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Liveblogging Day 4: Part III more from Eagan


By Rick Jacobs

While we wait for the trial to resume, a few thoughts.

1. For most of the world, Haiti is the big news, as well it should be. The level of destruction and human suffering there is unimaginable. As I read the NYT this morning with two front page stories about Haiti, I could not begin to conceptualize what 45,000 possible deaths even means, especially in a country as riven as Haiti. So many Courage Campaign members and other progressives are joining with others around the country to try to pitch in.

2. The news out of DC that Obama is apparently trying to get some of the billions back from the bankers is heartening. We’ll see.

It’s hard to keep up with the world when focusing so intently one piece of it here in this court room. Some might say that in light of the big horror in Haiti and all of the other problems in this country and the world, that we should not focus so much on “the gays.” Well, the above are exactly why this case matters so much. We have to open our society to equality so that all of us can focus our energy and attention on progress, on making our society and country and world better for all, not necessarily something the right wing really wants to have happen (witness Pat Robertson on Haiti).

Okay, we’re back!

[UPDATE] 11:11 11:00AM, we’re back to Eagan.

[P is trying to show that he E used the Williams Institute methodology and not his own.] $2.7 million in annual revenues?

E: Yes.

P: You have not considered additional costs?

E: Costs are offset by license fees.

P: Fees at they are now would reimburse city’s costs if these additional marriages take place?

E: I have not considered that specifically because fees pay for weddings. I estimated the number of weddings to determine the extra staffing needed, not to adjust the size of the fees.

P: If needed, the city would increase fees?

E: City sets fees to cover costs. It’s not clear that fees would need to increase. Each clerk can handle so many during the day. It’s a linear thing.

P: You have not factored in additional costs for printing marriage licenses, changing forms, etc.?

E: Fees cover that.

P: You have simply not accounted for that?

E: Yes.

P: Exhibit 852 (from interveners).

E: Email thread with Margaret Sang in city’s 311 customer service center.

P: Caller had asked what would be financial impact of Prop. 8 on SF.

E: Yes.

P: You estimated $400,000 or so cost, which is quite a bit lower than what you estimated today.

E: Yes.

[Admitted as evidence.]

P: You testified earlier that federal law would have to change before SF benefits from federal tax savings.

E: Yes.

P: You said some same-sex married couples would pay more federal tax?

E: Yes.

P: You base this on plaintiff’s expert Dr. Badgett?

E: Yes.

P: We should ask her about underlying validity?

E: Yes, you may.

P: You have assumed that the percentage of same-sex couples marrying would equal percentage of opposite sex couples who marry?

E: Yes.

P: You have not estimated when that will happen?

E: No. Not necessary for my estimates.

P: You have concluded that the equal percentages would prevail is only based on removal of barriers?

E: Yes.

P: You have not studied what has happened in other jurisdictions and you are not an expert on same-sex marriages?

E: Correct. But as an economist, I use conservative data to make estimates.

[UPDATE] 11:29 [Patterson, the lawyer for the defense is trying to show that the basis of the data for his projections is wrong. He’s trying to show that his economic estimates do not hold. Basically, he’s trying to impeach this witness. The plaintiffs will need to come back on redirect and show that his data are strong. Most specifically, lots of people like to get married in SF, gay and straight. So the more people who can marry, the better for the city, yes?]

P: Williams Institute says that at 17%, SF County has highest percentage of gays and lesbians in the state.

E: That’s what it says.

P: You assume that the net impact of the spending due to savings on federal income tax if they are married is by spending 100% of those savings in SF on taxable goods.

E: Yes. That’s an upper end estimate.

[We’re back and forth with Prop. 8 trying to undermine every shred of his economic forecast. ]

P: Report on five years of SF Human Rights Commission equal rights ordinance. Admitted as evidence.

P: Look at page 12 for litigation update. [Trying to show that since litigation is settled and behind SF, there’s no more cost to enforce.]

P: Long series of questions saying that legalizing marriage will not automatically convert domestic partnerships to marriage and that therefore there will still be domestic partners and therefore the need for the domestic partner coverage under the current SF laws.

