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Tag: Ted Olson

Live Updates from the Court IV: Afternoon Session Begins

By Rick Jacobs

Paul Katami (one of the plaintiffs) is being cross examined now. The other side is asking if a first and second grader should be taught about sex. He wants to know whether children that young can make judgments about sex education that age.

Paul is saying that he does not know the curriculum of the school system and he is not willing to say what he thinks should or should not be taught. He said that if his child were taught something in school to which he as a parent objected, it would be incumbent upon him to working with his child.

So here we go. They are going to scream that we are going to turn children into homosexuals.

[UPDATE] 2:04Lawyer: Did you feel that ads about kids requiring protection were misleading?

PK: Yes.

Now we’re looking at the ballot guide again. “We should not accept a court decision that may result in public teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay. That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It shouldn’t be forced on us against our will.”

PK says this is missing the point. What angers me is the way it was presented. It was a diversion away from the fact that I have an inalienable right to marry the man I love.

Counsel says but you object to the ads even though they are saying that they are protecting kids from being taught about gay marriage. He’s making the point that the ads did not say that gay couples are bad.

The answer from PK is that it insinuates that gay people are bad and need to be protected. (PK Is doing a good job with a sharp lawyer.) PK says the minute they turn their beliefs into an action that sanctions my rights, that’s a problem.

“The fact is that the ad that we played that has been admitted to evidence specifically says that kids were taught about gay marriage in Massachusetts.” (more…)

70 Comments January 11, 2010

Ted Olson’s Opening Statement

By Julia Rosen

The Equal Right’s Foundation just released Ted Olson’s opening statement as prepared for delivery.

Here is the first part, click on over to their site for the full statement:

This case is about marriage and equality. Plaintiffs are being denied both the right to marry, and the right to equality under the law.

The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly described the right to marriage as “one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men;” a “basic civil right;” a component of the constitutional rights to liberty, privacy, association, and intimate choice; an expression of emotional support and public commitment; the exercise of spiritual unity; and a fulfillment of one’s self.

In short, in the words of the highest court in the land, marriage is “the most important relation in life,” and “of fundamental importance for all individuals.”

As the witnesses in this case will elaborate, marriage is central to life in America. It promotes mental, physical and emotional health and the economic strength and stability of those who enter into a marital union. It is the building block of family, neighborhood and community. The California Supreme Court has declared that the right to marry is of “central importance to an individual’s opportunity to live a happy, meaningful, and satisfying life as a full member of society.”

Proposition 8 ended the dream of marriage, the most important relation in life, for the plaintiffs and hundreds of thousands of Californians.

7 Comments January 11, 2010

Live Updates from the Court III: Prop. 8 Ads in Court

By Rick Jacobs

After a big back and forth, the Ron Prentice ad that says that if California loses on Prop. 8, family will be destroyed, we’ll go off the rails. It has a nice looking black guy talking about the bible and about not being afraid. Stand up for Jesus Christ. He stood up for you in a public forum; now you stand up for him. (I had not seen this. It’s a longish video that shows the forces of God fighting the judges. It has the scary music.)

Boies: How did you feel, especially seeing that last line?

Objection by the other side because it’s not been produced by Protect Marriage dot com. So now they are upset that our side is showing what the other side really wanted to do. They only want to show these ads when no one can talk about them publicly.

[UPDATE] 12:15 When you saw that ad, stand up for righteousness, vote Yes on 8, how did it make you feel?

It made me feel bad. That image of an oncoming freight train that will kill you that makes me feel that I am part of a community that will kill people? I want to marry Jeff. I’m not going to start a movement that will harm people or children. How can they categorize me as the devil? Those lines between right and wrong are talking about things that are bad in nature, that harm people in a society. I just want to get married. I love someone. I want to get married. It demeans you. People are putting effort into demeaning you.

(Again, this stuff literally makes me feel ill.)

[UPDATE] 12:21 So now there is a back and forth about whether to use NOM’s “Gathering Storm.” The other side thinks it’s not relevant because it was produced after the campaign. Boies says it’s worse than what happened in the campaign, because there’s no campaign on going.

The judge asked if it is tied to those in the room. Boies said that it is because NOM funded 8 and is sufficiently related to the campaign broadly defined. Even if it were done by someone with no connection to the campaign, the court needs to see this to determine whether this is a class of people subject to continuing discrimination.

Other side:

1. Not produced by Protect Marriage.

2. After campaign.

3. Not about Prop. 8.

Any harm that could have flowed from this particular video could not have come from Prop. 8.

Judge said no. Not connected to the parties that sued. There’s another way to show that homosexuals are discriminated against.

[UPDATE] 12:31 Okay, so the judge said they can’t show Gathering Storm. It was that pseudo scary ad that we all did responses to. OOOOH, the gays are gonna get you!

Boies now wants to admit the ballot guide for Prop. 8. (For a minute I though the other side was going to object to this even though it’s a public document!).

Now we’re looking at the sentence that says voting Yes on Prop. 8 restores the definition of marriage that’s was approved by over 61% of the voters. Voting YES overturns the decision of four activist judges. Voting YES protects our children.

Plaintiff: Jeff and I are informed voters. We do the reading. We discuss it all. This punch line again of protecting children is absolutely clear. From what are you protecting children? From harm. But what is the harm? That language is indicative of some kind of perpetration against a child. Separates me from the norm. Makes me part of a community that is perpetrating a threat. That’s why we are here (in court).

(Again, at age 51, I can still feel these barbs that have made my life so odd.)

