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Fundamental questions: Exposing the defendants real beliefs


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By Julia Rosen

One benefit of Perry v Schwarzenegger is the defendants have to set aside the fears, lies and hyperbole used in political campaigns and instead focus on logic, reason and facts. The other side has been very successful on the ballot talking about everything but marriage, from kids in schools to churches non-profit statuses. This court case forces them to focus on the law and a few fundamental questions. Jenny Pizer from Lambda Legal writes over at LGBT POV:

These questions include: How rigorous should the constitutional analysis be of laws that discriminate against gay people? Should such laws be presumed invalid like laws that treat people differently based on sex, race, nationality or religion, such that weighty public purposes are required to justify them? Should sexual orientation discrimination be considered a form of sex or gender discrimination such that more searching review is warranted for that reason? Do gay people have the same basic right to marry the person they love that straight people have?

By contrast, a few days ago “Yes on 8″‘s general counsel Andy Pugno penned a long, meandering email for the Protect Marriage list, which reads in part:

What is at stake is whether voters can rationally conclude that traditional marriage is a unique institution that promotes important interests respecting natural childrearing, and that those interests are broader than the personal, private interests of the adults involved. And what is at stake is whether voters may consider their own moral and religious views about marriage – or any other subject – when casting their ballots.

There is a lot to unpack in this short paragraph. Let’s start with the voters. In many respects, the voters’ thinking is not in question during this trial. It does not matter much how rational or irrational they are, or what they conclude. Voters are allowed to use any reasoning they want to make their decisions at the ballot box, but in this case, did their decision on Prop 8 violate the constitution? Olson and Boies will argue that it did throughout this trial.

Most of the political campaigns have stayed away from uniqueness of straight relationships. It’s not a winning message to talk LGBT relationships not being the same or as good as straight relationships. But this trial will consistently expose the full beliefs of anti-equality advocates: that gay relationships are not as meaningful, do not provide as good an environment for child rearing and that the larger society does not benefit from recognizing and supporting those relationships. That’s why they are so eager to hide this trial as much as possible from the public. They know that Americans by and large will not agree with them.

In the heat of the campaign, there is no way that phrases like “natural childrearing” would ever make it into their communication. It is a direct attack on the fitness of LGBT parents. While Pugno does not state it here, he clearly believes that gays should not be allowed to have children because it is “unnatural”. We are likely to see the defendants argue that LGBTs provide an inferior environment for child-rearing, something that has consistently been rejected in courts around the country. That’s unlikely to stop them however.

There is much more to unpack from Pugno’s rant, after all that was just one paragraph out of fifteen. So keep checking back for more posts as we continue to track the right-wing’s reactions to Perry v Schwarzenegger.

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  • 1. Melanie Nathan  |  January 11, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I get so angry and impatient. I would argue that what is wrong with telling children that there are dofferent kinds of families. What has sex got to do with it. Explaining nature of diversity in family has no discussion of sex for any age that would not get sex ed anyway. That said imagine explaining oh yeah there are people who have single mommy families and you better know it 6 years old but because i tell you that I have to tell you taht those single mother's sex lives involve masturbation. WHy do they even accept that "teaching kids sex" is a q that deserbves an answer.

  • 2. Melanie Nathan  |  January 11, 2010 at 8:10 am

    i thought i was posting this on Rick's testimony page sorry

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