[Looks like he’s pushing to show that we’d have marriage and domestic partnership which means there’d be no savings. (P is fumbling through documents. There’s a pause.)]

[UPDATE] 11:41 P: Human Rights Commission also responds to other discrimination-related complaints even if same-sex marriage is legal. “Over 4,500 employers provide domestic partner benefits. “ Do you believe that domestic partner benefits are commonplace?

E: I have no independent means by which to verify?

P: Does California have legal means to provide equal benefits to domestic partners?

E: Not aware of it.

P: A policy may not offer or provide coverage for domestic partner that is not equal to married couples. (He’s showing that no benefit is achieved via marriage so there wont’ be any savings for having marriage.)

[Our side objects. Judge says it’s not a proper area for examination of the witness. But he says, “I understand the point that you are making and I think you have done a good job of making it.”]

[UPDATE] 12:06 P: You believe companies will save money if there is marriage, but you have not studied it?

E: Hard to observe companies when they don’t do something and that would be the case here.

Judge: I know this is an adverse witness. You can cross examine him in the old fashioned way and not take his deposition. (Judge is getting a bit tired of the back and forth, wants him to get to the point.)

P: Cost of healthcare goes from public to private sector?

E: Correct, but better to say that people move from uninsured to insured.

P: Not expert opinion that reduction of discrimination will improve the health of LGBT people?

E: Not an expert, but it’s my observation.

P: IN general, is SF a gay-friendly city?

E: Yes.

P: In light of this, you think gays and lesbians have elevated impact and need for health services, but you have not done your own research?

E: Not my field.

P: Bullying report—you have not verified it and you have not confirmed that for SF?

[Judge: Holds up arm crooked and says, “it’s true is it not…” indicating that that’s how the lawyer is supposed to phrase his questions.]

E: Most of my research predated when same sex marriage was legal anywhere in the US.

P: You have not studied the impact on opposite sex couples?

E: No.

P: True that if opposite sex couple marriages decrease, it would cost the city money.

E: Yes, if same sex marriage had a negative impact on opposite sex marriage rates, that would be true.

P: Looking at months during which same sex marriage legal in 2008 v. 2007. 2008 more than 700 fewer opposite sex marriage licenses issued in SF during the time that same sex marriage was legal.

E: Shows that in one two week period there was an increase in the number of opposite sex couple marriages while same sex were legal, but in the entire period there was a decrease in the number of same sex marriages.

P: Goes back and forth with E saying that he never teaches anything about same sex marriage at Berkeley. Even produces a long report about economic strategy and says that same sex marriage was not part of the economic strategy of SF.

E: It’s true that same sex marriage was not a policy option in 2007. It’s also true that many of the things that I teach and consider are not in that document.

P: Returns to National Elevator Industry of New Town, Pennsylvania.

[Sorry, I had to duck out for a quick radio interview. We’re in redirect.]

[UPDATE] 12:09 Our side is showing now that the other cities that would have to have equal rights ordinances would cost more than making marriage legal. We’re also showing that looking at only four months or so of data is no way to examine statistics. And looking at only one city for four months of same-sex marriage makes no sense.

Next witness is going to be Dr. Meyer.

Adjourn at 1210 and come back at 1:00PM

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  • 1. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Not to be picky, but shouldn't this be part III, or am I missing something?

    Thank you for keeping track of this trial for those of us without other access!

  • 2. couragecampaign  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Hey Anna. You are totally right. It has been corrected.


  • 3. Rebecca  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:21 am

    People are missing out on a vital civil right and we're haggling about marriage license fees? Am I the only one who sees something shameful about that?

  • 4. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:36 am

    I think he was grasping at straws to try and show an impact on heterosexual marriage. If we buy the premise that gay marriage would increase the per-marriage cost to the city of clerks, etc. (which is bullshit; as Egan said, the relationship between clerk time and number of marriages is linear, so the per-marriage cost should remain constant), then it follows that the city might have to raise marriage license fees — which would impact heterosexual couples.

