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Greatest hits from the trial

Trial analysis

By Julia Rosen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contrast that to our experts.

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

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

Or this:

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

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

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

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

From Dr. Gregory Herek:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 1. Larry Kenneth Little  |  January 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

    All these statements serve to prove that PROPOSITION HATE illegally discriminates and violates the 14th admendment.

  • 2. Mary Ellen  |  January 30, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Hard to choose the best one. They are all terrific. I again am going to save this post out and use these quotes. And send to our own legislators here in NM. Right now there is a 30 day session on of our legislature and one of the bills being considered is for domestic partnership. It looses every year.
    This year the EQNM and ACLU lobbiest dropped a 800+ pg bill because the catholic church said they would be neutral on a bill that rewrite every peice of NM law where it said marriage they had to insert DP to show it wasnt the same thing. So of course this was all done at the churches request, and then they said they would not support it because it is too long.
    frustrating and laughable if it wasnt true. and this is only for DP rights.
    Thank you for the work you are doing. The fight is going on in some fashion in every state in the country.

  • 3. Tony Douglass in Ca  |  January 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    That's precisely what this site and its supporters need to do now that the trial is over. All the testimony and evidence needs to be brought together and used to inform other states of what hate campaigns are capable of, expose the lies being told before the elections. Maybe even bring constitutional scrutiny onto initiatives before they can even be voted on.

  • 4. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    We need to get loud!

  • 5. Richard  |  January 31, 2010 at 11:40 am

    And that is also why all of us outside the state of California need to go to and go to the link to start an Equality Team in their area. I have been allowed to form one here in Cumberland County, North Carolina, and will definitely be using this team to get the word out in my area to let people see what the truth is, and the lies that are being told. This is how we join together, not only those of us who are LGBTQQI, but also our straight allies. Let's do this, folks! Let's get Equality Teams all over the US and let the light shine everywhere!

  • 6. Mary Ellen  |  February 2, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    update on NM domestic partnership legislation. Yesterday was the first hearing in committee. The Two committees having to pass the bill prior to going to afloor vote were the public affairs (PA) committee and the judiciary committee. We heard great testimony. Senator Peter Wirth introduced the 800 page bill. Testamonials went as one would expect. The two committees broke up and the PA committee was to discuss and vote on passage first. This is where it got effed up.
    A democratic senator started expressing concern over the costs to the state this new law would cost. The leg council had already attached an estimate of 50K to the state instituting the bill. Now all bill's cost something to instill. Everyother bill has a estimate with it that the legislators agree with their estimate for our bill they all of a sudden found the 50k figure non beleivable. So this was batted around for some minutes. The final decision was to approve the bill but recommend the bill go to a third committee the finance committe which is very conservative.
    This maneuver by a democrat at the voting time of this bill…dealt it a death blow.
    Gays helped this man get elected too that pulled this maneuver.
    I am so pissed. at the whole path. from the EQNM allowing the church to dictate a 800 pg bill for my rights, to the lack of leadership in the legislative body, to the Senator Tim Eichenberg who dealt the death blow.

  • 7. Mary Ellen  |  February 3, 2010 at 2:34 am

    to read more of the fight in NM right now go to:

  • 8. Richard W. Fitch  |  January 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

    “You have a pretty strong echo of this idea that simple exposure to gay people and their relationships is somehow going to lead a whole generation of young kids to become gay,” Dr. Chauncey testified.

    Certainly there will be an increased awareness and tendency of youth to test out the aspects of being LGBT, but I cannot conceive of a drastic increase of those identifying as LGBT any more than there was a rush for inter-racial marriage after Loving v Virginia.

  • 9. V Abi Abad  |  January 30, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Point of fact is that all of these expert witnesses who testified on behalf of the GLBT Community and s/s marriage helped our case against the misinformation of Prop 8. The lies and ignorance perpetrated by the supporters of Prop 8 have been absurdly laughable. The looming question here is whether these knowledgeable witnesses helped educate the Prop 8 supporters? Whether married or not, we Gay people of America have from early life, known our imposed place in society. As we grew up, the preponderance of discrimination against us as Gay people has worsened and driven home the reality to all of us of our unequal status in society. Of course we desire equality….who would not?

  • 10. Joe  |  January 31, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Myopic is the best word for it. They only looked at things in their favor, and clearly ignored anything to the contrary (much the way Ms. Gallager at NOM deletes any posts on her site that goes contrary to her views). It creates a myopia that is not reflective of reality.

    Shining on light on how things really are and their arguments fall apart very easily.

