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Tag: Gregory Herek

Greatest hits from the trial

By Julia Rosen

For those of you who have not been able to read every single liveblog thread, here’s a few of the greatest hits courtesy of the fine folks at AFER.

This is what they did not want to see on TV:

I just want to get married…it’s as simple as that. I love someone. I want to get married. My state is supposed to protect me. It’s not supposed to discriminate against me.” – Plaintiff Paul Katami

Here they are damaging their own case before it even really starts:

Judge Walker: “I’m asking you to tell me how it would harm opposite-sex marriages.”
Pro-Prop. 8 Atty Charles Cooper: “All right.”
Judge Walker: “All right. Let’s play on the same playing field for once.”
Cooper: “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know.” – 10/14/09 pretrial hearing rejecting defendant intervenors’ request for summary judgment

And at the tail-end they are still hurting their own cause with David Blankenhorn, one of their two “expect” witnesses.

Blankenhorn admitted that “Adopting same-sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children,” and would be “a victory for the worthy ideas of tolerance and inclusion” and “a victory for, and another key expansion of, the American idea.” He also testified that it would result in fewer children growing up in state institutions and instead being raised by loving parents and would in fact reduce the divorce rate; reduce promiscuity; improve the stability of couples’ relationships; increase wealth for families and reduce government costs; and a decline in “anti-gay prejudice” and “anti-gay hate crimes.”

Contrast that to our experts.

ILAN H. MEYER, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, testified that Prop. 8 treats gay men and lesbians as if they are “not seen as equal… not respected by my state or by my country, by my fellow citizens.”

“As I described stigma earlier, I would say that law, and certainly a constitutional part of the law, would be a very strong part of, as I described, the social structures that define stigma, that define access. In a very simple way, you can think of it as a block or gate toward a particular institution, toward attaining a particular goal. So, in that sense, it is very much fitting in the definition of structural stigma,” Meyer testified. “[Prop. 8 imposes stigma] by the fact that it denies them access to the institution of marriage. As I said, people in our society have goals that are cherished by all people. Again, that’s part of social convention, that we all grow up raised to think that there are certain things that we want to achieve in life. And, in this case, this Proposition 8, in fact, says that if you are gay or lesbian, you cannot achieve this particular goal.”

Or this:

LETITIA ANNE PEPLAU, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, testified that she has “great confidence that some of the things that come from marriage, believing that you are part of the first class kind of relationship in this country, that you are — that you are in the status of relationships that this society most values, most esteems, considers the most legitimate and the most appropriate, undoubtedly has benefits that are not part of domestic partnerships.”

I’m a bit of an American history nut and this was one of the most interesting pieces of information from the trial for me.

DR. COTT also testified about the meaning of marriage in the context of slavery. “When slaves were emancipated, they flocked to get married. And this was not trivial to them, by any means. They saw the ability to marry legally, to replace the informal unions in which they had formed families and had children, many of them, to replace those informal unions with legal, valid marriage in which the states in which they lived would presumably protect their vows to each other. In fact, one quote that historians have drawn out from the record … it was said by an ex-slave who had also been a Union soldier, and he declared, ‘The marriage covenant is the foundation of all our rights.’”

“And then in corollary with that,” Dr. Cott continued, “there are other ways in which this position of civil rights, of basic citizenship, is a feature of the ability to marry and to choose the partner you want to choose. … It has to do with a black man, Dred Scott, who tried to say, when he was in a non-slave-holding state, that he was a citizen. And in an infamous decision, the Supreme Court denied him that claim. And why this is relevant here is that Justice Taney spent about three paragraphs of that opinion remarking that the fact that Dred Scott as a black man could not marry a white woman — in other words, that there were marriage laws in the state where he was and many other states, that prevented blacks from marrying whites — was a stigma that marked him as less than a full citizen…. he remarked on it because of the extent to which this limitation on Dred’s ability to marry was a piece of evidence that Justice Taney was remarking upon in his opinion to say this shows he
could not be a full citizen.”

From Dr. Gregory Herek:

He also agreed with the following from the APA: “…the American Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation” and testified that no other major mental health organizations have endorsed therapies to change sexual orientation, and that aside from being ineffective, they can cause harm.

“It’s important to realize that the underlying assumption of these therapies tends to be that there’s something wrong; that homosexuality is a mental illness; that it’s something that needs to be cured or something that needs to be fixed or repaired. And that, of course, is completely inconsistent with the stance of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and other professional organizations in this area,” he testified.

Professor Chauncey testified about the decades of discrimination against LGBTs and how the Prop 8 campaign was just more of the same.

Specifically regarding Prop. 8, Dr. Chauncey testified that “the wave of campaigns that we have seen against gay marriage rights in the last decade are, in effect, the latest stage and cycle of anti-gay rights campaigns of a sort that I have been describing; that they continue with a similar intent and use some of the same imagery.”

After viewing several pro-Prop. 8 television ads and videos, Dr. Chauncey testified that the language and images suggesting the ballot initiative was needed to “protect children” were reminiscent of efforts to “demonize” gay men and lesbians ranging from police raids to efforts to remove gay and lesbian teachers from public schools.

“You have a pretty strong echo of this idea that simple exposure to gay people and their relationships is somehow going to lead a whole generation of young kids to become gay,” Dr. Chauncey testified. “The underlying message here is something about the – the undesirability of homosexuality, that we don’t want our children to become this way.