    The triviality of this point is demonstrative of just how ridiculous it is to say that gay marriage will impact heterosexual couples. But at least there is an A to B to C argument going on here (only problem is, premise A doesn't hold up to scrutiny, cuz of that whole linearity thing)

  • 5. StaceyB  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:51 am

    No, Rebecca: You're not the only one. But they're going to try to pick apart even the smallest details to save their precious Prop8

  • 6. kristin  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:22 am

    Am I the only one whose head is spinning at this testimony? I simply don't understand how Eagan came up with his numbers and it sounds like he admitted his numbers are wrong when it was brought up that his estimate of SS marriages over a two year period exceeded the number of LGBTs in the city.

  • 7. Brian  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:28 am

    The defense can sit and talk all day long about how its possible that Eagan's estimates for the city/state making money on same-sex marriages might be incorrect. That is merely a question of the extent of the benefit. They will still be hard-pressed to turn it around and show that same-sex marriages will cost the city/state money, which is what they need to do (and subsequently won't be able to do).

  • 8. Raven  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Yeah, but Patterson was only pulling numbers of same sex households that existed during the last census. So if you and your girlfriend didn't live together, but want to be married now, that number didn't include you. Or if you meet the girl of your dreams tomorrow, that number didn't include you.

  • 9. scott  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I don't get the numbers as presented. Not that any of this should matter in the first place.

    But if 17% of San Franciscans are LGBT, and sf has 800,000 ppl, that's 136,000 LGBTs. right? so if egan's projections were 14,599 marriages in two years, at 2 people per marriage, that's about 1 in 10 gays marrying in any given year. Much less than "over 100%". What am I missing?

  • 10. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:54 am

    I don't think we got a verbatim enough transcript to even guess at what Pugno was trying to get at. It seems from Egan's reaction in any case that he was rattling off the numbers in rapid succession trying to obfuscate how he was arriving at his conclusion.

    Remember earlier in the day when the defense did some calculations that legitimately showed that about 5% of married couples in Belgium (or wherever it was) were gay, but instead asserted as a conclusion that about 5% of gays in Belgium were married. It's a subtle difference that will escape most Prop 8 yes-voters.

    Luckily, he's not trying to convince a random voter, he's trying to convince a federal judge. Not that this is likely to matter in the eventual outcome of the case after it's eventually appealed to SCOTUS…. :/

  • 11. Lymis  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Well, my husband and I live in Illinois.

    We were one of the San Francisco marriages during the period in which it was allowed.

    I suspect the annual number of weddings in Las Vegas also looks like a weird percentage when compared to number of residents.

    I suspect many times the number of residents of Niagara Falls get married there, too.

    Sounds to me like he is trying to assume that only same sex couples who live in San Francisco will get married there. That's ridiculous. Bakersfield, maybe. San Francisco?

  • 12. Michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:26 am

    I cant agree with Rebecca more!! it is pissing me off that here we are having to prove some sort of economic BOOST to please allow us our civil rights!
    I am anxious to see the re-direct.

  • 13. Mark 'RikerBear  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:28 am

    All this just makes my blood boil!
    My partner/husband and I have been together since 1983
    dated for 2 yrs, and now engaged for 25….when oh when can we get married

  • 14. Brad  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:24 am


    Hi, hupefully at the end of this trial you'll get to marry in CA, though that seems out of the question since this trial appears destined to work its way to The Supreme Court.

    In a moral, ethical, and real sense I'd say you are married already but know this isn't enough – at least it wasn't enough for my husband and me so we flew to Boston and got married on 10/10 last year, the leaves were an awsome carnival of colors and we spent 2 weeks there. There are many steps and fetters we must take and break, though, before a ss marriage can overcome the limitations of the jurisdiction in which it was performed. DOMA must be *CAST OUT* of our fedgov cannon (& it looks more and more like Obama is no friend to us and lied about ridding the country of DOMA.) Our state of residance (AZ) is one with a shiny new constitutional ammendment defining marriage as the union of one man with one woman, so we don't receive any of the legal benefits that accrue automatically to straight couples who marry (Even MA itself can't provide ss spouses the full panoply of rights and benefits of our straight counterparts and are suing the fedgov to overturn DOMA because of this.)

