Saturday, January 16, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 5: 21 Bogus Reasons Why Gender Matters

Guest blogger Davina Kotulski of DavinaKotulski.com reports on the Prop 8 trial, day 5 - the cross examination of Professor Michael Lamb continued and then redirect (see first and second post of day 5).

During the Prop 8 campaign Ron Prentice reportedly distributed a booklet to churches that included an article entitled '21 Reasons Why Gender Matters': Examines Gender Disorientation Pathology And Social Policy, and made up his own psychological terminology “Gender Disorientation Pathology,” as any first year psychology graduate student with knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-TR) would know.

Dr. Lamb obviously had never heard of it either.

Dr. Lamb refuted the 21 reasons with peer-reviewed research and literature.

At least four of the reasons were just complete make believe.

15. “Healthy gender development prevents individuals from developing compulsive obsessive disorders leading to sexual addiction and other pathologies.” (The terminology is actually obsessive compulsive disorders - ask any psych grad student).

16. “Gender disorientation pathology is a symptom of family dysfunction, personality disorder, father absence, health malfunction or sexual abuse.”

17. “Gender disorientation pathology will lead to increased levels of drug abuse and partner violence.”

21. “Gender disorientation pathology encourages the sexual and psychological exploitation of children.”

Go here if you wish to read the pseudo-psychological 21 reasons.

YES ON 8 CAMPAIGN USED BOGUS MADE UP RESEARCH AND TERMINOLOGY

Apparently, in the booklet, Prentice makes statements that “12% of children of lesbian became active lesbians themselves.”

Dr. Lamb says this is inaccurate according to extensive research on children of same-sex parents.

GAYS NOT MORE LIKELY TO ABUSE THAN HETEROSEXUALS

Prentice states - "The sad truth is that homosexual abuse of children is higher than heterosexuals. It is the right of the child to know and have a relationship with bio parent. GENDER ORIENTATION PATHOLOGY increases the risk that children will suffer sexual exploitation. It is our duty to protect them.”

Lamb refutes all of the above and states that gays are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexuals and reiterates that there is no such concept or disorder called GENDER ORIENTATION PATHOLOGY. He asserts that there is three decades of research refuting this myth and that children are most likely to get hurt by school bullies who don’t respect or accept their LGBT parents.

POST-LUNCH CROSS EXAMINATION OF LAMB-SORRY THIS IS A BIT OUT OF ORDER

Defendant Council Thompson begins focusing on research that step-fathers are more likely to abuse their step-children then biological fathers. He’s not arguing for covenant-no divorce marriage (yet), but he seems hell-bent to say that all step-fathers and anyone non-biologically related to the child is a menace to that child, to wipe out all non-biological parents from capable child-rearing.

First, it is true some step-fathers molest their children. I ran a sexual abuse survivors program for ten years when I worked as a psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There were many women who had been sexually abused by their biological parents too. Does that mean that WE should take children away from their biological fathers because of the chance, that being men, they might abuse their children?

Second, this case is about marriage. Couples who never or can’t have biological children can marry and no one is rushing to pass constitutional amendments to take away their marriage rights. Also, have you noticed, same-sex couples are already, legally raising children, but I’m not na├»ve, I know that they are hoping to use this kind of bogus logic to take away same-sex couples rights to parent and adopt. They just did in Arkansas last year.

GRANDPARENTS CAN BE IMPORTANT TO A CHILD’S PSYCHOLOGICAL ADJUSTMENT, CORRECT?

Thompson- So the grandparents’ financial contributions to children make a difference in their lives, correct? Clearly we note that the psychological well-being of parents affects their ability to parent and the quality of relationship with their children.

Holy Research Twisting Batman!

Thompson is now taking the fact that some straight parents of LGBT people reject their children and so are not involved in their grandchildren’s lives and that this hurts these kids—the implication that kids would be better off with straight parents because their parents don’t reject them.

Okay my friend’s Ashle and Kinna have two wonderful daughters and the grandparents are extremely involved in their grandbabies’ lives. My friend, Maurie, a straight mom of a lesbian daughter and proud grandmother of two, is extremely active in her grandchildren’s lives and is more than happy to show you the beautiful picture of her grandchildren as ring bearer and flower girl at their mothers’ long-awaited legal marriage before Prop 8 passed.