And yes there was even a George Washington reference during the trial:

DR. COTT challenged statements made by defendant-intervenors’ attorney Charles Cooper during his opening statement that procreation is the “central and … defining purpose of marriage.” She testified that the ability or willingness to procreate has never been a litmus test for marriage.

“There has never been a requirement that a couple produce children in order to have a valid marriage. Of course, people beyond procreative age have always been allowed to marry. And known sterility or barrenness in a woman has never been a reason not to allow a marriage. In fact, it’s a surprise to many people to learn that George Washington, who is often called the father of our country, was sterile,” she testified.

As for death of straight marriage when gays are allowed to tie the knot:

DR. PEPLAU testified that there is no evidence to suggest that marriage equality would harm others.

“It is very hard for me to imagine you would have a happily married couple who would say, ‘Gertrude, we have been married for 30 years, but I think we have to throw in the towel because Adam and Stewart down the block got married,’” Dr. Peplau testified.

Which one do you think did the most to help our case?

27 Comments January 30, 2010

Liveblogging Day 9: Daily Summary

By Julia Rosen

I just got off the phone with Rick. He sounds like he is really looking forward to the weekend. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t as well. I’m sure your refresh buttons are as well. Even though it was a short week, it was action packed.

Today’s proceedings were a bit tedious, at least in the afternoon, as Nielson repeatedly attempted to get Professor Herek to say that gay and lesbians can change their sexual orientation. Dr. Herek hung tough and Nielson is lucky he didn’t totally tick off Judge Walker with his repetitive questioning.

Rick will be back liveblogging on Monday morning and we will have fresh content throughout the weekend, including a few guest posts from some new voices. Personally, I am looking forward to a post from my friend and coworker Caitlin who just proposed to her fiance Jen last weekend. They will be talking about this case and the difficulty in deciding where to get married, and have it be legal.

If you have appreciated all of the writing on this site, please consider making a donation to support the Courage Campaign Institute. We rely on thousands of small donors to fight for LGBT equality and a more progressive California and can’t do it without your support.

Help spread the word and keep your friends up to date on the trial: Click here to share the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker on Facebook!

And without further ado, here is your daily summary. (more…)

41 Comments January 22, 2010

Liveblogging Day 9: Part VI Finishing up the day

By Rick Jacobs

We’re back.

Nielson (defense lawyer) (N): No consensus on what causes SO?

Dr. Gregory Herek (H): What I said in my expert testimony is there is no consensus of what causes people to have one or another SO.

N: The factors that cause a person to be homo or hetero not clear.

H: Yes.

N: Widely differing sources for adult sexual orientation, but no single theory enjoys broad support.

H: Yes.

H: My hypothesis, based on data currently available, is that we will find people went through multiple paths to sexual orientation. (more…)

195 Comments January 22, 2010

Liveblogging Day 9: Part V

By Rick Jacobs

[All from Steer court testimony]

Nielson (defense attorney conducting cross) (N): Are you aware that Ms. Steer was previously married to a man?

Dr. Gregory Herek (H): Yes.

N: “When I married Matthew, I loved him.” Does that surprise you?

H: I had no expectations about it, so it does not surprise me.

N: “When I met Matthew, I was attracted to him.”

H: Same reply.

N: “When I married Matthew in 1987 I wanted to have a meaningful marriage…”

H: Same reply.

N: Have you always had a sexual attraction to women? Does that surprise you?

H: That’s what I’ve been saying all morning. People are raised to think they are supposed to be hetero. You
are defining Ms. Steer’s time period of sexuality for entire life. We refer to durable as for a period of time, not entire life. (more…)

106 Comments January 22, 2010

Liveblogging Day 9: Part IV

By Rick Jacobs

Judge: Says to Boutrous (B), “So if the defendants finish their cross 90 minutes before 4:00PM, you’ll finish your case today?”

B: Yes.

Nielson (N): That’s a target, but unrealistic.

Judge: We have something to shoot for and can be optimistic.

N: Another article.

K: Given measurement problems, one could seriously doubt that sexual orientation is a serious concept at all. Do you think that is unreasonable?

Dr. Gregory Herek (H): Well, I think they are raising that (hard to hear due to static) as philosophical way of discussing various positions. (more…)

192 Comments January 22, 2010

Liveblogging Day 9: Part III

By Rick Jacobs

We’re back.

[Back and forth about admitting entire book. Nielson wants to. Our side does not, saying that they had a chance to cross-examine Badgett when she was here. There’s a lack of foundation. Judge Walker asks Nielson why he wants to admit entire book? Finally, the judge says that he’ll admit the excerpts.]

Judge: What does “operational” mean for lay people?

Dr. Gregory Herek (H): One might have a textbook sense of “socio-economic status,” but you cannot ask in a survey “what is your socio-economic status?” because people won’t understand that. So you ask “what was your income last year?” for example and that becomes the operational definition.

Judge: So it’s a proxy for the theoretical definition?

H: Yes. We are almost always going to miss something in the operational definition.

Nielson (defense lawyer conducting the cross): Asks about article by Prof. Meyer and if you are familiar with him.

H: Yes, I am familiar with him.

N: Reads from Meyer’s article in which Meyer says only 15% of women and 24% of men fit all three categories that H has used.

H: Core group that self-identifies as gay or l or bi. But there was a group that has same sex desire as self-expressed. That is largest group that is not hetero. Then there were others who said they had engaged in same sex behavior. (more…)

203 Comments January 22, 2010

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