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Liveblogging Day 7: Part I the day begins


By Rick Jacobs

[Now we get into the issue of choice. This is key stuff. See what the judge says below. Today will be fascinating.]

[Don’t forget there is a guide to the key names/players over here if you need some help figuring all of these names out at the top]

0840: We begin.

Judge: We have cleared the calendar and can continue the trial tomorrow. Mr. Thompson got the message but did not inform other counsel and the clerk did not call Mr. Boutrous. Mr. Thompson apologized. We will be in court tomorrow.

Two rulings on discovery:

Magistrate’s order is not clearly erroneous which is standard, so discovery order remains. Second order is before Magistrate Judge Spiro to add four people to core group in the discovery process. If he’s unavailable to hear that matter by noon, I’ll rule. Clerk will try to reach him and see what his availability is and at least one lawyer.

Mr. Criswell, Mr. Wirthlin, Mr. John Doe and Richard Peterson

Judge: Why do we need to depose Mr. Prentice again? Why can’t you just examine him on the stand?

Boutrous: Voluminous amount of documents. We thought deposing him would save the court time so we can walk through documents, streamline things in the court.

Moss: We filed our opposition to this this morning. We oppose reopening Prentice depo. He was deposed for thirteen hours. Papers suggest that they have 25 documents to go over with him on the stand. It would be highly prejudicial for us to have to prepare him after depo with him on stand next day.

Boutrous. We’ll take two hours (not seven). It’s the proponents’ who suffer here because Prentice has been trying to block us. We have had teams reviewing the documents for the last week. Documents should have been released weeks ago.

Judge: I’m inclined to agree with Miss Moss. I have not forgotten what it’s like to try case and depose at same time. You should be able to handle this on the stand, just as effectively here at the trial, just take a bit more time. We’re in trial; let’s proceed.

Cooper: Mr. Boies wanted to enter two documents into evidence. My friends at the plaintiffs have provided confirmation that those documents are authentic. So we accept them.

James Campbell (Prop.8): Mr. Kendall is from Colorado. His parents forced him to go through some sort of involuntary forced conversion therapy. Irrelevant testimony. Should be covered by expert if at all. No any more relevant than if defendants found a person who could say that he had a positive experience. Mr. Herrick, plaintiffs are calling him, is expert on this. Finally, Herrick has said that individual reports are unhelpful. Dr. Herrick’s commentary on study he did on self-reporting on conversion therapy. “Even if respondent tried to give true responses of say 12 years ago experience, people are not reliable because their memories and emotions change.”

Judge: Isn’t this an issue that the proponents themselves have raised in opening the case?

Campbell: Not forceful conversion.

Judge: Reads from proponents’ opening brief to court that says that sexual orientation may change. An individual’s sexual orientation may change over a lifetime. Women’s orientation particularly fluid. Seems to me you have raised the very issues to which this witness is going to testify.

Campbell: We never talked about forced structured therapy. Bottom line is that sexual orientation does change.

Judge: What evidence are you going to present on this? Are you going to show that people’s orientation does change?

Campbell: Through cross-examination.

Judge: Other than through cross what do you intend to use as evidence?

Campbell (gets a note): And studies.

Judge: Thank you. You did take a good deposition (as opposed to Herrera’s office that got lambasted by the judge yesterday). It does seem to me this is an issue raised by the proponents themselves. It is very helpful to have first hand testimony. The testimony by the witness can be very helpful. He has after all been deposed. Mr. Campbell has had the chance to depose. Therefore, the motion to exclude him will be denied.

Judge: Just got a note that Magistrate Judge Spiro can hear the matter now. So if you will designate a lawyer from each side and hightail it to Judge Spiro, we’ll move along.

[UPDATE] 9:22

[Boies puts up a video of depo of a DEFENSE witness. It’s stunning. No wonder he dropped out as an expert for their side! N is Nathanson, who was deposed in November by Boies in Montreal.]

Boies: What is position of American Anthropological, Psychological, Physicians, Psychiatric, Pediatric (he does not know who they are) on gay marriage?

Prop. 8: All support.

Does Catholic Church today say that homosexuality is immoral?

Yes. They say it is immoral and outside of the order of God? That’s what the Catholic Church teaches.

B: Biggest protestant church in US?

N: Southern Baptist Convention.

B: How does it describe homosexual behavior?

N: Sinful.

B: Do they describe it as evil?

N: Some do.

B: As a perversion, abomination, deviant behavior, manifestation of a depraved nature?

N: Yes.

B: Does teaching of Southern Baptist Convention include hostility to gay people?

N: Yes.

B: “God hates gay people.” Where does that come from?

N: Picture from the newspaper of protestors carrying a placard that says, “God hates gay people?”

B: What is proportion of those who voted yes on Prop. 8 were motivated by religious reasons?

N: About half.

B: Would you agree over the past fifty years, religion and society have been hostile to homos? And has it led to discrimination? And violence against homos?

N: Yes to all.

B: Any studies that attitude of society toward homos has harmed homos has psychologically damaged homos?

N: Yes. It has been bad for people.

B: What proportion of Roman Catholics accept the church’s teaching that homosexuality is a disorder?

N: Not more than half.

B: What is hatred?

N: Culturally propagated hostility. Not emotion; a cultural force.

B: Is there culturally propagated hostility toward gay people?

N: Some, yes.

B: Historically exits?

N: Yes.

B: Familiar with term gay bashing?

N: Yes. (Witness cites murder of gay man outside of bar.)

B: Is it true that the religions that supported Prop. 8 larger than ones that support?

N: Yes.

B: Religions that supported Prop. 8 provided many more volunteers than the religions that oppose?

N: Yes.

B: Do you believe that the teaching of certain religions that homosexuality is a sin and abomination leads to gay bashing?

N: Yes.

B: Do you believe that the primary cause of gay bashing is religion?

N: In a direct sense yes. Religious hostility to homo behavior has roots other than religion.

B: Was religion used to justify hostility and prejudice against blacks?

N: Yes.

B: Was this prejudice used to “protect families?”

N: Yes.

B: Were the same arguments used against women (family protection)?

N: Yes.

[UPDATE] 9:42

[Boies deposes another one of their witnesses. Her name is Dr. Young. I’ll call her here W for witness.]

B: Any cultures that accept homosexual relationships?

W: Hidra Indians. It is a community today. It has existed for at least a few centuries.

B: Based on everything you know about Hidra, how long have they existed?

W: For couple of centuries at least.

B: Other exceptions in other cultures that support homo/same sex marriage?

W: Verdash is a general category of people where there would be same sex relations and in some context same sex marriage. They were in the US, Lakota tribe, some plains Indians groups, religious groups that had shaman tradition often Verdash. I believe it’s only in North America.

B: Same exist in North America under other name?

W: Subcultures in West Africa and among silk workers in China lesbian marriage. In Roman culture around emperors there were some same sex marriages. Many other examples of same sex relationships, but I’m using examples of formal relationships that we could call marriage. If we just talk about same sex relationships, it would be quite a long and large anthropological study.

B: What is gay bashing?

W: Taunting to physical assault.

B: Bigotry and prejudice in US substantially religious-based?

W: Yes.

B: Religious component to bigotry against gays and lesbians in US?

W: Yes.

B: Do certain religions teach that homosexuality is a sin?

W: Yes.

B: Does Catholic Church have a view of homosexuality outside of the priesthood?

W: Continuing view that homosexuality is wrong.

B: Does church continue to assert that homo activity among lay people is wrong?

W: Yes.

B: Are children advantaged by increasing the durability of the relationship of the couple raising them?

W: Yes.

B: Durability for gay people enhanced by allowing them to marry?

W: Yes.

B: Increasing durability of gay couples’ relationship beneficial to children?

W: Yes.

B: Is it case that love and commitment are reasons that most people give for wanting to get married?

W: Today, probably yes.

B: Studies you have seen support that and do not indicate to the contrary?

W: Yes.

B: Do you believe that love and commitment are the reasons gay people give for wanting to marry?

W: Yes.

B: Arranged marriages are declining?

W: Yes. Arranged marriages have declined a bit, but have not been overtaken by love marriages.

B: Where arranged marriages have declined, have you seen an increase in divorce rates?

W: Yes.

B: Have you also found that divorce rates are correlated with female literacy?

W: I cannot refer to specific studies, but there may have been something to that effect.

B: Are you aware of the correlation between declining birthrates and female literacy?

W: Yes.

B: Shows her statement of American Psychoanalytic Association of 2008. “Whereas homosexuality is a normal variant of adult sexuality.”

W: I would prefer to have a working definition of homosexuality here, but I have no basic problem.

B: Whereas g and l have same potential and desire as hetero and have same potential and desire as couples to raise kids as hetero. Agree?

W: Yes.

B: Is it your view that because something was the norm in the past it should be continued in the future?

W: Not necessarily. Just because it was in the past, has to be reassessed in contemporary context to see if that norm should remain.

B: Talked about homo prejudice. Women have also been subject to prejudice and discrimination?

W: Yes.

[She says that there is doctrine of separation of church and state so this sort of religious persecution should not be allowed.]

0940 break for ten minutes.

[UPDATE] 10:20

0950: Kendall on stand. Grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, born in 1983. Went to Evangelical Christian Academy (ECA). Remember parents talking about homosexuals being evil, seeking special rights. I did not know what it was, but was scared by term.

What is your sexual orientation?

K: I am a gay man! (made me tear up the way he said it.)

C: When did you find out?

K: Always knew I was different. Looked up word at about 12. Knew that was me. Kept it a secret because I was scared. Boys called me names in seventh grade: homo, faggot, queer or just gay. I wore glasses. They played monkey in the middle, keep away, until they broke my glasses.

