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Kevin and Don Norte are a Los Angeles based gay rights community activst couple involved in the movement at a grass roots level, as detailed below:

Amendment versus Revision Argument Challenging Validity of California Marriage Initiative

Kevin Norte, a legal analyst, authored an opinion piece in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise of Los Angeles six days after the California Supreme Court's ruling on May 15, 2008 ruling in In re Marriage Cases (2008) 43 Cal.4th 757. That case is the precedent-setting because it found the right to Same-sex marriage in California. Norte analyzed the repercussion the case would have on Proposition 8, the ballot initiative on the November 4, 2008 ballot.

That case found several constitutional rights under the California Constitution and Norte querried whether those constitutional rights could be simply abolished by a voter initiative or would the legislature have to place a constitutional revision on the ballot or determine whether a constitutional convention would have to be held.[1]

Norte is NOT attributed in discoverying this legal theory but he is the first legal analyst to publish an article in a legal newspaper of public record on the interactions between the historic Supreme Court's ruling and the California Initiative process. The legal analyst explored the topic further in another expanded article in the Met-News on June 17, 2008, the first full day gay marriage became legal in California. The legal education piece was entitled, "Election Law: How One Legally Might Remove a Ballot Initiative Prior to an Election." Norte pointed out that the language of the initiative was flawed and out-dated due to recent events. The legal anlayst concluded that one could legitimately argue that the Court order the "California Secretary of State, to remove the proposed 'Limit on Marriage' Constitutional Amendment Initiative [Proposition 8] from the November, 2008 ballot." [2]

On June 20, 2008, the pro-same-gender marriage parties file a Writ of Mandate in the California Supreme Court in San Francisco. [5] San Francisco Chronicle reporter Bonb Elko reported that the coalition filed a writ to seek removal of the initiative. The grounds state in the writ petition were similar to those discussed in both the May 21, 2008 and June 17, 2008 articles authored by Norte but failed to reference the official reporter pages of the case.[3] Norte's second article contained the proper citations.[2]

Context of same sex couples taking one name in California

Kevin and Don Norte are acknowledged as being one of the first openly gay couples[4] in 2005 to test the applicability of AB 205 intended to match the rights of domestic partnerships to married couples.[5]

The language provided in California Family Code § 297.5 (a), reads as follows:

“Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, duties, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether derived from stattues, administrative requlations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.”

Legislative Session 2006-2007 California AB 102, was drafed after the CA DMV adopted a policy to intentionally block other domestic partners after the Nortes from applying the California Family Code in a similar manner.

AB 102 expanded on the concept of allowing domestic partners to take the name of a spouse, to include married couples so the husband would have the right to assume the last name of the wife. AB 102 was inclusive and consistent with Fam. Code § 297.5 by addressing marriages of different or the same genders. Name changes processed for domestic partners after AB 205 and prior to AB 102 originally permitted individuals to proceed with subsequent name change actions, including social security and passport documents. AB 102 passed the Assembly with three republican votes-Sam Blakeslee, Roger Niello, and Anthony Adams.[6] It passed the Senate on a straight party vote .[7] Long term Log Cabin Republicans [LCR] "friends" Ted Gaines, Bonnie Garcia, and Shirley Horton did not cast any votes on the issue.

The reaction from the right was swift after the Governor signed the bill. "AB 102 allows homosexual couples to hold themselves out as married by permitting them to choose the same surname upon registration of their 'domestic partnership." According to Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF).

The bill granted unmarried couples married last names, such as 'Mr. and Mr. Smith' and 'Mrs. and Mrs. Jones.' 'Schwarzenegger and the Democrat politicians have created the public image of homosexual "‘marriages’" in California,” said Thomasson, in response to the signing of AB 102. 'It’s hypocritical for Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto homosexual "‘marriage’" licenses and at the very same time aggressively promote the public image of gay and lesbian "‘marriages’" in every community for every child to see.”".[8]

Regardless, after years of legal limbo the Nortes' position on their name was finally resoleved in the 2006-2007 legislative session when AB 102 was signed into law by the Governor because the law is retroactive.