    So we have to take it step by step, choose our fights strategically, give thanks and feel joy that we do have such a special love in our lives and that while currently there is no possible way that we can undertake a civil marriage ceremony that is remotely equivalent to the benefits straight couples get, that states progressive enough to offer them exist.

    When I came out 36 years ago at the age of 17, we were mostly hoping to change getting beat up by cops – ss marriage was not even a blip on the radar. Well, we've come a long way, Baby, and while no one can say with accuracy exactly when we will attain marriage equality, for now we have a framed MA marriage certificate on our wall and a lot of love & gratitude & a resolve to keep launching ourselves into the fray until we do achieve marriage equality, in our hearts.

    May we all be well & do good

  • 15. Mark 'RikerBear  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Thank you for your comment. I agree we ARE married whether any governmental agency or jurisdiction recognizes it or not.
    Regardless of what a peice of paper can give us we do still have our undying love and commitment for one another.
    We discussed going to one of the other states to marry…namely Iowa since that is actually where we both were born, but decided that we would wait till we could marry in the state in which we live….that being Washington state.
    We are watching this trial with extreme interest as whatever happens there will surely inpact us all no matter where we live.

  • 16. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:52 am

    All great points, Brad and I agree completely with you. I came-out in the Tri-Cities of Washington State (1976), which was not the most gay-friendly community, mostly because of Hanford – a nuclear reservation located there. Yet, I found there was a large gay community that frequented Columbia Park there – unfortunately many of the people that went to the park carried STD's, so it was not the safest environment.

  • 17. Baku  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Ha, "expert on same sex marriage"? That sounds utterly ridiculous and is just trying to state there's some vastly differing economic varible in a wedding depending on the gender of those involved. Besides, who would say they were an "expert on opposite sex marriage"?

    Thanks for the liveblogging – it's very useful!

  • 18. George  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Nah, his point is that the witness is merely an economist who is not an expert on same sex marriage, meaning that his dollar analysis might be correct, but the number of ss marriages on which it is based is not based on any specific expertise in the field. Not sure why his numbers aren't backed by someone who is knows the ss marriage rates in jursidictions in which it is legal, but my guess is because the fact demonstrate that there aren't as many ss marriages as he suggests there would be.

  • 19. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Actually, if you've been paying attention, his numbers on same sex marriage rates are based on the work of another expert, whose testimony we will hear later.

    In any case, the nitpicking over the accuracy of the numbers is irrelevant to the central point, because Egan has chosen wildly conservative numbers whenever possible. As any good economist should.

  • 20. Brian  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:29 am

    This seems to be the defense merely trying to discredit the studies done by Eagen. We will see how it turns out, but I think that this won't wind up being a major factor for either side.

  • 21. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Objection! Relevance?

    I didn't think this was a case about fees. I thought this was an equal protection and due process case under the 14th amendment….

  • 22. Brian  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:33 am

    The relevance is that if the defense can conjure up a reasonable argument that same-sex marriages would, in some way shape or form, affect the city/state economy negatively then they have justification for prop 8 (since we are not a suspect minority).

  • 23. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:37 am

    It still seems too highly speculative to be admissible in court. Bah.

    All this bickering over one word that they're unwilling to share….

  • 24. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Don't forget that this is a civil trial, not a criminal trial. Burden of proof is very different.

  • 25. Michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:43 am

    thanks Brian. that's a very good point actually!

  • 26. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:47 am

    According to the CA Constitution, we are a suspect minority.

  • 27. StaceyB  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Suspect of What? I'm not too clear on, myself.

  • 28. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:57 am

    "Suspect class" means a category of people who are likely to be the victim of discrimination:

    Surprisingly, LGBT are not considered to fall into this category in most jurisdictions. Including at the federal level, as recently as 1996 in the SCOTUS case Romer v. Evans. Considering the bench still has a conservative majority, this is not encouraging…

  • 29. Laurel  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:59 am

    StacyB – "suspect" refers to suspect class. In constitutional law, there are three classes – suspect (e.g. race), quasi-suspect (e.g. gender) and, for lack of a better way to phrase it, non-suspect (everybody else). The class you're in determines how much scrutiny a court gives a law. Suspect gets the highest level of scrutiny – called strict scrutiny – the law must be necessarily related to a compelling government interest. Quasi-suspect means you get intermediate scrutiny – the law must be substantially related to an important government interest. Everybody else gets what they call the "rational basis" test – rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

  • 30. nightshayde  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:00 am

    But being that the trial is in a Federal court rather than a state court, being a suspect minority in California isn't really relevant.