K: Hated to go to school. Remember getting in car, crying and told parents what was going on. Parents took me out of that school. When I was 13 years old, I wrote to myself that I was gay and my parents found it and read it. Parents flipped out, very upset, yelling. I don’t remember a lot of what they said, but it was pretty scary the level of their reaction. I remember my mother telling me I was going to burn in hell.

K: Religious family. Church and God every day part of our lives. It was shocking (what mother said). I was totally stunned. After my parents found out, my home life changed a lot. My mother called me names.

K: Shortly after this incident, I was sent to a Christian therapist for reversal therapy. I was told that the goal was to make me a hetero. I went two or three times. I remember the therapist telling me homosexuality inconsistent with Christian teaching, that my parents did not want me to be gay and that homos were bad people.

K: Therapy did not make me feel better. I was always a good kid, wanted to make my parents proud. Suddenly, they took me to this guy who told me I was a bad person and my parents said I was a bad person. I felt terrible. The therapy did not work. I was still gay. I knew I was gay just like I’m short and half Hispanic and knew those facts would not change.

K: My parents were referred by Focus on the Family, a Christian based org in Colorado Springs. National Organization for Reversal Therapy in Encino. I went to NORTH (Not sure I have this all correct) from 14-16. My entire life changed. Before NORTH, parents put notes in my lunch, made my lunch. After, they abused me emotionally. Mother told me she hated me, that I was disgusting, repulsive. She wished she’d had an abortion rather than having a gay son. She said she wished I’d had Down’s syndrome or been born retarded.

K: Met with Dr. Nicolosi. I’d do over the phone sessions with him for 90 minutes and sometimes flew to CA for in person. I don’t recall much, but remember that Nicolosi said homosexuality is bad for you, your parents want you to change. As a general admonishment, but not specific technique (to convert).
K: I remained religious throughout. At NORTH I was told I had to reject what I was because it was dirty and bad. I reconciled my faith and homosexuality on my own. NORTH was not successful; I was just as gay as when I started. (Stopped at 16). My life had fallen apart. I did not have the world in which I grew up. My faith and family which were both very important to me. I realized that if I did not stop going I would probably have killed myself.

K: When I was 16, I surrendered myself to the Department of Human Services in Colorado Springs. I went in and told caseworker about family and reversal therapy, that if I went back home I’d kill myself. They started separation proceedings.

K: I was a sixteen-year-old kid. I had just lost everything. I walked in and out of jobs and schools. I was extremely suicidal. Turned to drugs to escape. Things did not get better (he’s very choked up). Period lasted 4 or 5 years. Struggle for survival; not able to support myself. When my healthcare ran out, I went to emergency rooms.

K: Now work for Denver PD for over two years. It’s been a long hard journey, but I have fought with every bit of myself to take care of myself, get a job, get a place to live. I have been able to do that.

K: Member of Log Cabin Republicans, Current Chair of Denver GLBT Commission that advises mayor’s office and city. Not here to testify for those orgs. I am here to testify for myself as Ryan Kendall. Nothing here in court shaped by my personal advocacy for gay and lesbian rights. I just told my story.

Campbell Cross examines.

C: You were contacted by SF attorney’s office regarding this trial?

K: Yes.

C: You have never read a study that shows that people can change their sexuality?

K: Yes.

C: You know of anyone who changed sexual orientation?

K: In public, yes.

C: You were compelled to go to conversion therapy, not asked to consent, you communicated your objections to your family and those objections made no difference because your parents forced you, your only goal was to survive. You did not have a goal of changing your sexual orientation, oh let me change that, to change your sexual attraction? And you did not want to change your sexual attraction? Family experience just as damaging as therapy itself?

K: Yes to each in series. (I just wrote out the questions, but they were asked one at a time.)

C: At one point in time after you turned 18, you lived with your parents for a time?

K: Yes.

C: Is it your position that no one has ever gone to conversion therapy willingly?

K: I do not know everyone, but I know no one who went willingly.

C: You acknowledged in your depo that some people claimed they successfully converted?

K: Yes.


K: During the group session, Nicolosi introduced us to a guy named Kelly who claimed to be cured. When Nicolosi stepped out of the room, Kelly told me he was going to a gay bar that night that he was just pretending for his family and therapy. Lived with family for a few months after that. I don’t speak to my mother now.

[Note]: I’ve moved to a second thread.

Tags: , , ,


  • 1. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:10 am


  • 2. Lisa  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:23 am

    that's exactly what I just said!

  • 3. Michael Herman  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Agreed. 🙂

  • 4. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:12 am


  • 5. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:12 am

    They have the testimony up on

  • 6. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Can someone help clear up the back and forth about opening up the deposition again?

  • 7. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Yeah, I had the same question anyone?

  • 8. Pete  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:19 am

    There's more on about it. It's a bit more verbatim.

  • 9. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Defense withheld information. Plaintiffs wish to depose them about documents that were finally given to us. Defense doesn't want that to happen.

  • 10. SaxMan  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:14 am

    The Prop 8 side brought up the notion that sexual orientation can "change over time" yet they feel that first hand accounts of sexual conversion ''therapy'' are irrelevant? Are they serious?

  • 11. Happy  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:19 am

    OK, I will grant the pro Prop. 8ers that there is probably a difference between someone forced into conversion therapy and someone who enters it willingly. We'll see where they take that. I wonder if they have any witnesses who chose and successfully completed conversion therapy that will testify…

    In fact, I wonder if they have any witnesses left at all…????

  • 12. Dieter M.  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:28 am

    the proponents comment about conversion therapy was very telling..notice he said that having some one who had a bad experience is no more important than IF OUR SIDE WAS ABLE TO FIND SOMEONE WHO HAD A GOOD EXPERIENCE….IF their side could find someone…they cant…

  • 13. Mykelb  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:27 am

    They should have witnesses who went through psychoanalysis and electro-shock therapy in the 1960s and 1970s who were tortured by their doctors because they were involountarily committed by their families just for being gay.

  • 14. elizabethloved  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:19 am

    I was thinking the same thing. Fluid, but lets ignore any way we try to change it.
    This is my biggest fear: the opposite side being able to say "the government even recognizes that people can change sexual orientation (although I'm sure they'd say 'sexual preference' or 'sexual behavior')."

  • 15. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:25 am

    They will not want to get the witnesses up on the stand to admit that the Same Sex Attraction never leaves those who go to "conversion" therapy. What they teach is denial, suppression of such "urges". Since the basis for this is always a faith system and not science it is better for them to just go on studies. Real life witnesses would not work to prove their BS.

  • 16. Happy  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Yes, and Michael Jackson bleached himself white…. but was he not still African American?

    Point: I can deny my truest, deepest attractions and needs. I can marry, have sex, procreate, with a man, all the while making myself, him, and any children we might share miserable because I am really wanting all this with a woman. As such, am I not still gay?

    Anyone can deny their sexual orientation/deprive themselves of living a fulfilled life and create any kind of illusion they want on the outside, but they can not change who they are inside.

  • 17. elizabethloved  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:37 am

    michael, happy, y'all are both right of course in that being gay doesn't go away. I'm pretty sure of this. I've just seen conversion therapy and maybe it's from living in texas, but billboards offering "homosexuality: change is possible" were up all around my college town (interesting video on it here, with pictures of the billboards:… ). And from the evangelical Christian perspective, that idea that 'gays can change' is one of the strongest reasons I continually hear against gay rights. So testimony in this area makes me very nervous.

  • 18. Tom  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:26 am

    People who are left-handed can "choose" to use their right hand to write or throw a ball or shave or anything else. Doesn't make them right-handed.

  • 19. Ben  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Y'all are missing the simplest "choice" argument: religion. If I'm jewish or catholic, I can choose to head on over to the local methodist church, join up, and not be part of that minority anymore. It's totally my choice. However, we have long held that the government cannot discriminate against religious classes, even though religious beliefs can change over time.

    Same with LGBT. Even if we were to concede that sexual attraction/orientation were changeable (and I think anyone would say that changing sexuality is certainly harder than changing religion), it is still not enough to be able to discriminate. We should not HAVE to change in order to stop being second class citizens.

  • 20. Prup (aka Jim Benton  |  January 21, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Been busy, just catching up, but I wish our side would make the point that 'able to change' even if true, is totally irrelevant. Example: A Jew can convert to Christianity — but this does not excuse anti-Semitism. (Maybe make the joke that was made during the 08 Campaign:"Why call Obama black, instead of saying he's a 'white guy with a great tan.'")

    In fact, could make comparisons with race — for bisexuals and those who have at least tried both genders — comparing old rule that 1/16 black parentage makes you black, also see Nuremberg laws.

    (Later I'll be less telegraphic, but one of my cats is demanding breakfast, and then I have shopping. More later.

  • 21. Ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I tend to agree with the defense on this one. If, for instance, an alcoholic enters rehab, forced or voluntary, and fails to be "converted", does that mean alcoholics can not be "converted"?

    The plaintifs need to present a lot more data than the testimpny of a single individual to establish as fact that conversion does not work for gays or lesbians.

  • 22. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:00 am

    I disagree. What we are trying to show is the effects of the "conversion" process. One witness that has experienced this process first hand can really show more about real life experiences versus some quack who gets up there and claims to have 1000's of success stories of people who have left the "lifestyle". What is never brought up is that fact that all of the people who willingly enter into these programs do so because of family and faith. Without the influence or threat of damage to ones self(fear of Bashing) fear of loss of family or being tired of being shamed repeated by their faith in general people would not wish to "convert". It is a combination of these fears compounded by self-loathing heaped upon them from friends, family and society that push them into volunteering to these programs. Even the people who run them admit that they do not actually change anyone. They just teach them to deny it for Jesus!