  • 11. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    This was just posted on….The church did the exact same thing here:

    In the Catholic church, a political divide between leaders and the flock
    By Jeff Diamant/The Star-Ledger
    January 30, 2010, 11:00PM
    With their high-priority issues prominent on national agendas, members of the clergy have been unusually active in politics. Catholic bishops in New Jersey and elsewhere have been especially vocal on matters such as same-sex marriage, national health care and illegal immigration.
    Yet polls show that when Catholic bishops press their positions with politicians on such issues, they often do so without the support of large segments of the lay people in their dioceses.
    Regarding same-sex marriage — which the bishops oppose and which the New Jersey Legislature rejected this month after intense debate — American Catholics are divided, polls have shown. On health care reform, a majority appear to disagree with the bishops’ position that no health care bill is acceptable if federal money can be used to pay for abortions. On immigration reform, a third disagree with bishops’ call to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, according to a Zogby poll released last month.
    Critics of religious influence on politics point to the disparities and argue that religious leaders are speaking for themselves and for their faith’s official teachings, not for the citizens in their pews.
    "When bishops go to Capitol Hill, who do they represent?" asked Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, a group of liberal Catholics who favor abortion rights in opposition to church teaching. "Very often, I feel there is a presumption that the bishops speak on behalf of Catholics even though poll after poll in the U.S. shows that’s not true."
    Bill Donohue, director of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said disparities between leaders’ pronouncements and members’ sentiments exist in most organizations, religious and nonreligious alike.
    And, he said, Catholic bishops often have motives other than representing their flocks when lobbying. For one thing, bishops view themselves as teachers, Donohue said. And when it comes to health care, they do not want Catholic hospitals to be pressured to provide abortions — forbidden by Catholic teaching — to obtain federal reimbursements.
    "A lot of this has to do with a fear that the government is going to encroach on the authority and autonomy of the bishops," said Donohue, a frequent defender of bishops against liberal critics. "It has to do with the fear that this government…will force them, as a condition of getting federal money, to violate their doctrinal prerogatives."
    Catholic bishops aren’t the only religious leaders lobbying without widespread agreement from their flocks. Clergy of almost every stripe have lobbied for universal health care even as large swaths of the public worry about the cost, size and impact of proposed reforms. And Bishop George Counsell of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey testified before New Jersey legislators in favor of same-sex marriage even though, he acknowledged in an interview, a sizable minority of his lay people oppose it.
    Still, as leaders of the nation’s largest denomination, and with relationships on both sides of the political aisle, Catholic bishops have left the largest clerical footprint on political debates over the last year, coordinating lobbying through national and statewide conferences.
    Not every lobbying position the bishops have taken lately goes against views in their pews. Lay Catholics, like their bishops, broadly favor letting illegal immigrants become citizens, with some conditions.
    Though longtime proponents of universal health care, bishops in New Jersey and elsewhere lobbied to quash reform bills that they say would allow federal funds to pay for abortions.
    The nation’s Catholics, like other Americans, are divided on the bills passed by Congress, but most of their opposition stems from other factors.
    "Across the board, few Catholics cite abortion as the most important factor," said Alan Cooperman, associate director of the Pew Research Forum on Religion and Public Life. "Generally, the bishops have not opposed government efforts in the realm of the economy, and they’re not generally troubled by big government. But clearly the people in the pews are."
    In New Jersey, Catholic bishops’ efforts against same-sex marriage involved conversations with legislators, letters read from pulpits, op-ed pieces in newspapers, and a petition with 156,000 signatures, said Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, which represents New Jersey’s Catholic bishops on public policy.
    Brannigan said he believes Catholics are less divided on the issue than polls indicate. In a Pew poll released in October, 45 percent of Catholics favored same-sex marriage, 43 percent opposed it and 12 percent did not know. "I would suggest that the 31 consecutive wins (across the country) when this issue goes to the ballot…indicate that a majority of people who indicate they’re undecided in polls actually oppose this," he said.

  • 12. Richard W. Fitch  |  January 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I would suggest that the 31 consecutive wins at the polls indicates the majority of voters have no understanding of the ballot implications and are motivated by the fear tactics used by anti-marriage equality funded by powerful money groups attempting to use religious dogma as the justification for denying civil rights to a minority population.

  • 13. Joe  |  January 31, 2010 at 3:24 am

    And the year our President was born, his parents' interracial marriage was illegal in 24 states. Was that right too?

  • 14. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm

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


    What about “GOOD GOD MAN!”?

  • 15. Kendall  |  January 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Totally agree–"Good God, Man!" is like the bonus-round, cult-fave, top-10 moment of the trial.

    –Boy who loves Boies (I should make that my 'name' here 😉

  • 16. GAYGUY  |  January 31, 2010 at 1:58 am

    I would think that this would be an easy ruling for Judge Walker….just read the things outlined at this site…it really says it all and in Reader's Digest form! Why go thru montains of paperwork from both sides especially when it was obvious that the Prop 8 people could not come up with anything that said we should not have these basic rights other than, "We just don't like it"

  • 17. Richard  |  January 31, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Yes, but what is posted on this site is not legal documentation. Judge Walker has to go by the testimony presented under oath, and the amicus briefs. He also has to examine the exhibits presented in court by both sides. This is why it is going to take Judge Walker so long to go through everything before the attorneys present closing arguments. Judge Walker also wants to formulate questions that will be relevant, intelligent, and to the point. There are a great many restrictions on what Judge Walker is allowed to consider in making his judgment on this matter, and he will abide by themm to reduce the chancs of his judgment being overturned based on a technicality. When Judge Walker gives his judgment, he will do so in a way that it will stand up and can be used as a precendent to extend it to the rest of the country.