    Discrimination is wrong, whether based in religion, tradition, ignorance, or any combination thereof. Why don't more people understand that? *sigh*

  • 31. Jim  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:29 am

    How can we not be a suspect minority? How many instances of gay discrimination and bashing do there have to be?

  • 32. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Alan E: But since this is being appealed at the federal level, the question is whether you are a suspect class according to the US constitution and the District Court's (and then the Circuit Court's and then the Supreme Court's) opinion.

  • 33. Jeff Lowrot  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:52 am

    This witnesses inconsistency is so obvious! Compare "But as an economist, I use conservative data to make estimates," with his admission that 100% of federal tax savings will be spent on taxable goods. I'm no economist, but that doesn't seem like a "conservative estimate."

  • 34. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:00 am

    You misunderstand. The entire point about the benefits from federal tax savings was part of a more optimistic, "upper bound" estimate. That part won't even kick in unless DOMA is repealed.

    So Egan is saying, "Here is the minimum it will save based on highly conservative estimates," and then also saying, "If DOMA is repealed, the savings could be even higher." Make sense?

  • 35. Dwane Porter  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Yet domestic partnership benefits are taxed diferntly than marrigae beneifts – people with DP health beneift have to pay an offset which married people do not. Not fair.

  • 36. Badcowboy  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:59 am

    One point that should be made – because of prop8, California is now unable to offer full faith and credit to legal ss marriages from places where they are legal – unless they were within the "window"

  • 37. Lymis  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Not a valid point. DOMA exempts all states from recognizing other states' same sex marriages. Prop 8 reinforces that, but unless DOMA gets thrown out, it doesn't matter.

  • 38. Raven H  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Unless CA is different DP benefits/policies usually cost more and are taxed heavier

  • 39. FrankP  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Not only are they not fair they are a lot more. I have DP benefits with my partner who works for the airline. I have to pay taxes as income on any flight I take. Married couples do not. My health benefits are taxed as income. Married couples are not. ECT…… That is the benefit of marriage.

  • 40. Chris M  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Unfortunately Frank that won't change if CA allows ss marriage. The imputed income you are paying taxes on is only for federal. If you are a CA state registered DP you should not be paying CA taxes on that. Only federal. And until DOMA is blown to smitherines you will continue to pay that even if your state recognizes ss marriage.

  • 41. InMA  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I hear you, Frank. My wife and I were on her insurance until she was laid off but now we have to pay separately under Cobra and I'm paying $300+/mo more than her because under federal law, we are not "married."

    700 less Opsex couples married in SF because of gay marriage? It was not said outright but just like everything else they say about us, it is CLEARLY implied. How can anyone function being such lying scumbags?

  • 42. Morrigoon  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

    The 700 less thing blows my mind. Not one person on the legal team thought of bringing up the fact that when people expect a crowd they will often wait until later to go?

    Doesn't mean that the same number of people didn't intend to get married, just that some opsex couples opted to wait to get a license later, rather than deal with long lines of decades' worth of ssex couples rushing to finally get married. And that would only be a short-term impact as long-standing couples finally got married, plus the department adjusting its staffing to match the new natural rate of marriages.

    As far as I'm concerned, the 700-less in 8 months number is completely irrelevant. And for the record I'm straight. I would consider my (upcoming) marriage to be MORE relevant if everyone had the right to be married. Discrimination in marriage is a greater threat to the sanctity of marriage than any excuse the Yes people can come up with.

  • 43. Jonathan  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:11 am

    To Jeff – The assumption is that non-taxable good needs (i.e. non-restaurant food in some tax regions) are already purchased prior to Federal Tax savings. Most goods are taxable, thus, it is reasonable to interpret that the savings would be used to purchase taxable items, even if that includes savings which will eventually result in taxable income.