Should they be denied their constitutional rights because some straight parents/grandparents are stifled in the current ability to accept their LGBT children? Should straight people who have difficulties with their parents and have been disowned for various reasons or chosen themselves to cut off communication lose their right to a marriage license? Again I think the answers are obvious here. And similar arguments were used to keep interracial couples from marrying.

GAYS SUFFER FROM MINORITY DISTRESS

While the psychological research shows that LGBT people experience minority distress due to homophobia and discrimination, Thompson decides to take the implication to an illogical conclusion.

He is also making the point that because LGBT people suffer minority distress, which leads to anxiety and depression, and because depression and anxiety affects parenting, LGBT parents do not make good parents. Wow!

I wonder what he says about People of Color who also experience minority distress due to racism and discrimination. I’m sure somewhere in there these folks may be advocating for fewer babies of color, remember they are very concerned with population growth, and believe that gay marriage will lead to the population dying out.

When I debated Maggie Gallagher at Brown University in 2006, she spoke with concern about the reduction of children being born in Western Europe. I could be wrong, but it sure seemed like she was suggesting that not enough white babies were being born, cause as far as I can tell, there’s no overall global shortage of babies being born.

IS IT ALMOST OVER YET

Thompson-“Dr. Lamb likes to talk about these rich, deep studies, but you don’t have any knowledge if these studies had control groups with biological, married parents which is the core of our case.”

Judge Walker interceded and says to Counsel Thompson. “We’re trying a case - is there a way to shorten your questions.”

I agree. My brain and body are starting to check out. I tend to dissociate a bit when Thompson steps up for cross-examination. He is quite annoying and his disdain for educated people, reality, facts, and gay people make me feel like I’ve been watching FOX news for hours. I can only take this stuff in doses, that’s why I watch the Daily Show with John Stuart - at least there are funny jokes in between his reports of the assault on logic, truth, and human decency.

Did I mention that there was a huge group of Stanford Law Students here today?

REDIRET

Discussing Michael Rosenfeld study based on U.S. Census.

Lamb - It is the only study we have, a rare study, which compares all the children in the country in the environments that they are reared, couple thousand children raised by lesbians, with couples thousand children raised by gay male couples, compared to children raised by heterosexual couples.

Matthew D. McGill Plaintiffs’ Attorney - In your experience is a sample based on U.S. census adequate to be reliable?

Lamb-Yes.

McGill-Why does it make sense to maintain a control group of heterosexual couples raising children?

Lamb-Seems most appropriate control group.

McGill-Why?

Lamb-Because you have unmarried couples in all of those groups. Children adopted into two parent family and children in bio family.

The point is to answer Thompson’s early assertion that none of the research used only heterosexual married couple with biological children. If they had, it would not have been an accurate group to compare with gay parents who are not legally married and some children, their children, are biological, others are adopted, and some are from IVF and other forms of alternative insemination. The researchers chose to be in the real world, acknowledging the diversity and variation of families, rather than embracing only one family type.

And speaking of typing, my wife wants to know - Are you done yet?

Yes dear, for tonight.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 5: Cross Examination of Professor Lamb - Let the Badgering Begin

Guest blogger Davina Kotulski of DavinaKotulski.com reports on the Prop 8 trial, day 5 - the cross examination of Professor Michael Lamb.

Attorney Thompson [for Prop 8 proponents] steps up to the plate and starts his rapid fire questioning [of Professor Lamb] again.

You are a member of the ACLU, correct?

You are a member of… asks 10 more questions about his membership.

You give money to PBS, so you are a committed liberal, correct?

Then he attacks him by saying he has no clinical experience as a psychologist, he is only a researcher?

You are not a clinical psych, never done therapy before, correct?

You have not interviewed a child for over 20 years, correct?

(DUH-That’s what graduate students and research assistants are for!)

If you look at the Homer Simpson’s of the world, they are much more likely to be men than women, correct?

Breast feeding is better for children and men can’t breast feed is that correct?

Women earn less money than men, correct?

There are differences between the earning power of gay men and lesbians, correct?

Lesbians earn less than heterosexuals, correct?