  • 23. Chris  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I am pretty sure the plaintiffs also have an expert witness who will talk about conversion therapy being ineffective and impossible as a whole.

    They also wanted a personal account to attest to the discrimination, prejudice, and persecution that are imposed during such "conversion" therapies. I.e. how it made them feel psychologically unstable, suicidal, etc.

  • 24. Andrea  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Yes. AA doesn't claim alcoholics can be converted, in fact quite the opposite. Alcoholics are always alcoholic. All they can do is remain "in recovery" by abstaining.

  • 25. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:18 am

    AA and like rehabs are about suppressing the urges, just like "conversion therapy." When you ask someone who has gone through AA, you generally hear about the number of days/months/years since their last drink or drug hit.

    Also, addictions are different from attractions. Attractions don't cause direct harm to the person, rather societal opinions and actions cause the harm.

  • 26. Ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:19 am

    AA is not a rehab program.

  • 27. Petr Tomeš  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:12 am
    Sexual orientation is highly resistant to change through psychological or religious
    interventions. Interventions aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation have not been
    demonstrated by empirical research to be effective or safe. Moreover, because homosexuality is
    a normal variant of human sexuality, the major mental health professional organizations do not
    encourage individuals to try to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.
    Indeed, such interventions are ethically suspect because they can be harmful to the psychological
    well-being of those who attempt them; clinical observations and self-reports indicate that many
    individuals who unsuccessfully attempt to change their sexual orientation experience
    considerable psychological distress. Although some psychotherapists and religious counselors have reported changing their
    clients’ sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual, empirical data are lacking to
    demonstrate that these interventions are either effective or safe. Most of the published
    empirical research that has claimed to demonstrate the efficacy of techniques intended to
    change a person’s sexual orientation can be criticized on methodological grounds. In
    response to public debates about these techniques, the American Psychological
    Association created a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual
    Orientation which reviewed the relevant research literature. The Task Force reported that
    it found “serious methodological problems in this area of research, such that only a few
    studies met the minimal standards for evaluating whether psychological treatments, such
    as efforts to change sexual orientation, are effective” (American Psychological
    Association, 2009a, p. 2). Based on its review of the studies that met these standards, the Task Force concluded that
    “enduring change to an individual’s sexual orientation is uncommon. The
    participants in this body of research continued to experience same-sex
    attractions following SOCE [sexual orientation change efforts] and did not
    report significant change to other-sex attractions that could be empirically
    validated, though some showed lessened physiological arousal to all
    sexual stimuli. Compelling evidence of decreased same-sex sexual
    behavior and of engagement in sexual behavior with the other sex was
    rare. Few studies provided strong evidence that any changes produced in
    laboratory conditions translated to daily life. Thus, the results of
    scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will
    be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual
    attractions through SOCE” (pp. 2-3).
    In addition, the Task Force found evidence to indicate that some individuals experienced
    harm or believed they had been harmed by these interventions. The Task Force report
    provides a detailed discussion of this topic and an extensive review of relevant research.
    It is available at:….

    For these reasons, no major mental health professional organization has
    sanctioned efforts to change sexual orientation and virtually all of them have adopted policy
    statements cautioning the profession and the public about treatments that purport to change
    sexual orientation. These include the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological
    Association, American Counseling Association, and National Association of Social Workers. In
    addition, reflecting the fact that adolescents are often subjected to such treatments, the American
    Academy of Pediatrics has adopted a policy statement advising that therapy directed specifically
    at attempting to change an adolescent’s sexual orientation is contraindicated and unlikely to
    result in change. In response to the 2009 report of its Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to
    Sexual Orientation, the APA passed a resolution that stated, in part, “the American
    Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use
    of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation” and “the American
    Psychological Association concludes that the benefits reported by participants in sexual
    orientation change efforts can be gained through approaches that do not attempt to
    change sexual orientation” (American Psychological Association, 2009b). See also the
    relevant policy statements by the American Psychiatric Association, the National
    Association of Social Workers, and the American Counseling Association. These policy
    statements are compiled in a publication titled Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation
    and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel, which is available on the American Psychological Association’s Web site:
    The Royal College shares the concern of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association that positions espoused by bodies like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) in the United States are not supported by science. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore so-called treatments of homosexuality as recommended by NARTH create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.

  • 28. Petr Tomeš  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:13 am

  • 29. Petr Tomeš  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:13 am

  • 30. Mykelb  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Alcoholics, even if dry, are still alcoholics. Your analogy works in our favor.

  • 31. Bill  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Addiction and homosexuality are not in any way related, therefore can not be compared.

    There exists no pathlolgy for homosexuality. It is not a disorder.

    Alcoholism is an addiction.

    And addiction is an illness.

    Homosexuality is not an illness.

    Stop comparing them. The have no relation to the other.

  • 32. Happy  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Proponents of Prop 8 are on the run again, and so early in the day… first they say sexuality can change, then they want to deny testimony regarding conversion therapy, from a witness they've already deposed, on an issue they raised.

    I love that Judge Walker is able to cut through all their BS…

    Go Judge Walker!!
    ( I also like that he used the term "hightail" when telling each side to get a lawyer to Judge Spiro. It's so John Wayne… 🙂

  • 33. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Can,t wait for "Studies"

  • 34. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Yes non peer reviewed studies that have been totally proven false by all experts in the field.

  • 35. Connie J  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:17 am

    I've read every post and comment since day one and I must say, I haven't been this hooked on a legal trial since Watergate! This is the most informative site I've read in a really long time. I appreciate all the intelligent commentators as well, your clear explanation of the issues are incredibly useful. Just when I get completely lost in the defense's mumbo-jumbo, someone manages to clarify it with one concise thought. And a very special thanks to BMc who provided the witty translation on "Day 5: Part III Lamb cross continues". That was sheer brilliance. More of that, please!

    As for myself, I was born in California in the 50s and raised by interracial parents who believed in fundamental civil rights. They taught me that it's crucial to always stand up for what you believe in. I came out in the early 70s, so following this trial brings back vivid memories of Anita Bryant and the Briggs Initiative like a recurring bad dream. Except this time around, people from all walks of life are supporting us in one gigantic solidarity wave that stretches around the globe. It's not just a queer issue, it's a human rights issue. This alone gives me tremendous hope for our collective future.

    Even though my parents were happily married for 58 years, I never wanted that for myself. Quite honestly, over the years I've primarily thought of marriage as an outdated institution that needed to be completely overhauled. But don't think for a second that makes me any less loyal to the cause. I stand firm alongside you with the hope that justice shall prevail. We're all in this together.

  • 36. Abbie  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:17 am

    I just want to know if the judge is really using phrases like "hightail it" 🙂

  • 37. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Yep, he sure is!

  • 38. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:26 am

    It was on FDL too.

  • 39. proudprogressive  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:59 am

    its all so Dragnet ! Car 54 where are you ?
    Nicolosi himself , Kendell danced with the devil , and survived. These psycho quacks need to be brought up on racketeering charges Thank god that kid called Protective Services and saved his own life. The damage , the disruption, the scars, lgbtQ youth can be subjected too, during that developementally critical period of time 16 -21 – he made it. A participating citizen in society. All we want is our equal rights. Bible battering is real. any word on youtubes from the Ireland Project ? I do believe the people will be taking this into their own hands..and nothing the wingnuts can do about it – as transcripts are available youtubers can act out their favorite scenes. This particular one , however was a tear jerker for me. Hopefully the Judge can hear what we go through. I think he gets it. (and thats enough to make me cry too ) I live very rurally i had no idea that in Cities these Charletons are buying up billboard advertising space – that gays can change. All we can do is deny or wish. It doesn.t go away the natural attraction – its biology. imho.

  • 40. cytyger  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:22 am

    If the Prop 8 people really think that sexual orientation can change over time (as they appear ready to testify to in court), then it's no wonder they are so afraid of becoming gay one day. They have to insulate themselves from gay people so their own orientation won't spontaneously change…

  • 41. Choinski  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:22 am

    For the legally challenged (Although I live near Harvard Law, the extent of my education has been provided by David Kelley courtroom dramas) – Can someone explain what a deposition is?

  • 42. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:27 am

    A deposition, in my understanding, is a written recording, but sometimes may also be a taped recording, which is used in trials.

  • 43. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:34 am

    What they do is ask witnesses questions. Then when someone on the stand gives testimony contrary to what has been discovered in deposition we can replay or read what was said to our attorneys. It is faster to do this in a case like this then spend hours trying to get to the truth when they have been prepped by the H8ers. Something always come up that they are not prepared to answer honestly so they get caught on tape in their lies. And that can be shown on the stand.

  • 44. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:29 am

    A deposition is an under-oath interview of the witnesses outside of the courtroom.

  • 45. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:30 am

    In law, a deposition is witness's out of court testimony that is reduced to writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes.

    In other words, it's an interview to get an idea of what the witness is going to testify, and discovery is the resaearch process over the evudence the witness givs.

  • 46. Dave  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:33 am

    This trial would be much more fun with Alan Shore on our side ;-D

  • 47. Sheryl Carver  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Oh yes! Wish the folks who are doing the re-enactment for YouTube could get him for that!

  • 48. bJason  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:53 am

    and Shirley Schmidt!

  • 49. Michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:52 am

    A deposition is an interview taken by one party or another in a case, which is recorded by (at the minimum) a court reporter. It is taken under oath. Attorneys for all sides in a matter are usually there to ask the deponent (the one whose deposition is being taken) questions relevant to the matter at hand.

    Sometimes it can also be videotaped.

    (I work in a law office)

  • 50. Pearl  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:26 am

    It's used for discovery so the lawyers can find out ahead of time before trial what the person knows and if it is relevant to their case.