  • 44. DonG  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Dr. Meyer will testify this afternoon. Dr. Meyer is an Associate Professor of Clinical Sociomedical
    Sciences and Deputy Chair for Masters Programs in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. He will testify about the stigma and prejudice gay and lesbian individuals face in society, minority stress, the effect of minority stress on mental health in the gay and lesbian population, and the effects of Prop. 8 on the mental health of gay and lesbian individuals

  • 45. Frank  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:30 am

    One of the problems with domestic partnerships & giving them equivalent legal rights is those rights seem to be tied to government. I just recently had an issue with a vet who only wanted to deal with the legal owner of the pet and could not grasp that both of us are the legal owner.

  • 46. Joy Jacques  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:37 am

    I am so interested in this trial and yet because of the SC ruling baring cameras this is the only way for me to "see" what is happening.

    Thanks so much for this live blog.

  • 47. Kelly  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:46 am

    I don't think people should worry about us gay people with children…

  • 48. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:49 am

    ok now they’re trying to show how ss sex marriages would threaten hetero marriages by saying less heteros were getting married in the four month where ss marriage was allowed? do they know anything about statistics? at all?….

    anyway. I’m just back on track on the whole thing and read all previous parts of todays live tracker in one go.
    I saw that this morning there was a little ongoing debate about the “experiment” of bringing children up in ss couples. sad I couldn’t take part then but anyway. if anyone is interested in some studies about this topic – cause there has been studies! – here are some links to papers about it: they also adress whether children from ss – couples are more likely to become gay (=gays are recruiting vampires argument) most papers are quite dated (early 90s) but one is from 2004

    one from 92 I have full text if anyone wants it though it’s dated:
    Just mail me tiffyk-at-gmx-dot-de

    also could anyone give me the link to the whitness list? thanks!

  • 49. Karen Grube  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Excuse me, but does anyone there know who finances the Williams Institute? Gee, surprise, surprise, it's a bunch of very well-funded gay activist groups! Do you REALLY think their methodolgy or data would be unbiased? Give me a break! Just look at their website and look at the list of donors? I wouldn't trust a single word from them! All you have to do is go to then do a searh on Williams Institute, the look on their donor page. It's public information! Why would anyone ever trust what they say?

    Besides that, did anyone bother to find out, say, the economic impact of gay marriage in Iowa? Vermont? New Hampshire? My understanding is that it is nill! This is a completely bogus argument!

  • 50. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:06 am

    d'you how scientific research works? you'd get fired instantly if you'd change evidence in any way (also by leafing out evidence that might lead to conclusions opposite of what you hope for) and you'd never get a good job anywhere else anymore.. so while the choice of research question are very likely biased towards questions concerning gay's and lesbians the results of this can't easily be. especially considering that every paper before publishing is being revied by an independent researcher of the same field most commonly the "competitor" in the field. meaning a person with the same study field but somewhat of a rival. and only if this reviewer has no onbejctions like missing accuracy or evident bias the study is published. you see… it's shurely not "made up" stuff or anything alike…

  • 51. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:07 am

    All of the anti-gay marriage sides data is financed by anti-gay marriage advocacy groups. What's your point?

    You see, this is what is referred to as "poisoning the well", and it's a well-known logical fallacy. Rather than address the substance of the other side's arguments, you pre-emptively discredit the source.

    This is not a valid form of argumentation. Rather, you must show in what way the Williams Institute's data is incorrect, and only then can you speculate on what reasons they may have had to publish incorrect data.

    Bzzz! You lose, try again.

  • 52. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:08 am

    I gotta say, these anti-gay marriage folks showing up here is good practice at memorizing the taxonomy of well-known logical fallacies 😀 This is the third one today I think?

  • 53. Rachel  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Uh, did you bother to check out who supports Prop 8? I would guess religious institutions like the Mormon Church! If a religious institutions support traditional marriage and lgbt support equality are you really suprised that LGBT groups give them money for research? Especially when the prop 8 side keeps asking for data that doesnt/wouldnt exist without support from these groups?