Lee Badger, (actually her name is Badgett, but badgering is what you are doing and perhaps you were thinking of another small mammal), she says contrary to popular stereotype after controlling for race, age, male couples’ income is 4% higher than heterosexuals income, and female couples is 7% lower than married couples.

WOMEN SPEND MONEY DIFFERENTLY THAN MEN WITH REGARD TO CHILDREN

Women spend money differently than men with regard to children, correct?

Gender is associated with certain occupations correct?

Gender is assoc with educational opportunities, correct?

Men are more likely to perpetrate sexual abuse than women, correct? So step-fathers are more likely to sexually and physically abuse children than mothers correct?

Men who are married are less likely to drink heavily and gamble, correct?

Just to be clear, Dr. Lamb is qualifying all of his responses with intelligent arguments that I can't capture as quickly and Thompson's statements.

[Note from UTF: Courage Campaign's Prop 8 Trial Tracker has Lamb's responses.]

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE IN THE OVERFLOW ROOM?

“I didn’t know any of what Lamb discussed. Frankly, I don’t care about all those studies. I’m just a parent. I know what kind of job I do, I know a number of gay parents and I know what kind of parents they are. When they say gays are child molesters-- that hurts my heart.” - Billy, gay parent, father of two children.

Niko and Lorna, a multi-racial lesbian couple from San Francisco stood in line to enter the court room. The committed couple said they were there because they want to get a domestic partnership in San Francisco and found out that as a same-sex couple they had to pay $23 more than heterosexual couples applying for a domestic partnership certificate.

“Why should we have to pay more for a domestic partnership registration than straight couples?” The couple said that they were told by SF clerks that the $23 went to pay for an LGBT education fund. “Why can’t straight people pay the extra $23 for the LGBT educational fund?” I told them this was the first I ever heard of this.

Court on lunch break!

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 5: Children Raised By Gay and Lesbian Parents Are Just As Well-Adjusted As Children Raised By Heterosexual Parents

Guest blogger Davina Kotulski of DavinaKotulski.com reports on the Prop 8 trial, day 5.

Michael Lamb, PhD discussed [today in trial] the impact of same-sex marriage on children. Lamb is the author of The Role of the Father in Child Development and co-author of Child Care and Its Impact on Young Children (2-5) published by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, USA (2004).

Lamb is a Professor at University of Cambridge, England. For seventeen years, he was the head of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Since the 1970s, for nearly 40 years, Lamb has conducted research about children’s social and emotional development. He is achieved prestigious awards for his lifetime contributions to psychology.

He has two primary areas of study:

1. Investigation of sex crimes involving children and interviewing children who are young victims.

2. Factors that affect children’s adjustment, those aspects of children’s development that allow them to function effectively in their environment and to interact effectively with society.

He stated that over the past 40 years there are over 100 peer reviewed professional articles on children being raised by gay and lesbian parents.

He has two opinions on same-sex marriage with regard to LGBT people raising children. He stated:

1. Children raised by gays and lesbians are just as well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.

2. The emotional and social adjustment of children raised by gay and lesbian parents would be promoted if their parents could get married.

Lamb says that the consensus over 40 years of research indicate that there are three broad factors that impact the healthy adjustment of a child.

1. The quality of relationship with parent or parent figures.

2. The quality of relationship between the two parents or significant adults.

3. The environment the child is raised in has adequate economic and social resources.

Lamb states that “a good parent is someone who is committed to, loves the child, is engaged with the child, focuses attention on that child, can read the child’s signals, has an understanding of what the child needs, provides the child with stimulation, and provides appropriate guidance for and limits on that child.”

WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE PARENT IS THE SAME REGARDLESS IF THE PARENT IS A MOTHER OR A FATHER

Attorneys introduced a quote from President Obama that stated “Statistics show that children who grow up without a father are 5xs more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, 9xs more likely to drop out of schools, 20xs more likely to end up in prison.”

Lamb says that “actually the factors that better explain this is not that there is no father, it is that these children grow up in households with more conflict between parents, have fewer economic resources…”

According to Lamb, “our research on masculine and feminine parents has made clear that that initial prediction (a child needs a mother and a father as parents) is incorrect. We’ve come to a new conclusion. What makes a good parent is the same for either a male or a female, a child does not specifically need a mother or a father.”