  • 18. Joe  |  January 31, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Most importantly were the statements negating the thesis brought forth by the defense. They only made a couple minor points, by their "experts" (which by their definition, I, as someone who's "intellectually serious", am), and we refuted all of those. Their thesis was that marriage was for procreation (refuted several times by our experts) and that children were best raised in a home by their biological mother and father, again refuted by our experts, and the defense "experts" -never- compared biological parents to same sex parents.

    And if that was the goal of Prop 8, it was completely the wrong way to form it. It was not narrowly tailored that way, as infertile people or those not planning on having children can get married, as well as couples who wish to adopt non-biological children.

    They did not prove their point, any point they tried to make was refuted by our (actual) experts, and the goals they stated of Prop 8 completely had nothing to do with the way they worded it. The only reasoning for Prop 8 is animus, pure and simple.

  • 19. Richard  |  January 31, 2010 at 5:53 am

    This is absoutely Fantastic! Of course, I feel that the ones who really helped our case were Miller and Blankie! And they were supposed to be the opponents' witnesses!

  • 20. Phil L  |  January 31, 2010 at 7:17 am

    I agree completely. It speaks volumes when the defense's "experts" continuously say things that support OUR side of the case.

  • 21. Lora Higdon  |  January 31, 2010 at 11:22 am

    As far as ss marriage causing less straight people to marry….just yesterday, I was talking to my friend who was a witness at our wedding in August of 2008. She is an ex-mormon, who told me that after witnessing our same-sex wedding ceremony…she went home to her husband of 25 years with a renewed commitment to her marriage.
    I guess we really disgusted her…I figured she would want to get a divorce!! *wink* Afterall…isn't that what "they" say would happen??

  • 22. Richard  |  January 31, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    That is only because the truth scares them, Lora. They are like vampires, and only come out at night. But my grandmother always said to be careful what you do in the dark, because it will always find its way into the light of day. You, however, have proven the whole point behind why same sex marriage should be legalized. When you give someone the right to marry that has not previously had the right to marry, you increase the value of marriagfe for those who have always had that right and have taken it fo granted. Also, by legalizing same sex marriage, you do not have people entering ino sham marriage solely to be protected in the event of a life tragedy. You have people who marry for love, and who seek te right to marry so that they may protect their spouse and their children.

  • 23. Lora Higdon  |  January 31, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I think you misunderstood my point… She was so moved by our wedding that it made her want to recommit to her marriage. She was genuinely happy for us and asked if she could be the witness at our wedding. 🙂

  • 24. Richard  |  February 1, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Or I may not have made my point clear. The fact that your friend who witnessed your wedding gained a renewed commitment to HER marriage is the truth that the opponents of same sex marriage are afraid of, because they do not want to believe that expading marriage equality will work that way. However, when your friend asked to be a witness at your wedding, and then had a renewed commmitment to HER marriage, that is the rule, not th exception. There have been so many times that I have seen just that happen, where someone witnesses a same sex marriage and gain a renewed sense of commitment to their own marriage. But it is truths like this one that the Prop h8 people do not want seen. Therefore, they went crying to SCOTUS to block the trial from being televised. But that ended up not working because of the folks who got together and are preparing the re-enactments. So what the Prop h8ers did in the dark is being exposed to the light. And along with that, people will see the beauty of your story and the beauty of your friend's marriage being STRENGTHENED because of you and your wife being able to gain legal recognition for your marriage. Your wedding helped your friend to gain a new look at how precious her own marriage is, and in the process, increased the strength of her marriage. Your wedding reminded her of all the reasons she mmarried her husband, which were probably the same as the reasons you and your wife got married. And if I did not make that clear in my previous post, I apologize. I also want to take this opportunity to tell you how happy I am for you and your wife, and how happy I am for your friend and her husband. It sounds as tough the four of you are very lucky couples, and very loving to your spouses, family and friends. Congratulations, and I hope that both couples have many, many decades of happiness together, because tat is what you deserve.

  • 25. Darrell  |  January 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    just by saying on the first pre-trail day that you don't know what would hurt gays from marry and how it would harm striaght marriages helped our case…. DON"T KNOW…. powerful words:)

  • 26. Lora Higdon  |  February 1, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Thank you, Richard! You are correct in your analysis…and you conveyed it so eloquently! You hit it right the head, and brought a tear to my eye too.
    Again, I thank you.

  • 27. Richard  |  February 1, 2010 at 2:05 am

    You're welcome, Lora. And you, your wife, and the couple whose marriage was strengthened by the wife being a witness at your wedding are four of the many people I hope to meet face to face. You are among the many great people I have met because of this site and the FB group, and I look forward to the day when we can meet face to face and share not only our wedding stories, but also those domestic issues we have run into and solved along the way–you know, like the best way to get lipstick out of your carpet, or koolaid out of the carpet (I have a customer who swears by Stanley Home Products' Orange wonder liquid for that), and all those other things that prove we are the same as any other married couple.

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