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Tag: Jeff Zarrillo

American Foundation for Equal Rights rounds up the first week of the Prop 8 trial

By Eden James

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organization that assembled the legal team challenging Prop 8 in court, has released a summary of the first week of the trial.

If you’ve only been able to catch bits and pieces of the proceedings, this should help you get caught up relatively quickly before the trial begins again on Tuesday morning.

Check it out:


Ten witnesses, including Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo and five eminent experts, clearly and convincingly demonstrated critical points in the federal trial on the unconstitutionality of Prop. 8 during its opening week:

• Marriage is vitally important in American society;

• By denying gay men and lesbians the right to marry, Proposition 8 causes grievous harm to the plaintiffs and other gay men and lesbians throughout California, and adds yet another chapter to the long history of discrimination they have suffered;

• Proposition 8 perpetrates irreparable, immeasurable and discriminatory harm for no good reason.


The court also viewed video footage from the deposition of William Tam. Tam is one of the five Official Proponents of Prop. 8, and as such was personally responsible for putting it on the ballot and for intervening in this case to take over the defense of the initiative.

The video footage of his deposition included statements from Tam such as this one, from a pro-Prop. 8 email he wrote: “They lose no time in pushing the gay agenda — after legalizing same-sex marriage, they want to legalize prostitution. What will be next? On their agenda list is: legalize having sex with children.” (more…)

33 Comments January 17, 2010

Live Updates from the Courtroom II

By Rick Jacobs

Starting thread two, since the first one was starting to get a bit long.

[UPDATE 10:44] Cooper’s only argument seems to be that the evidence will show that if gay marriage is legal, it will lead to higher divorce rates and lower rates of marriage. Blackenhorn will somehow demonstrate that.

Our point is that the plaintiffs cannot prove that the damage will not occur. Same sex marriage is too novel to prove that it won’t harm.

Judge: Any evidence that his happened in other countries?

Cooper: there is evidence; we believe it will show.

They are now saying that we have to prove that gay marriage will NOT harm opposite sex marriage. By that logic, no change is allowed, progress is rejected, until we can prove that the change represents “no threat.”

But it’s impossible to see how this can work except for the fact that three states had judges rule that same sex marriage is legal. In other words, if we didn’t have same sex marriage, we could not prove that same sex marriage will hurt us. Huh? They oppose it everywhere but they now say we should keep it as an experiment? So they should support same sex marriage in the five states! Let’s hold them to that!

[UPDATE] 10:53 Cooper’s case seems to rely nearly 100% on the testimony of Mr. Blankenhorn. I hope for their sake that this guy is the Albert Einstein of right wing social science. If not, they have nothing. Every time the judge asks how they are going to prove their case, Cooper says, “Mr. Blankenhorn will show you.” I can’t wait for that!

The other leg of the case is that “you will hear nothing but predictions” about what same sex marriage will bring because there is not enough history of same sex marriages. So here’s the deal: if we make a change in the definition of marriage without enough history then we will make a mistake.

At end, this really is about progress vs. conservatism. Cooper says essentially if you can’t prove there won’t be harm, you can’t make the change. That means do nothing.

And now Cooper says that only the people of California and the neighboring states and my home state can decide what the constitution demands. Not you, not the ninth circuit, not the supreme court can decide.

Judge Walker: But many times do judges take issues out of the hands of the body politic; why is this different?

Cooper: Because marriage is not covered by the Equal Protection clause. In Loving, we saw that the fourteenth amendment was specifically to deal with race, not this.

[UPDATE] 11:11 We are on a quick break. My laptop is juicing up and I’ll likely be relying on sending updates in from my BlackBerry. (more…)

59 Comments January 11, 2010