We hear a lot about the fact that you get the same rights; what’s the big deal? The big deal is that it’s a separate category, maybe a fourth class citizen now that we recognize marriages from other states. We still have discrimination. Puts a Twinkie at the end of a treadmill. Here’s a bite. Then another bite. You want that whole Twinkie (I don’t love this analogy).

None of our friends has ever said, “hey this is my domestic partner.” It’s not even the rights as much as it is the full access to the laws of the state. If you are separate, it fortifies prejudice. It’s rooted in something fundamentally wrong. All I want is to be married. That affects only my husband and family and concentric circles. If it it bolsters us publicly, good. So long as we are outside due to laws, it’s us and them. My state is supposed to protect me; it’s not supposed to discriminate against me.

Everyone is now taking lunch and will resume thereafter, at 1:30PM.

[UPDATE] 12:47 It’s hard to think while this goes on. I’ve never before been on trial, but today every gay or lesgbian person in the country is on trial. The testimony brings up all of that “stuff” that I keep pretending I’ve left behind. I grew up near Knoxville knowing I was gay, but never wanting to be. I dated girls, just like Jeff did. I hid from myself. I became an Orthodox Jew in LA and almost got married because I did not want to be gay. When Boies asked Jeff if he’d be in a more loving, stable relationship if he married a woman, it was not a throw-away. That’s what the NOM folks want you to believe. They want you to believe that if Jeff or me or so many others of us who were born homosexual would just marry a woman, the world would be a better place.

But nothing is further from the truth. How many marriages have broken up because one partner or other was not in love and finally had to leave to be true to his or her nature? How many times in history has a person committed suicide, drunk himself to death or even abused a spouse because he or she was in a marriage that was not real? Society is weakened by these false constructs.

One last point: the defendants had better spend time in the five states in which same sex marriage is now legal. Mr. Cooper, the defandant’s lawyer, said we need more time to see if same-sex marriage will do harm. That means he must support it in those states. His position is regressive and without sense, but if he really believes what he said, get he to New Hampshire and Iowa to preserve same sex marriage!

NOTE: I’ve moved over to a 4th thread for the afternoon session. Follow the updates here and keep the great comments coming!

65 Comments January 11, 2010

Live Updates from the Courtroom

By Rick Jacobs

It wasn’t our intention to liveblog this trial, but the unexpected ruling by Kennedy has shut off access to today’s proceedings for other bloggers. I happen to be in the overflow room and will be providing updates as best I can. This has been fascinating thus far.

[UPDATE] 9:30 The Prop. 8 side still wants to preserve objection that any evidence be put up that shows intent of those who fought to pass prop. 8 including the ads. The anti-marriage folks are continuing their theme: we want to control the media. We don’t want the public to have the info to make up their own minds.

[UPDATE] 9:46 The judge is probing extensively whether or not the problem would be solved if the state of California “got out of the marriage business.” He and Olson had a colloquy about whether domestic partnership for all would solve the problem. Olson had to have a note handed to him from his team to say that only opposite-sex couples over 62 can have domestic partnership. Judge Walker is very interested in seeing what change has occurred that should force the federal judiciary to enter the issue. He wants to know what evidence will show that makes the matter worthy of judgment. The judge is very, very smart. This is really, really fascinating. Olson is doing a great job in answering him. “What’s the evidence going to show that Prop. 8” intended to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Olson: no question that Prop. 8 intended to discriminate. We’ll put on evidence from the plaintiffs and others that show how they felt about the campaign, the sentiments that may have been used to motivate the voters. (more…)

23 Comments January 11, 2010

The Trial Begins

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By Rick Jacobs

After two and a half hours in a cold, crisp San Francisco dawn at which a few hundred dauntless supporters of full marriage equality stood together to rally for justice, I am in the overflow video room at the Burton Federal Court House here in San Francisco for the civil rights trial of our generation. The room is cavernous and imposing, called “the ceremonial room” for the District Court. Two screens are set up in front the audience pews that would typically be reserved for observers of a trial. The screen on the left is active, with three video boxes showing the judge’s chair, the courtroom and the witness chair. According to the very kind ushers here, the judge will turn on the audio when he is ready. The screen on the left is for presentation of evidence. It’s dark right now, but again will be activated by the judge when appropriate.

We’re all very disappointed that Justice Kennedy has decided to refer the question of televising the case via YouTube until at least Wednesday, when the entire Supreme Court will rule on that question. 140,000 members of the Courage Campaign and Credo Mobile signed a petition during the public comment period established by Judge Walker. We delivered those signatures on Friday and all thought that this case would be open to the public.

For decades, the right wing has used the tools of fear in the form of thirty and sixty second television ads to sew discord and to pit Americans against each other in the pursuit of the basic right of consecrating love. Maggie Gallagher and the forces of NOM seek media attention when they can control it because they know that the truth destroys their arguments. They know that James Madison and the other framers of the US Constitution never imagined that Americans would vote on each other’s rights. And they know that, whether or not the trial is televised, this is the first time that a full, considered public airing of the philosophical and legal reasons that loving couples should marry.

Ted Olson wrote a brilliant op-ed in Newsweek that lays bare the right wing’s fallacious attacks on equality. It’s here.

[UPDATE]: Judge Walker just stated that he received 138,542 comments in favor of airing the trial and 32 opposed. Those were all of our members and CREDO’s. He commented on them being overwhelmingly in favor of rule change and dissemination of information via Internet.

7 Comments January 11, 2010

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