wealth, Mr. Musk is not exempt from the law, and neither is the company he purchased."
"These departures, following a string of high-profile resignations from Twitter's lead privacy, information security, and compliance officers, raise concerns about Twitter's ability to comply with its legal obligations," the lawmakers wrote. "Twitter had a poor track record of protecting consumer privacy even before Mr. Musk's takeover."
As FTC spokesperson Douglas Farrar explained earlier this year, Twitter in 2011 "agreed to a 20-year consent order over its data security practices and how it uses your private information."
In May 2022, several months before Musk's acquisition of the company was finalized, "the FTC charged Twitter with violating the 2011 order for misusing personal information," Farrar noted. Twitter then "paid a $150 million penalty and entered a new consent order," which "added further provisions to protect consumers' sensitive data."
But as the four Senate Democrats pointed out in their new letter, Musk has "made numerous hasty personnel and product decisions" since he took over Twitter last October, heightening concerns about the company's adherence to the updated FTC agreement.
The resignations and terminations began well before the exits of Irwin and Brown last week, as the quartet observed:
In November 2022, Mr. Musk fired multiple top executives; top security executives resigned; and Mr. Musk fired employees who had criticized him, let go of contractors, and laid off half of the workforce. On November 9, the day before the deadline to submit a report to the FTC, the chief privacy officer, chief information security officer, and chief compliance officer all resigned. Internal messages obtained by The New York Times show that an employee suggested internal privacy reviews of Twitter's products were not occurring as they should under the order. Reports also indicated that the launch of the updated Twitter Blue subscription service "disregarded the company's normal privacy and security review." In April of this year, Mr. Musk also confirmed that over 80% of the workforce had left Twitter since he became CEO.
"These personnel changes, firsthand accounts from employees, and hasty launch of new products raise questions about whether Twitter is able to comply with its obligations under the FTC consent decree," the lawmakers wrote. "In apparent dismissal of concerns regarding reducing his workforce, Mr. Musk's team has said he is 'used to going to court and paying penalties, and was not worried about the risks.'"
"Mr. Musk's behavior reveals an apparent indifference towards Twitter's longstanding legal obligations, which did not disappear when Mr. Musk took over the company," they continued. "One employee highlighted his problematic behavior, stating, 'Elon has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them,' and his personal lawyer Alex Spiro reportedly said, 'Elon puts rockets into space—he's not afraid of the FTC.'"
As a matter of fact, Musk's Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket exploded before reaching space in April, coating a Texas community in ash and provoking fears of negative public health and environmental impacts.
The senators stressed that "regardless of his personal wealth, Mr. Musk is not exempt from the law, and neither is the company he purchased."
"Twitter must meet the requirements it agreed to under the 2011 and 2022 FTC agreements," they added. "If reports about Mr. Musk's actions are correct, it appears that the company may not be doing so."
Citing their concerns, the lawmakers asked Musk and Yaccarino to answer a series of questions about Twitter's privacy practices no later than June 18.
"In particular, the letter asks whether Twitter conducted a privacy and security assessment of Twitter Blue, its paid subscription service, before rolling it out earlier this year," CNNreported Monday. "Under its 2022 consent agreement, Twitter is required to perform such assessments 'prior to implementing any new or modified product.'"
"The letter also asks whether Twitter has maintained a comprehensive cybersecurity program to protect user data since Musk's takeover and whether Twitter has met various reporting requirements, including obligations to report any significant data breaches to the authorities," CNN noted. According to the outlet, the inquiry "could highlight vast legal risks for Twitter and potentially for Musk himself."
The former Republican president's repeated promotion of his properties to the media and other world leaders amounted to "diplomatic malpractice," one ethics official said.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who is now running for a second term in the 2024 election, made $82.5 million from his businesses in Ireland and Scotland during his presidency as he embroiled himself in what one watchdog group called "extraordinary conflicts of interest" stemming from his frequent trips to his properties in the two countries while he was in office.
As Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported on Monday, Trump repeatedly promoted his properties to the media and other officials as well as charging U.S. government employees to stay there.
Trump stayed at his Doonbeg golf property in Ireland and his Turnberry and Aberdeen golf resorts in Scotland numerous times, in some cases taking detours to stay there while claiming he did so out of "convenience."
\u201cNEW: Donald Trump made $82.5 million from his businesses in the UK and Ireland while serving as President, a @CREWcrew analysis of his tax returns revealed. That created conflicts of interest and reflected use of the presidency to promote his properties.\nhttps://t.co/DGVZiuyo7J\u201d— Noah Bookbinder (@Noah Bookbinder) 1685974512
The president made those trips after making the unprecedented decision not to divest from his real estate empire, the Trump Organization, CREW noted.
That decision led "to four years of egregious conflicts of interest between his business and the government," said CREW in its new report, with some of the worst arising "around his Doonbeg golf course in Ireland, where he made almost $25 million, and his Turnberry and Aberdeen golf properties in Scotland, which helped him make more than $58 million."
While in Europe for a NATO summit and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Trump went out of his way to spent two nights at Turnberry, later charging his own Secret Service officers $1,300.
A Freedom of Information Act request showed that during former Vice President Mike Pence's 2019 stay at Doonbeg—which was encouraged by Trump, according to Pence's chief of staff—the resort charged the Secret Service more than $15,000.
The then-president and members of his administration mentioned Turnberry, Doonbeg, and Aberdeen at least 50 times during Trump's four years in office, with Trump referring to Turnberry as "magical" at the NATO summit in 2018 and talking to local officials in Ireland about Doonbeg's impact on the economy in 2019.
He reportedly "boasted" about Turnberry frequently in conversations with former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, and pushed the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, to lobby for the British Open golf tournament to be held at the resort.
At the time of the latter incident in 2020, Norman Eisen, former special counsel for ethics for President Barack Obama, called Trump's actions "diplomatic malpractice."