  • 51. Loren  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:28 am

    It seems to me that the issue of choice should be irrelevant. I doubt this is the case, but even if sexuality is as fluid as water and a conscious, immediate choice for everyone, who cares? Nothing on the whole spectrum from heterosexuality to homosexuality is inherently harmful. If your relationship works, it works; and if it doesn't work, you try something else. That's universal.

  • 52. Nathan  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:34 am

    I agree, how is the issue of "choice" relevant? If a straight man "chose" to become gay and wanted to marry a man, who is anyone to say he isn't allowed? I wonder why this point hasn't been brought up…or maybe it will be?

  • 53. James  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:41 am

    And, if he were a straight man who chose to marry a man would he be allowed to since he's straight and is just choosing to be gay???

    Mind boggling!

  • 54. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:36 am

    It's important because to qualify as a subject class and get strict scrutiny a class has to be immutable. If it's possible to become ex-gay, then we have to prove there is no possible motive other than prejudice. If it is not, then they may have to prove that a particular motive exists and restricting marriage is the best, least-obtrusive way to achieve that motive.

    That's why it's critical, legally. Oddly, religion somehow qualifies, even though it's quite possible to convert. I don't know if that's the first amendment at work or if it's just been overlooked by the courts.

  • 55. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Er, heh, that's supposed to be "suspect class", not "subject." Clearly I need more coffee.

  • 56. Stephen  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:27 am

    I believe religion counts because, despite conversion being possible, it's considered integral to a person's character–i.e., it is so strongly ingrained that it would be unreasonable to expect people to change it. Sexuality would probably fall into the same category, *if* we can combat the "choice" BS.

  • 57. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Yes, I've heard it asserted that religion, while changeable, is special because it would be wrong to make people change it. That certainly makes sense, and would be quite relevant here.

    What I haven't heard is any case law backing that up. As far as I know, it's just a popular theory with no legal precedent behind it. That is, it's just speculation that that's why courts have accepted religion as a suspect class, or how they might uphold such a finding if they were ever called on it.

  • 58. Steve  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Freedom of Religion is explicitly specified by the first amendment. I'm not a lawyer but wouldn't that give it a "free pass" to be counted as a suspect class, and bypass the official suspect class rules.

  • 59. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Yes but trying to prove the whole "you made the wrong choice and you can change into what we think you should be" is important to them to excuse their discrimination.

  • 60. waxr  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:56 am

    I agree, the issue of choice should be irrelevant, however many people are under the misunderstanding that gays and lesbians can change anytime they want. Therefore they believe that gays and lesbians who want to get married merely have to change sides.

    A person with a bisexual orientation may be able to successfully switch lifestyles, but he or she would still be bisexual.

  • 61. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Yes 'they have chosen wrong so we can treat them this way to encourage them to be just like us who have obviously made the right choice and it says so right here in my Bible" is very typical thought among the Religious,

  • 62. Bill  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:56 am

    lifestyles? really?

    1965 called.

  • 63. Callie  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:16 am

    While choice should be irrelevant, GLBT people have to be considered in the same class as race, for instance (yeah, the whole thing with religion gets me too, even had a friend joke that he'd switch back and forth from Jewish to Christian just to get the holidays). Race can't change, therefore, it's protected and can't be discriminated against. If they can show that sexual orientation can't be changed either (maybe denied at severe emotional, psychological, and spiritual harm, but not changed), then we can be considered a "suspect class" like race. At least, that's the way I understand it.

  • 64. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:30 am

    It's catching! Eek! Pooor misinformed dears….!

  • 65. Dave  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:31 am

    This is a defense witness? :-O

  • 66. Choinski  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Yeah, I got that from wikipedia. Is it considered testimony? Why the haggling now as to wether or not its admissable?

  • 67. Randy  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    It's not a question of admissibility. The plaintiffs (our side) want to reopen the deposition of one of the defense witnesses to question him about new material from discovery (2000 pages worth) which the defense turned over late. The defense doesn't want him interviewed again; the judge says, "just ask him about it here in court." (The plaintiffs want to do it in deposition so they can take their time and get to the details, without boring or pissing off the judge. Defense objects for same reason.)

  • 68. Natalie  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:34 am

    I assume that Prop 8 would all agree that they could never become bisexual/gay, so how could bisexual/gay people become straight? The same goes for the idea that sexuality is a choice. I'm straight, and I know that I never chose to be heterosexual, so there can't be a point at which everybody chooses their sexuality, and I certainly don't have any desire to be non-straight, because if I were gay, I'd have to face discrimination and have a much smaller pool of potential dates/spouses, meaning that there's little reason for a straight person to choose to be gay. Arggghh! I wish I could just go yell at all the Prop 8 people about how stupid they're being!

    Also, the beginning of today's transcript confuses me. Is today not a regular trial day?

  • 69. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:40 am

    I would not make that assumption. In fact, the exact opposite might be true for many.

    Why else are they afraid their kids might catch the gay?

    Others probably don't even believe that sexual orientation exists at all, that it's all just behavior.

  • 70. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:13 am

    They fear that societies views are changing. If they do not put a mark of obvious disapproval on the "gays" and keep it there then everyone will turn that way. Keeping it miserable for Gay people is their way of showing us their "Love" and their commitment to force us to reconsider our "choice". What they are doing is really dangling a carrot in front of our faces. "See here how great your life could be if you only left that deviant behavior behind you? Look we are so happy and everyone treats us so nice. Don't you want to be treated like we are? You can if you only change back to being normal." It a huge mindf*ck. That is all this really is!

  • 71. Ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:52 am

    A thought just ocurred to me reading "does one choose to be straight". I've read that before but this is the first time this thought came to me.

    Perhaps we do choose to be straight but are not aware of that as a conscious choice because that's what's expected of us. If gay and lesbian relationships were the norm, would the majority of us unconsciously choose to be gay or lesbian?

  • 72. Happy  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:25 am

    While I believe there is an inborn component to sexuality, there is nothing saying that a person can not consciously choose to engage in homo- and/or heterosexual behavior.

    Again, the Michael Jackson analogy: He was African American. He chose to appear as white as he could. No one said he couldn't be married or be a father because of it.

    I think sometimes people have a strong attraction for a particular person. Take me, for instance. Almost all of my girlfriends have been straight before being with me. They believed they were straight. They continued to assert that they were straight even while in an "out" relationship with me, but they also insisted that they were simply attracted to "me" and that it didn't matter if I was a man or woman. After our relationships ended, some remained homosexual. Others returned to heterosexual relationships.

    I think there is a huge gray area that covers why people have a certain sexual orientation, and that it's affected by a lot of factors: inborn tendencies, life experiences, societal expectations, religious beliefs, peer influences, etc.

    Rather than picking it apart, wouldn't it be wonderful if society could shout a collective, "Duh!" and just accept it? Both homosexuals and heterosexuals exist and have existed throughout time, they are not vastly different from one another, one group should not be regarded above another, and most importantly, they all deserve the same rights.

  • 73. Ozymandias  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:25 am

    "If gay and lesbian relationships were the norm, would the majority of us unconsciously choose to be gay or lesbian?"

    What would most likely happen is the same thing that happens now to so many Gays and Lesbians who get married to someone of the opposite sex because it's expected of them. So a hetero man would enter in an 'accepted' relationship with another man – even get married, but he would not have the same attachment to that relationship as a opposite-sex relationship.

  • 74. Sheryl Carver  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Years ago when I came out to my mother, she was amazingly supportive, once she'd had some time to process. Never said anything hurtful to me, just was in shock for a bit.

    Anyway, she asked me, "if it was OK (to society) to be gay, wouldn't there be a risk that your brother (who is most definitely NOT gay) would want to try having a boyfriend, too? Just because he saw someone else have one?

    "Well, Mom, if it was OK to be gay, if he tried having a boyfriend but then decided it wasn't for him, nobody would care, would they?" "Anymore than if he dated one girl for a while then decided to date a different one.?"

    I was so proud of my mom when she then answered, "oh, you're right." Wish the Prop 8 folks could make that leap of logic. Sigh.

    BTW, she had converted to Catholicism to marry my dad. For young folks, that was almost a set-in-stone requirement back then. I asked her once, given the Catholic prohibition on birth control, how it was that they managed to have only 2 children. Mom: "There's God's law & then there's Church law. Since the Church wasn't paying for our kids, we decided God wouldn't mind if we used birth control."

  • 75. Lisa  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Prop 8 wants to prove that sexuality can change through cross-examination? What?

    Prop8: "are you gay?"
    Witness: "yes"
    Prop8: "have you always been gay?"
    Witness: "yes"
    Prop8: "….."


    Prop8: "can sexuality change?"
    expert: "no"
    Prop8: "in a study from 40 years ago, in a footnote, it says,
    that it can change!"
    expert: "study is 40 years old, all of the new studies say it can't."
    Prop8: "…."

  • 76. LostBoyJim  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:37 am

    I'm very confused about Dr. Nathanson. From Firedoglake: "(I’m told that Dr. Nathanson, from the above testimony, is gay, and supports gay marriage. Reminder: he was the defense’s witness.)". Granted he is no longer a defendant, but why was he EVER part of the defense? His testimony^H^H^H^H^H deposition clearly seems to say that science finds nothing wrong with homosexuality, but religion does, and they are using exactly the same arguments as they did in Loving v. Virginia. It's perfect for the prosecution, and he [was] the DEFENSE'S witness. Why?

  • 77. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:16 am

    He was going to be their paid expert. Imagine the amount of money it would take for someone to get up there who is gay and testify for them. That would be worth anything for them. And they have loads of cash…..

  • 78. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Though it ends up looking even better that he WAS a witness for the defense and now gets to say all this in cross… 🙂

  • 79. Stephen  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Maybe he always intended to be a sleeper agent, and damage his own case….