Don Norte

Don Norte is also one of the first openly gay Republican [9] appointees [10] to a governing body, when California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger[11] appointed him to the Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.[12] The Governor's Committee is charged with developing a comprehensive strategy to assist disabled youth and adults to enter the workforce by focusing on the needs and interests of the worker, the employer, and the community.[13]

In the fall of 2004, Don was involved in the Bobby Shriver for Santa Monica City Council Campaign and was one of about 10 named prominent community leader endorsers in Shriver's campaign literature.[14]

Don’s career covers over twenty years of public service with Federal, State, and local government, including the US Defense Department and the [6] New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.[7]

Don holds a BA from Montclair State University in New Jersey, and Masters Degree from New York University ’s Robert F. Wager School of Public Service where he studied under Professor Rae Zimmerman [8], among others. Don served on the Board of Directors and later as President of the California Public Parking Association. Don has been employed by the City of West Hollywood ’s Department of Transportation and Public Works since 1990 and currently holds the position of Parking Services and Development Officer for the City’s parking division. Don currently serves on the board of Log Cabin Republicans – Los Angeles and he currently resides in Hollywood with his partner since high school, Kevin. Don's appointed position did not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary for that position.[9]

File:County Fed.jpg

AFSCME Local 910 President Michael Boggs, the late Miguel Contreras, and Kevin Miguel Norte at a County-Fed meeting in Hollywood, California.

Kevin Norte

Kevin Norte is a gay Republican American attorney, community activist, and legal analyst. Norte, a former CPA, began his legal career as a Law clerk in 1991 and is currently a Court Research Attorney for the Superior Court in Los Angeles County.[15] In addition, Kevin also is a prominent gay Republican,[16] blogger[17] was involved with a pilot for a television series with Susan Berman prior to her death [10], writes on-line continuing education classes, and occasionally writes opinion pieces for such lewspapers as The Los Angeles Times ("How Big Is The Republican Tent", October 22, 2006), "Daily Journal" "FOCUS", December 12, 2004)[11], and "The Metropolitan News-Enterprise" (Tort De Jour", July 26, 2007) ("Met News") in Los Angeles [12].

The legal analyst was the City of West Hollywood's Rent Stabilization Commission's[18] first openly gay chair. He was appointed by then-City Council member Paul Koretz in 1992 and served as chair for two one-year terms. According to City of West Hollywood public records, it was Kevin that initiated the policy of rotating the chair person of the commission on a yearly basis. From incorporation to 1994, according to city documents, the chair of the commission was the same person. Norte changed that with the help of two other commissioners. Kevin served on the commission until he and his domestic partner Don moved to Hollywood [13] in 1999.

After the death of Miguel Contreras [14], Martin Ludlow began his short lived rise to succeed him as the County's labor leader before he was indicted (See Martin Ludlow for details.). The powerful Contreas was the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) ("County-Fed"). Ludlow resigned from his City Council position in anticipation of becoming Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the County Fed [15].

Kevin, however, with the backing of the moderate/right wing of the County-Fed attempted to derail Ludlow's succession. Ludlow was challenged by Kevin [16] who was and is a member of AFSCME Local 910 according to the union's web site and Ivan Chavez of The Librarian's Guild. (See The Daily News of Los Angeles, June 22, 2005 Wednesday, VALLEY EDITION, NEWS; Pg. N6, 404 words, LUDLOW CONFIDENT HE'LL GET UNION POST.) However Kevin and Chavez withdrew without comment [17] shortly prior to the election and have not spoken on the record about the events that transpired prior to the July 2005 election. [18]


Don Norte, Maria Shriver, Kevin Norte, & Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Hotel Bel Air in the fall of 2006 [4].

In early 2006, Kevin was appointed to the California Administrative Office of the Court's Trial Court Employee Working Group. The working group provides input to the Administrative Director of the Courts on the preparation, development, and implementation of the budget for the trial courts. The working group also shares information on other topics affecting the judicial branch and court employees. Also during 2006, Kevin was appointed as an "Alternative Member" of the County Central Committee of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County for the 42nd Assembly District.[19]

Kevin still serves as the treasurer for AFSCME Local 910[20], recently compleded his term on the State Bar of California's Committee on the Administration of Justice, remains to this day a delegate to Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO ("County-Fed"), is a trustee of the Log Cabin Republicans and a board member of LCR-California's Political Action Committee [21].

Log Cabin Republicans - California

Kevin and Don Norte were the only same gender couple to publicly endorse the Republican Schwarzenegger and were involved in the inauguration as a same gender couple in the program brochure [22]. The Nortes were sponsors of Log Cabin Republicans/Liberty Education Forum in Denver in 2007 and in San Diego in 2008 according to both program's booklets. The slightly right of center couple was also a table sponsor for Equality California's Gala Dinnier in Los Angeles in the summer of 2008.