  • 54. Raven  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:12 am

    If you don't trust the Williams Institute numbers, Karen, you can read the Congressional Budget Office's report saying the federal government would benefit approximately $1 billion per year published in June of 2004:

  • 55. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Maybe we should ask Mr. Tam if the Congressional Budget Office is run by homosexuals…

  • 56. Janet  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:21 am

    @ Karen Grube
    All the think tanks and research institutes are funded (in part) by wealthy donors that agree philosophically, politically, or in some other way, with the the vision of the organization. This is the way it is. That you would think otherwise shows your naivete.

  • 57. mikeplainfield  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

    The fact that opposite sex couples marriages were less in 2008 while ss marriage was legal in California, when compared to 2007 during the same few months is most likely because of the bad economy in 2008, not because of ssm.

  • 58. Carl E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Karen – Welcome to the discussion. Your first concern about the bias of information from the Williams Institute seems to have been covered by a couple of comments (peer review, etc.), so I'll address your second point.

    It is my understanding the line of questioning regarding income (or outlay) of money by the state was to give evidence that legalizing SS marriage would be detremental to the state (that is, it would cost the state money). By so doing, the defense could argue the state is justified in upholding Prop. 8. Your statement that economic impact in other states is "nil" shows that SS marriage in those states did not cause a negative effect. That would support the argument for the plaintiff, not the defense. (I'm assuming that is not what you were hoping for.)

    As far as I can tell, all welcome here, so long as we keep our discourse civil.

  • 59. Karen Grube  |  January 14, 2010 at 6:39 am

    You're right, I don't trust the Williams Institute numbers or methodology at all. I truly believe the fact that they get their funding from gay activist groups is absolutely a reason not to trust their numbers. Here's mainly why:

    The conclusion that is widely published that 18,000 gay couples were married in California during the few months they were allowed, in nearly every news report I've read, came from the Williams Institute. I'm sorry, but it would be completely impossible for them to know this or even begin to correctly speculate about this statewide because the marriage license forms had changed and we had absolutely no way of tracking that information. Only one city, probably San Francisco through I'm not certain, kept track of whether a couple getting married was a gay couple. My understanding is that they extrapolated from that one city to all marriages occurring in the state, by percentage. That is completely ridiculous and just plain wrong, and yet their conclusion is quoted as being definitive when it cannot possibly be validated or verified, unless you can prove to me that the same percentages of gay marriages that happened in San Francisco is the same percentage that happened in Eureka.

    Besides, has ANYONE gone back to Iowa to see if the Williams Institute estimate of the economic impact there was correct? I doubt it, and yet before gay marriage became legal there, the Williams Institute's glowing estimate of economic impact was highly touted as a reason for them to allow gay marriage. The problem is that it was based on false assumptions and faulty logic and anyone who has family in Iowa or lives there would know that there has been nearly NO economic impact whatsoever.

    In other words, I've yet to see them verify their economic assumptions and estimates with any hard data. So, to me that means their conclusions are untrustworthy and not valid.

  • 60. douglb1  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I am confused, why do ecomonics and the number of same sex marriages have anything to do with the right of same sex couples to marry?

  • 61. 3ringquercus  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Not sure, but it might have something to do with showing "compelling government interest" in the issue, and also shows impact of marriage benefits for those who can have them.

  • 62. Jason G  |  January 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I, unfortunately, do not think that this went very well for us at all. However, when we look at the big picture, it's all irrelevant. Judge Walker isn't going to change his vote because of a a few hundred thousands of dollars. While I think the defense won this round, I think overall, it doesn't really matter. I mean, let's be real here, Judge Walker won't make his decision based on money. But the mere fact that our side brought him in as a witness backfired on us. It put a monetary value on equality, which I think is wrong. Oh well. Otherwise, we have been doing quite well. I'm not too worried about this one…

    <3 j

  • 63. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Jason, you are correct, money doesn't matter. I could be one person who gives you 1 million dollars for your cause and 1 million people can give 990,000 1 dollar donations to their cause.

  • 64. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    i meant 990,000 people can give 990,000 1 dollar donations…but I am sure you got the gist.

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