  • 80. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:53 am

    LOL sleeper agent!

  • 81. Jack Blackmon  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:38 am

    I was going to ask yesterday in another thread when this testimony would be included.

    I don't think there is anything more damaging to the defense than the religious connection to prop 8.

  • 82. Anne  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:39 am

    thinking of the conversion issue – everyone I know who change sexual orientation went from straight to gay. Basically, the pressure to be straight is so great that they try to go along. But even after marriage and kids, their true orientation comes through and they end up with a same sex partner. Now THAT is hard on a marriage! If people could safely be themselves from early on, would stop a lot of failed marriages.

  • 83. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Heh, "hard on a marriage." Understatement of the week award goes to you, and possibly month and year too.

    I happen to have first-hand experience with such a marriage. It's perhaps the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with.

  • 84. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Me Too…It is terrible to all involved when you actually believe so much what everyone around you has said about gay people that you just want to be like everyone else. But you can't do it forever. It will destroy everyone involved.

  • 85. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I'm not looking forward to hearing Mr. Kendall's testimony. Even as a straight man, tales of these "conversion therapy" places are freaking horrifying. 🙁

  • 86. Niles  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Robert Spitzer would be an excellent resource to use on the topic of conversion therapy. He was one of the driving forces behind de-listing homosexuality as a disorder in the DSM in 1973, and he got into the news more recently in 2001 for publishing a paper which said there's evidence that certain highly motivated individuals can, in fact, change their orientation.


    Spitzer himself has said that this should NOT be interpreted as saying that reparative therapy works. He found that it was an extremely small proportion of participants, "maybe one or two" out of a hundred. There are several quite likely explanations, including bisexuality, but the take-home point here is that for 98 out of 100 participants in therapy, no change is possible.

  • 87. Niles  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Here's a summary of Spitzer's report:

  • 88. Pete  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Thanks Niles! That's great! I had heard about Dr Spitzer on This American Life and I love the site, Religious Tolerance as well!

  • 89. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Dr. Spitzer was duped by NARTH and his "study" is about as laughable as any of the other "studies" spewed by NARTH.

    Spitzer interviewed people *hand picked* by "Uncle Joe" Nicolosi and his minions. No random sample, no legitimate survey.

  • 90. Dave  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Remember Nicolosi was not even able to "convert" his own gay son.

  • 91. Robyn Elaine Serven  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:49 am

    He hijra are transgendered.

  • 92. Robyn Elaine Serven  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:51 am

    And Berdash is euro word for people who are often called two-spirited, people who live in the gender opposite their birth sex.

  • 93. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Here is some info on this:

  • 94. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Hijra, and Berdache. Not Hidra, and Verdash. Not nitpicking, just putting the right spelling out there if anyone were to want to look these up. (They're quite fascinating)

  • 95. Choinski  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:52 am

    correction: Verdash is actually 'Berdache'

  • 96. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:41 am

    It's also considered a slur now because of the origin of the word.

    It was given to two-spirited natives by a French missionary, who used an Arabic word for prostitute, IIRC.

  • 97. Beth  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:00 am

    I've just caught up on the last couple of days of the hearing. I am so grateful for the detailed coverage, and I know how exhausting it must be for those reporting. Thanks to all who are providing this fabulous service. I am a 50-something lesbian, married in Massachusetts to my partner of 25 years. As a federal employee, none of the state laws apply to me — until DOMA is overturned. Just wanted to say thanks from the other coast.

  • 98. Robyn Elaine Serven  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Oher interesting words for study: in Lakota, winkte. In navajo, nádleeh.

  • 99. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I have two words about the depositions of these supposed defense witnesses: Holy shit!

  • 100. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:23 am

    I know right….LMAO

    What were they so scared of that they ran from testimony? Getting the truth out?

  • 101. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:07 am

    OH MY! How about Alexander The Great, He built monuments to his love.What tribe was he with?

  • 102. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:07 am

    More volunteers from the religious right??? You betcha! I spent 7 years in an "almost amish" baptist church. We were taught to "tithe" of our time and talents as well as our dollars. It was a SIN not to "stand up for God", including fighting "these" good fights! :((((( It's no wonder they can move some mountains we can't. If their ppl dont do it, they are in sin and subject to much scrutiny from the church. If our ppl don't do it, we never even know. 🙁
    (sorry coming in late… 🙂

  • 103. Callie  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:24 am

    That reminds me of my neighbors who had a pro-amendment sign in their yard when the anti-gay amendment passed in my state. They are VERY involved in their church (Church of Christ) which is across the street from us; however, they give us and our daughter Christmas gifts, have invited us to their Halloween parties, and offered to watch our house and even our daughter if ever needed. They've never said a cross word to us. So, I wonder how much of it is that they are seen as "leaders" in their church and feel forced/compelled to support the church's views at least in public. Or they could just hate us and cover it up well. Just makes you wonder though.

  • 104. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Callie, having been a leader in that wing, I would have to say most don't really know how to "think" for themselves anymore. But I truely believe the Spirit of God that does live in them, although it's hard sometimes to believe, tells them that although they don't understand, the HATRED is wrong…

  • 105. Ozymandias  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:09 am

    "Judge: Isn’t this an issue that the proponents themselves have raised in opening the case?

    Campbell: Not forceful conversion."

    Campbell's statement is bunk. Any GLBT person who 'chooses' to endure this living hell is doing so because they are being FORCED to – even if it is not in so many words!

    Fifteen years ago, I was a Christian who was well-established in my church, involved in many aspects of church activities and life. I was well-liked, and often stood before the congregation to read Bible verses and so on. Yet, I was also Gay – the idea that I had homosexual feelings was the White Elephant in the room that was only getting bigger the more involved I got in church. What if I was Outed? That I was involved in Teen ministry was especially damning – I knew, just KNEW that if I was Outed (or came Out) the parents would go absolutely berserk about me being in any leadership position – even though I never spoke about Gay issues or engaged in any discussions about it. Finally, I signed up for 'conversion therapy' with a small group of church-goers who were sworn to secrecy about 'my condition'. For the next year, I attended these sessions by myself every week.

    The sessions were, in a word, terrible. Everything about my life was ripped apart and critiqued – from what I read to TV because, as time went on and my sexual orientation refused to budge (no matter how hard I tried) it became an issue of something out there 'inflaming my unnatural lusts.' I ended up more depressed and confused than ever – which affected every part of my life. My friends at church knew I was going to some kind of counseling (obviously they didn't know what it was about) but they began to be concerned that I seemed to be getting worse, not better.

    Finally, a Christian counselor (who knew what was going on) BEGGED me to stop going, saying that these sessions were inflicting terrible psychological harm. After a year of enduring this abuse, I finally quit the sessions.

    Technically, Prop 8 could say that I 'volunteered' for the therapy, but that's only a technicality; I signed up for a year of hell because of the implied discrimination and rejection I would face – in essence, my consent wasn't really consent at all, but FORCED by fear of discrimination and bigotry against me – this fear was now reinforced because, regardless of what I did to rid myself of my Gayness, the Christians leading the sessions always turned to 'Well it's a lack of faith' or 'You don't REALLY want to be delivered!' I was terrified that everyone would take the same stand.

    Just my thoughts. Sorry for the ramble, but this is a big deal to me.

  • 106. Alexa  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:24 am

    Thank you for sharing this story. It must be very difficult to relive those moments, and I appreciate your courage in having endured it, and in sharing this with us.

    Also, I'm not sure why anyone would think that people would voluntarily CHOOSE to be homosexual, considering the stigma most must endure should they ever come out. I think they know that it's not a choice, and I think they know that the hostile environment is what keeps many people closeted–and what they want is to continue maintaining the hostile environment so people will STAY in the closet.

  • 107. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:26 am

    That is no ramble Ozy. That is your story and your truth. It should be shared. Thank you for being honest. Glad you got out.

  • 108. Callie  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Technically, Prop 8 could say that I ‘volunteered’ for the therapy, but that’s only a technicality; I signed up for a year of hell because of the implied discrimination and rejection I would face – in essence, my consent wasn’t really consent at all, but FORCED by fear of discrimination and bigotry against me

    While I didn't end up going to a conversion camp, I did consider it and for all the reasons you mentioned. I literally had nightmares about burning in hell. When I did come out to my parents (and it went very bad, I might add), I refused to even be alone with them because I was afraid they'd take me away to a camp. They even tried to convince me to go with them to a Christian counselor across state lines (because they didn't want to be shamed if someone found out), but I refused to get in the car.

  • 109. Loren  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:10 am

    "I literally had nightmares about burning in hell."

    I know this is mild threadjacking, but I want to say that experiences like this are evidence of the harm done by religion. I'm straight, but I was still tormented daily during my teenage years by the idea that my virulent lust was causing actual pain to the Lamb of God. It took years of painful searching before I realized that there were reasonable, logical, wonderful alternatives to the self-contradictory nature of Christianity.

  • 110. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Thank you for sharing this story. More stories like this, and the story of Stuart Matis, need to be told.

  • 111. jc  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:56 am


    thank you for sharing your very touching and alarming story. the first sentence of the last paragraph is very interesting to me in regard that i doubt many people go truly "willingly". it seems it would be coerced or "forced" by their fears of being discriminated against, having family/friends hate them if they didn't change, feeling there is something wrong with them because someone else is telling them there is!

    if it wasn't so acceptable for people in our society to point out how "evil" and "bad" it was to be homosexual i have no doubt those lovely conversion camps would be out of business. what reason would homosexuals have to desire to not be one? i guess what i am saying is my feelings tell me that 100% of people attending those conversions are coerced, whether overtly or subtly.

  • 112. aaron  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Ozymandias should go on the stand and tell his story. @#$, we all should.