(l-r)BoiFromTroy Conservative Blogger Scott Schmidt, CA Deputy Secretary of Business Regulations Heather Peters, Log Cabin Republicans - Los Angeles President Charles Moran, & LCR-CA-PAC Board Member Kevin Norte at California State Republican Convention with Fresh Hawaian Leis.

According to a recent blog by famed Huffington Post blogger Ryan J. Davis Davis, flew out to Hollywood near the end of February to join a coalition of gay activists to lobby Gov. Schwarzenegger & First Lady Maria Shriver to publicly oppose the Family Research Council's Anti-Gay Marriage initiative. According to Davis, one of the group's main organizers, Kevin Norte, wrote on The California Log Cabin blog, "Someone had to fire the first shot. We did. We had some powerhouses there and the message was clear. We were not going away." [23]

The coalition [19] had a broad base, including; Matt Foreman (Executive Director, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), Damon Romine (Entertainment Media Director, GLAAD), Geoff Kors (Executive Director, Equality California), Charles Robbins (Executive Director, The Trevor Project), John Duran (President, Equality California & then-Mayor of West Hollywood), Charles T. Moran (Log Cabin Republicans LA Chapter President), James Vaughn (LCR CA Director), and the organizers Don Norte (Governor's Committee on Labor for People With Disabilities) and Kevin Norte (LCR CA PAC Board of Directors).[20] On April 11, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger came out officially against the Initiative at LCR's National Convention.[21]

Social aspects

Socially, Kevin, a former amateur bodybuilder and Don were avid runners and members of Frontrunners,where they developed public friendships with fellow Frontrunners George Takei.[22] and his partner, Brad Altman prior to Takei's coming out in 2005.[23] The couple, high school sweetheats,[24] plan a July, 2008 wedding in Massachusettes "because the waiting list [for a marriage license appointment] in Los Angeles is too long" according to an interview in the May 17, 2008 edition of the Press-Telegram of Long Beach, CA.[25]

See also


  1. "The Metropolitian News-Enterprise of Los Angeles Is The Proposed 'Limit On Marriage' Initiative Too Late?", May 21, 2008. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Metropolitian News-Enterprise of Los Angeles Election Law: How One Legally Might Remove a Ballot Initiative Prior to an Election", June 17, 2008. 
  3. "San Francisco Chronicle Gay marriage backers want ban issue off ballot", June 20, 2008. 
  4. " California Domestic Partner Law/". 
  5. "Land of Fruits and Nuts Kevin and Don Norte Bill/", May 8, 2007. 
  6. "California Progress Report Why Did 26 of 32 California Assembly Republicans Vote Against the Name Equality Act?/", May 9, 2007. 
  7. "Tom Torlakson, California State Senator California Senate Passes Gun Microstamping--Governor to Get Prescription Labeling, Police Interrogation, College Textbook Bills--and Measure Gutting Local Campaign Finance Laws /", September 8, 2007. 
  8. "Wright County Republican Terminator Roils Conservatives/", October 19, 2007. 
  9. "The Bay Area Reporter Political Notebook: Out GOP duo campaign as ticket", September 20, 2007. 
  10. "IN Los Angeles Magazine Gov. Schwarzenegger appoints Log Cabin Republicans", September, 2007. 
  11. "Log Cabin California Websiter Don Norte Appointed To Governor's Council on Employment of People With Disabilities", September, 2007. 
  12. Template error: argument title is required. .
  13. [ Office of the Governor|date=August 27, 2008|title=Governor Schwarzenegger Announces Appointments}}
  14. "Bobby Shriver For Santa Monica City Council Endorsements", September, 2004. 
  15. Kevin M. Norte
  16. [1]
  17. [2][3]
  18. Councilmember Jeffrey Prang: Endorsements, <>. Retrieved on 2007-08-31 .
  19. "California GOP: The Queer Enablers of Gay Marriage/", LA WEEKLY, May 21, 2008. 
  20. Ryan J. Davis: The Great California Gay Marriage Shift - Politics on The Huffington Post
  21. See YOUTUBE
  22. "Human Rights Campaign Wedding Registry", = July, 2008. 
  23. "FRONTIERS Passion Play", = October, 2005. 
  24. "Los Angeles Magazine California Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments on Marriage Equality/", March 11, 2008. 
  25. "Press-Telegram Record Heat For Long Beach Pride Festival", May 17, 2008. 

External links