  • 113. Sandy  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:31 am

    I did not attend any official conversion, but in my self guilt, attempted on my own. I specifically sought a person of the opposite gender to "convert myself".
    Long story short, it was known before marriage and I tried and was in love, but I ended up retreating away from the family (almost literally), went into seclusion. When I happened to meet another person like me, gradually left seclusion and all this was like a person before me said VERY PAINFUL for all involved. My spouse mentioned the children (not mine) asking questions and I said "I guess I will have to leave, then".
    It was all so wrenching.
    I was not really out and tried to tell my Mom, but stopped when she said I don't want to know.
    I went about my life, being separated and not share my true life with my family, feeling cut off.
    Why do we feel that leading people that are being themselves must be "converted" to be accepted?
    We have suicides, murders and assaults as a result.
    There is a religious tone here, so I feel using a Biblical reference is appropriate. Much of the animosity and sadness, guilt and shame has no fruit.
    The movie, A Prayer for Bobby (?) showed how a Mother that loved her happy son and learning of his being gay, became hateful, trying to change him and he ended up jumping off a bridge. THAT is the fruit of this!
    I have been shamed, assaulted, physically and verbally, now this continues with psychological torture daily when the message of "you are unworthy" causes tragic consequences.
    OK, we know it will take a long time to be enlightened and love unconditionally.
    I hope all this outrage over LGBGTQ is overcome by the ever present need to focus upon hunger and disease, being kind to our neighbors and stop wasting money and whipping up anger, shame, and recognize the fruit of this endeavor of suppressing something that the above link might explain as eunuchs (being the Biblical word) that has a place that is what it is, not to be so worried about "conversion".
    I know many LGBTQ and non LGBTQ are not into the Bible, but this is one of the arguments.
    I am now divorced from my "self conversion" marriage and one of the 18,000 married in CA, inside the window.

  • 114. Sandy  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:36 am

    The link didn't show up, sorry.

  • 115. Sandy  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:42 am


  • 116. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Ozy, It,s like something you should be able to sue over .Glad your here to witness this now

  • 117. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:20 am

    am I lagging horribly or is this ten minute break taken 40 minutes now?

  • 118. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:23 am

    They've been posting large chunks at longer intervals.

    I've also been watching here for updates:

  • 119. Barb  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:23 am

    We may have all hit the refresh/reload button and gone back to the home page hundreds of times…the break was over a little over 30 minutes ago.

    I wonder what was being discussed with Spiro earlier today. Does anyone know? Are there discussions happening that we will never learn about?

  • 120. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Ozymandias – I'm sorry you had to go through that. My girlfriend is Christian and struggles with reconciling her sexuality and religion.

    If you know of any good resources on this topic, would you mind posting them here? I know it's a bit off topic from the actual trial but it's somewhat related to the conversion therapy stuff. 🙂

  • 121. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Another good source for you:

    There may be a Metropolitan Community Church near you. Until I met the minister of our local MCC, you would never have gotten me into a church again. *Everyone* is welcome there, though the primary focus is on GLBT people.

  • 122. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Thanks, Fiona!

  • 123. Ozymandias  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:42 am

    Hi Liz,

    Agree with Ron – there will no doubt be a lot of information provided here that will help your girlfriend.

    However, let me make a suggestion here – the best resource your girlfriend will have is supportive friends and fellow believers. I would suggest that your girlfriend look at Gay-affirming churches to network with – there are many resources on the internet to answer questions about homosexuality vs. religion ( being one) but nothing compares to having people being supportive and affirming in person.

  • 124. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Thanks Ozymandias & ron. I agree that a network of friends is best. It's tough for her since she the church she attends now has a lot of beliefs she shares, and great methods, but they don't accept gay people.

    She shouldn't have to choose from a handful of churches who are excepting just because she happens to love women. A few is still better than none though i suppose.

    Anyway, great link, i'll share it with her. Thanks. 🙂

  • 125. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:15 am

    MCC is a great church, It is tough sometimes when you come from a Evangelical background because some of their practices are close to Catholic's. So it is sometimes a bit strange, At least for me, No offense intended to anyone!

  • 126. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Liz — There's also Unitarian, United Church of Christ, and a number of Presbyterian, Episcopal, and United Methodist churches who are affirming and accepting.

    Being TLBG and religious is NOT an oxymoron!

  • 127. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:24 am

    Liz,I have a feeling by the end of this trial you will have lots of info on subject. Get ready to print

  • 128. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:26 am

    They sent this poor kid to NARTH? Good grief.

    Every single reputable psychiatric and psychological organization has condemned these quacks, and yet people still send their kids there to "fix them" with abusive procedures (physical and emotional). Ugh.

  • 129. Alice  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:30 am

    The idea of an adult going through conversion "therapy" is bad enough; the thought of subjecting a child to it is unconscionable.

  • 130. Lisa  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:31 am

    that's probably because it's one of the first things that show up on a google's search for "homosexuality cause, homosexuality genetic, etc". They try very hard to appear scientific…

  • 131. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:48 am

    I see they didn't mention the fact that ol' "Uncle Joe" is no longer with the group!

    He was booted when one of his minions started spewing some racist crap (not surprised!), and Uncle Joe refused to denounce, nor remove him.

  • 132. Dieter M.  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:27 am

    its NARTH…not NORTH….lol

  • 133. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:28 am


  • 134. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Thanks a lot, April! 🙂

  • 135. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:58 am


  • 136. kate  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:28 am

    You know what? Religion is a choice. People convert all the time. My mother converted from Judaism to Catholicism in the 1960s. But religion is still protected by the constitution. No one can be (legally) discriminated against because they subscribe to a particular religion. It is not an immutable trait. So why does it matter if sexual orientation is immutable or not?

  • 137. Happy  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Right on, sister! 🙂

  • 138. FishyFred  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:48 am

    It is immutable in that it is virtually impossible to control the information that you are exposed to. That information shapes your beliefs, right or wrong.

    But this testimony is absolutely heartbreaking.

  • 139. Robyn Elaine Serven  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:51 am

    I was a straight guy, married for 24 years. Then I had a sex-change (starting 18 years ago). I still am attracted to women and have been with my present partner for 12 years. So I'm a lesbian.

    Did I choose to be?

    For many transfolk, sexual orientation is rather difficult to pin down…and sometimes even a bit silly.

  • 140. astro  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:43 am

    You were once a man who was attracted to women. You also wanted to be a woman. Now through the miracle of modern science you are a woman. You are also still attracted to women. Do I have that right? If so, doesn't seem difficult to pin down to me. Seems pretty straight forward. Why anyone should have any problem with that I do not know. What's the big deal? BTW, congratulations on being together for 12 years! Anytime love triumphs over adversity and the human condition in general is good news in my mind.

  • 141. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Hi, Robyn — I'm a transwoman too (non-op due to poverty), and I've always been attracted to women, though I first IDed as asexual.

    There are hundreds if not thousands of stories such as yours where you were forced to marry and have kids due to societal and familial pressure… sometimes because some "expert" said that'd "cure" you. Uh huh… and the moon is made of green cheese!

    I've had two intense lesbian relationships back in '02 and nothing since, but don't regret them whatsoever. Both knew I was trans.

  • 142. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:56 am

    The constitution also specifically mentions religion as being protected in the first amendment. It doesn't specifically mention sexuality anywhere.

    You're right of course, but this unfortunate fact may be why it's still a legal question.

  • 143. B  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:35 am

    You're exactly right, Andrew. Because religion is expicitly protected by the First Amendment, it is viewed differently and subject to a higher level of judicial scrutiny.

    Scrutiny is complicated to go into, but basically if the government were to create a law that appears to impact a specific religion, the government would have to prove that there is a compelling reason for that law, and that it is narrowly tailored, i.e., has as little negative impact as possible, for it to be constitutional. Thus, laws against specific religions are subject to strict scrutiny.

    But because sexuality is not currently protected by the Constitution, the government would only have to have a rational reason for the law, and it doesn't have to be tailored. That is called rational basis review.

    The difference in those levels of judicial scrutiny can make or break this case. That is why the good guys are trying so hard to prove that gays should be a suspect class, protected by the Constitution. If there is a higher level of judicial scrutiny for Prop 8, it most certainly is unconstitutional. But the rational basis review is a much steeper uphill climb to prove unconstitutionality. Whew, hope that made sense!

  • 144. MJFargo  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:31 am

    I've always thought people who believe homosexuality is a choice are acknowledging their own impulses which they may or may not be able to control or act upon (adolescent experimentation, etc.). But that's very different than being gay and not having any emotional or physical attraction to the opposite sex.

  • 145. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:34 am

    As someone who is about a 1.3 on the Kinsey scale, I can tell you that I never had to decide whether I had a crush on Paul McCartney or Petula Clarke. It was always about Paul, LOL. The idea that anyone who is not bang in the middle of the Kinsey scale is "choosing" just amuses me.

    Of course, with the people who bring up the choice argument, it's never that straight is a choice. Nosirree. It's only being gay that is a choice. @@

    I think you're on to the real deal, though, MJ. Numerous studies, including a rather famous one at the University of Georgia that used a pleistheometer (sp?) demonstrated that the loudest homophobes are the ones who are attracted to members of their own gender and don't want to acknowledge it.

  • 146. MJFargo  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:37 am

    And it must be such a miserable experience (that painful denial of one's most basic instincts).

  • 147. jc  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:47 am


    i've actually heard arguments from heterosexuals using the "sexuality is a choice" argument say, with what i presume is a straight face(no pun intended), that of course they chose to be heterosexual. for me, that falls into the " does this person really believe what they are saying, or are they just spouting this crap so they can use it as a reason to discriminate/criticize/hate?". i'm not sure which reason of those two would be scariest….but you have to agree, the former is pretty original, not believable, but original!

  • 148. pbrim  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:06 am

    The "choosing to be straight" argument can backfire. I spoke with a woman once who claimed that there is no such thing really as G/L people, just people who chose to act that way, who could just as easily choose to act straight tomorrow. So I asked when she chose to be straight. She said at age 14. She was always attracted to both, and chose to ignore same attraction as a good christian. I asked "Ever heard of bisexual? Most people are attracted to one sex or other, not both", but she was sure they all lied.

  • 149. MJFargo  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:22 am

    I try to take people at face value (unless they're throwing around dubious statistics) that they actually believe what they're saying. Although you raise a good point. Growing up in the civil rights era people spouted all sorts of nonsense that they'd heard as a mask for their own ignorance and prejudice. May just be the case of the Prop 8 folks.

  • 150. astro  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:56 am

    @pbrim, yea, sounds like she is bisexual and both her bisexuality and her religious worldview color her thinking to some degree. She likely does not have sufficient intellectual curiosity to understand her own condition much less anyone else.

  • 151. Paul  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Kendall on stand describing his experience of conversion therapy at NARTH I imagine rather than NORTH as reported.

  • 152. Paul  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:41 am

    NARTH offers conversion therapy

    National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), formerly National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality, is a non-profit organization that offers conversion therapy and other regimens intended to change the sexual preference of individuals who experience unwanted sexual attraction to members of the same sex.

  • 153. jayjaylanc  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:28 am

    They may offer conversion therapy, but they don't offer conversion therapy that works. Nobody does.

  • 154. paul  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Goes without saying jayjaylanc,
    conversion therapy is not only complete psuedoscientific hokum, it's also dangerous and exploitative.

    I understand Nicolosi has been quite active in the background as an adviser informing the Uganda "Kill The Gays Bill" through promoting the lie in visits to that country (and eslewhere) that gays can be changed.

  • 155. Cassie  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:44 am

    Who is magistrate judge spiro? Or whatever his name is… Why do the lawyers have to go talk to him?

  • 156. MM  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Unlike district court judges, such as Judge Walker, magistrate judges are not appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Rather, they are appointed by the district court judges within a district. Magistrate judges assist district court judges, often by handling procedural matters.

    Here, Judge Walker is referring the parties to Magistrate Judge Spiro to rule on discovery requests.

  • 157. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:46 am

    he was just pretending for his family and therapy

    That is just too bad. I hope he doesn't have to pretend anymore.

  • 158. Anne  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:51 am

    My heart breaks with every story of parental rejection of a GLBT child. When are people ever going to stop this nonsense?! I can't believe that we have to continue to debate our "worth" in society.

  • 159. James  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:32 am

    I grew up the only boy of 7 during the 70's. When I came out to my parents at 25 they told me had they known when I was younger they could've gotten me fixed had I only told them sooner.

    My coming out was a week long bible bashing by my mother and 4 of my sisters. I remember calling my best friend while hiding in the bathroom. She and I were laughing at what my family was saying to me and how I reversed every scenario they threw at me.

    One of my sisters asked me if I'd "ever tried to be with a girl?" I said "no", she asked "then how do you know you're gay and not straight?" I asked her the same thing. Boy was she mad. Today she's next to one of my biggest supporters.

  • 160. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Heh. One of my friends came out to his father as an adult. his dad said something to the effect of, "Well, I can introduce you to some girls."

    His response: "Dad, I know girls. Some of my best friends are girls. It's not about me not knowing any girls. It's about me not being attracted to them."

  • 161. RCR  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I agree, How could a Parent Demonize their own Flesh & Blood? Kendal must have gone through HELL with his Religious Parents. He could have been driven to suicide by their mess with him. It's horrible… I hope in the future they can reconcile and show unconditional love to their son.

    Kendall's testimony was short, clear & concise, despite the consquences of his parent's complete rejection, he has endured and is now a productive and respectfully employed citizen. Kendall's story, in reality, is a SUCESS.

  • 162. Dieter M.  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Love how that idiot asked…"so you had no desire to change your sexual ORIENTATION…ooops I mean sexual ATTRACTION… let it sleep that it was in fact an ORIENTATION

  • 163. Ann S.  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:05 am

    What is the significance of "orientation" versus "attraction"?

  • 164. pbrim  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:14 am

    An "attraction" is a simple preference. You are attracted to blondes, or to the strong silent type, or to people with a good sense of humor. Attractions are superficial and changeable. You may be attracted to blondes, but then you met that gorgeous redhead and changed your mind.

    An "orientation' is much deeper. It is an unchangeable part of your core personality. It is what you are, not what you choose.

    The pro-hate groups claim that LGBT is an "attraction", not an "orientation" — unless they slip up and forget the talking points.

  • 165. Elizabeth  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:24 am

    I caught that too.
    I love "sexual preference" instead of "orientation" as well. it's like choices of desert that way, instead of something one really has no conscious control over. "hmm, today I'll have the femme blonde, tomorrow the college football star?"

  • 166. truthspew  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Talk to real psychologists, not the ones who put their religious agenda first and they'll flat out tell you that conversion therapies do NOT cure anyone of their homosexual feelings and tendencies. Not a one of them.

    Instead they can do severe psychological damage to the person they're trying to change. In essence they're trying to sublimate homosexuality with Jesus Christ. Doesn't work. Never has, never will.

  • 167. dimitri  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:51 am

    What exactly are Hidra Indians? I looked on wikipedia and on the internet and could not find anything. Is the spelling correct?

  • 168. Dave  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:06 am

    I saw something on this on the National Geographic channel about two weeks ago – I wasn't watching with my full attention, so I may have some of the facts wrong. The documentary was on intersex people (transgendered? is there a difference?).

    If I recall correctly (and didn't miss anything), they're men who live as women in India – dress, manner, etc. The documentary implied that they are accepted, then went on to discuss how they are marginalized, so I'm not sure what their status really is.

  • 169. Dieter M.  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:45 am

    many indian tribes actually revered their gay members. They referred to them as "two spirits"
    they were held in high regard under the thought they posessed both male and female characteristics..I.e
    masculine /feminine traits.
    it was NOT until CHristianity took over that they abandoned those beliefs. Christians told the indians they were bad…and thus began the history of anti gay abuse.
    look up two spirits..fascinating storys.

  • 170. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:18 am


  • 171. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:00 am

    Hijra are genetic men who've been castrated and are considered a third sex in East (not American) Indian society.

    Hijras are believed to have been touched spiritually by the myriad gods and goddesses in Hindu society, and attend births to bless the newborn, then ask for donations.

    Sometimes they're prostitutes, and some in "polite" Indian society consider them beggars.

  • 172. Rebecca  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:53 am

    This has been really difficult for me to read. My Mom threw me out of the house when I was 18 for being a Dyke.

    I too dealt with the depression and unemployment and education difficulties because of my hateful Mom.

    I haven't seen nor spoken to her since 1986.

    This is difficult testimony this morning. {{{sigh}}}

  • 173. Alice  |  January 20, 2010 at 3:56 am

    I'm so sorry. I can't imagine how that must have been.

  • 174. RCR  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Rebecca – Sorry your mom rejected you, it should have not been that way. Your story has similarly happened to thousands of GLBT teens, it's sad. I hope that you now live in peace.

  • 175. Liz  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:03 am

    I think I'm loving the commentary here as much if not more than reading the actual trial itself. This is really fun. 🙂

    Thanks to all those who are participating!

  • 176. Alec  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:03 am

    My mom said the same thing less than a year ago when I came out… She rather have a down syndrome child than a gay one. Many many hurtful words were said to me… I feel the same way as this guy.

  • 177. D Ray  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:13 am

    Right there with you Alex. Parents eventually will see the light I came out at 22 3 years ago and at least now they can hug me again.

  • 178. Alec  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Thanks D Ray. I waited to tell my parents when I was financially stable so they wouldn't have any 'control' over me. I went to a college away from home so it was easy to hide. I came out last year when I was 25. Should have done it way sooner. But growing up in small town SC, it wasn't/isn't easy.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  • 179. RCR  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Alec – I grew up in TN and sis it similar to your method. Get away and be able to be financially secure from the parents, then they have no real control over your wellbeing execpt for their hateful words (most likey a result of religious based bigotry). At the end of the day, G_d is the one who makes the decsions, not these crazed religious people who we have to now live with, they do not speak for G_d at all.

  • 180. RCR  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

    sis = did
    (sorry for wrond word, "s" key is right next to "d" key)

  • 181. Brian  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:04 am

    That testimony made me tear up at work… thinking about how horrible it would be to have your own parents telling you what a failure you were, and that you were an abomination in their eyes and in the eyes of God.

    After that testimony, I feel like we should be debating whether or not to let religious zealots and fanatics have children! At least us gays and lesbians love and support our children, even when they are different.

  • 182. Brian  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:05 am

    In point of fact, that wasn't a serious recommendation.. just venting out some emotion.

    I can't imagine growing up in a house that hates you. My parents aren't happy that I'm gay, and spend their time in denial.. but at least that didn't happen till after I moved out.

  • 183. Craig  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:05 am

    On choice: I grew up highly religious (Mormon) and I made a conscious choice every day for over three decades to be straight; I did everything church leaders told me to. I saw a reparative therapist, attended Evergreen (the Mormon equivalent of the Catholic group "Exodus"); I got married, had kids, lived in secret denial. And my life was a literal hell. Finally, after a divorce, I realized: no matter how determined I was to be straight, I would never be able to turn into someone else. I am who I am, and realizing that — NOT because of a desire to be gay but DESPITE an intense desire to be straight — was a huge turning point for me. Accepting my innate and immutable homosexuality replaced the deepest despair in my daily life with hope and peace. The "sin" is not in being gay; the sin is being forced to potray your whole life as if you were someone else.

  • 184. Elizabeth  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Evergreen! I lived in Orem and did a "behavior modification" group to become properly feminine and change my orientation. It kind of massively failed. I stayed with it from 14-16, and three days after quitting left home. My mother still thinks my orientation is to spite her, and I'm not allowed to tell my 4 younger siblings, after 10 years of knowing who I am.

  • 185. Happy  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:06 am

    After reading this, and some serious thought, I think ANYONE who goes to conversion therapy feels forced to do it in some way.

    Whether parents drag us there kicking and screaming (and we stay to make the parents happy), or whether society/home/church convinces gays that we are so ugly and abhorrant that we would be insane not to want to change (and we stay to try to stuff down every last homosexual tendency we possess in an effort to be what the world we live in calls "normal" or "acceptable"), both scenarios employ force. It's just a question of direct force vs. indirect .

  • 186. Callie  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Like some of you, Ryan's testimony is very painful to read. I didn't come out until I was 25 so thankfully, I could get away from my family before they could put me in a conversion camp, but I think they wanted to and had intentions to because they tried to convince me to see an out-of-state Christian counselor. I probably would have never come back.

    I wish I could get up there and testify. Like Rebecca, I haven't spoken to my mom in about 7 years, and she doesn't even have a street address for where I live. I'm that frightened of what she could do. I didn't even tell her in a letter or anything that my partner had a child until AFTER the child was born because I was afraid she'd try to take our kid away.

    She did the same thing Ryan experienced with the notes and the name calling. She told me she'd have preferred for me to be a murderer than be a lesbian, and she prayed to God one night that she was ashamed of me.

    Nobody knows the pain we really go through. There's nothing as hurtful and damaging as a parent's rejection. We could almost deal with society, but when our family lets us down, that's the worse. My mom even told me that I "get what I deserve" from society. She had no sympathy for what I'd face.

  • 187. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:16 am

    yes, family can be very negative…

    my wife's family was world's more "ok" when she spent 3 years homeless on the streets, strung out and addicted, but still trying to "be what everyone wanted her to" then they were when she came out and stated she was in love with a woman.

    she literally lost EVERYTHING she had known for about a year, save two friends and a sister, and she grew up in this same town and in the same few churches and schools all her life.

  • 188. Callie  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Oh, I know how that is, April. I was small town too. Everyone knows me and my family. I even taught at the same high school where I attended. The principal I taught under was the assistant principal when I attended. So he had known me for years. Yet, he helped a parent that attended his Catholic church get me fired for being gay. The irony, my lawyer asked me if I actually said "I'm gay" in front of the students or ever came out to anyone. I said "no" and I got "Hmmm, that's too bad. You may have stood a chance then." So, pretty much everyone turned on me too. The girlfriend I was with at the time even believed the "we're going to burn in hell" concept and thought I was sick and twisted for being open. The things that are said and done to us are just terribly f'ed up, but most people have no idea that this goes on.

  • 189. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:34 am

    what hurts the most, i think, is them saying all those things and saying it is only because they "love" us so very much and are forced to do it based on their faith beliefs,

  • 190. James  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:11 am

    I wish Kendall would've answered the question "You did not have a goal of changing your sexual orientation, oh let me change that, to change your sexual attraction? " by saying he had not, and did Cooper think he could change his attraction if he were put into conversion therapy to become gay.

    None the less, everything to date has been very favorable for the right side of history (I think)!

  • 191. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:11 am

    What I would love a serious answer from the "it's a choice to be gay" camp is…


    hmmm lets see…. bigatry, loss of family, loss of job, lack of respect, no rights, second class, hatred of God's people (???), this list could go on and on and on….

    if sexuality is a choice, why can't I just live happily ever after STRAIGHT!

  • 192. Happy  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Well April, some really do choose to be gay – or, rather, to engage in homosexual relationships. For instance, Bi people can choose either/or. I think it depends on what the person wants/values, and what he/she is willing to go through to have it. Or, how much he/she really loves the person to whom he/she attracted. How committed to that person is he/she?

    But, even as a choice, there has to be an orientation, attraction, lean, propensity, predilection, whatever people want to call it. Without it, the obvious "choice" is to be hetero.

    Regardless, the reason for homosexuality is really inconsequential. And we should not be made to prove that we are "normal" to have the right to be married. Obviously homosexuals are as prevalent as any other subset of humanity – i.e. blue eyed vs brown eyed people, blondes vs brunettes, etc. (by subset I simply mean portion of, NOT less important or less valuable part of).

    The real question – the issue at stake here – is, "Why can't two not-closely-related people who are committed to one another get married?" "Why does marriage have to be defined as man/woman?" It doesn't, shouldn't be, and soon, hopefully, no longer will be, because there is no argument for denying marriage to homosexuals that's not based upon religious beliefs (not facts, but beliefs – not binding for purposes of law making), tradition (which changes throughout time), or plain old hatred/fear/intolerance based on misinformation, misunderstanding and/or ignorance (again, laws can not be made where hatred/intolerance is the impetus).

  • 193. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Well, in this case I think it's helpful to distinguish between preference/behavior, a little bit like the bigots do. Bisexuals can choose to engage or not engage in homosexual behavior, just like anyone else. It's just that for gays, that is a mentally devastating choice to make, whereas for many bisexuals it might not be that big of a deal (or it might — depends on the person).

    It's a point worth addressing, I think, because it might help people who use the preference/behavior distinction to justify bigoted legislation understand why that doesn't work. In the case of someone who's truly bisexual, okay, maybe they could forgo having sex with one gender or the other and not have it be mentally destructive. But for someone who is truly homosexual, that would be just as devastating as if you asked a heterosexual person to forgo any sexual relationships with the opposite sex. (And we all know the result of that…)

  • 194. Josh  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Dear God, Ryan's testimony is just heart-breaking. I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have my mother say those things to me. I can't even imagine.

  • 195. Ozymandias  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:35 am

    "Kelly told me he was going to a gay bar that night that he was just pretending for his family and therapy."

    I believe that Kelly was sincere in just going through the motions just to keep his abusers at bay, but there's another angle. A strong part of this therapy requires a homosexual to publicly (and repeatedly) renounce their homosexuality, and this is 'supported' by scripture. Seriously. Mark 11:22-24 and Romans 4:17 are key scriptures to the idea of 'speaking' something into existence, even if it does not exist yet.

    In my experience, I was told repeatedly that I had to 'renounce' my same-sex feelings any time I experienced them. Going further, they attempted to coach me into making a 'public declaration' of my deliverance (even though I in no way felt delivered) so that God would honor my faith and 'flip that switch' from Gay to straight. Obviously that was not a step I was ready to make, but there was a LOT of pressure on me to make that declaration – not that I was Gay, but that I was DELIVERED of being Gay.

  • 196. DM  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:38 am

    I think this line of questions is a bit dangerous. Prop8 can surely find some ex-gays to testify that gays can change. The point is, SHOULD WE EVEN BE FORCED TO CHANGE? Even if it is possible for 1 or 2 out of 100 to do so, or to look like they've changed, is that something the gov't is willing/obliged to turn into a policy?? wtf! because some religions think it's wrong?? when the entire mental health, sociology and foster care apparatuses say being gay harms no one??

  • 197. Ozymandias  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:49 am

    DM, I'm willing to bet the Olsen/Boise team have already made contingencies for that. However, a very simple approach has worked amazingly well in interviews with 'ex-gays' that I've watched:

    Ex-Gay: Yes, I am delivered. I am no longer Gay.
    Interviewer: So then you NEVER experience same-sex attraction? You're ONLY attracted to members of the opposite sex?
    Ex-Gay: …

    Heck, they could even use Alan Chambers' own words – he admitted that he still experiences same-sex attraction, even after extensive therapy and 12 years of marriage.

  • 198. April  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:40 am

    They moved updates to new thread! How'd I miss that!!! 🙂 Conversations too good here….. 🙂

  • 199. Alyssa  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Ok so that testimony made me tear up. It brought back all the pain and hurt that my mother has put me through. She says she loves me but a person who loves you wouldn't put you through so much heartache.

    You know what it's like to hear your mother tell you are going to hell?

    To hear from your grandmother that she was comparing you being gay to the death of your sister?

    I am alive and breathing right now but I guess in my mom's eyes I am dead.

    And it hurts so much. *sighs*

  • 200. rhythmia  |  January 20, 2010 at 10:46 am

    *hugs* Remember, there's the family that you're born into, and the family that you choose. It doesn't invalidate or necessarily cancel out the pain you feel, but you can build another family of people who care about you the way that you are, and WHO you are.


  • 201. Jack Blackmon  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:15 am

    @DM & Ozymandias

    I think what the prosecution is trying to do is highlight one of the many pieces of evidence suggesting that religious views are what have fueled prop 8 and other forms of legislation like it.

    The religious right support prop 8 because of their religious convictions. We need to show that prop 8 is not only based in discrimination, but that it is a clear violation between the separation of Church and State.

    That's what I think anyway.

  • 202. Bill  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:40 am

    My family story is pretty much identical to that of this witness.

    My family found out I was gay when I was 17. I was promptly shown the front door and instructed never to return.

    I have not heard from my mother, father, brother or 2 sisters since.

    That was 23 years ago. Not a peep. Not a birthday or Christmas card. Nothing.

    God sure IS love, ain't he?

  • 203. James  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Sorry if this sounds stoopid, but isn't it actually possible to definitively test or measure the "attraction" of people who claim they've had successful "conversion" therapy?

    They may claim to have been "cured", but I'd be willing to be that if you show them the right images or whatnot, certain tell-tale signs would emerge?

  • 204. James  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:06 am

    ^typo: "…willing to BET…"

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