The attorney asks Lamb to read a policy statement from the American Psychological Association in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples and their families. He then reads the names of the following organizations who have also submitted policy statements affirming same-sex marriage.

American Psychological Association

American Academy of Child Psychology

American Pediatric

Psychiatric Association

Psychoanalytic Association

Child Welfare League of America

Social Workers

North American Council on Adoptable Children

MORE ON RON PRENTICE’S 21 REASONS GENDER MATTERS IN NEXT BLOG, STAY TUNED

THE COST OF MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION

Yesterday, Edmund Egan, PhD. San Francisco’s Chief Economist, spoke about the cost of discrimination to the City & County of San Francisco. Egan discussed all the lost revenue in marriage licenses and weddings since Prop 8 passed and stopped happy couples from saying “I do.”

Just a little tease, my new book, Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail explores in greater detail the cost of marriage discrimination across the nation. Children raised by G&L parents are NOT more likely to develop a gender identity disorder.

Official Prop 8 Trial Update From Olson/Boies Team

Here's an official update from sent by Yusef Robb, spokesperson for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group responsible for the Prop 8 challenge.

Trial opened today with expert testimony from Dr. Michael Lamb, a Professor and Head of the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology at Cambridge University.

"We have a substantial body of evidence documenting that a child being raised by same-sex parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents," Lamb testified.

Dr. Lamb also testified (referring to children of gay and lesbian parents) that: "For a significant number of these children, their adjustment would be promoted were their parents able to get married."

He also noted that the American Psychological Association states: "There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children."

Cross examination -- which is ongoing -- has included questions about Dr. Lamb's PBS membership and whether men can breastfeed.

Dr. Lamb is the ninth witness in the case, and the fifth expert witness to testify. They have each clearly and convincingly confirmed the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 and have demonstrated that:
  • Marriage is vitally important in American society.
  • By denying gay men and lesbians the right to marry, Proposition 8 works a grievous harm on the plaintiffs and others 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.
Image: Yusef Robb by Karen Ocamb of LGBT POV

Maryland Delegate Proposes Legislation to Block State From Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages

In May of last year, I reported on an editorial from the Baltimore Sun that pointed out that Maryland's law may not actually block the state from recognizing same-sex marriages, if not allowing the state to perform them.

Shortly after, openly gay Sen. Richard S. Madaleno requested that state Attorney General Douglas Gansler review the law and submit an official opinion regarding same-sex marriage. Gov. Martin O'Malley stated he was open to recognizing such unions if the law permitted.

However, Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr. isn't waiting for Gansler's delayed opinion, sponsoring legislation that would bar the state from recognizing same-sex marriages. Prior attempts in Maryland have failed to get past the House Judiciary Committee.

Blogger Joe.My.God took the words right out of my mouth. "Alarmed by the imminent prospect of happy homo skipping gaily down the aisle in Washington DC and jealous that Harry Bishop wears the mantle of the state's most famous bigot, Maryland state House Delegate Emmett Burns has introduced a bill that would ban recognition of same-sex marriages from any foreign or domestic jurisdiction," he said.

Nothing like selling constituent rights to pander to a right-wing base.

To get involved, go to Equality Maryland.

VIDEO: Prop 8 Proponents Want Trial Video Recordings Destroyed






Thursday, January 14, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: DC Superior Court Rejects Anti-LGBT Forces Bid for Marriage Equality Referendum

Anti-marriage equality forces appealed DC's Board of Elections and Ethics decision in November, rejecting a public referendum on the District's new marriage equality law. They cited the jurisdiction's Human Rights Act.

Led by Harry Bishop Jackson and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), opponents of same-sex marriage appealed. Today, DC's Superior Court ruled against them. From the Washington Post:
A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage opponents do not have a right to hold a public referendum on whether those marriages should be legal in the District.

The ruling, a major victory for gay rights activists, makes it more likely that the District will start allowing same-sex couples to marry in March.

--------

Opponents probably will appeal Thursday's ruling to an appellate court. Still, they are running out of options to block same-sex marriages in the District. Congress has begun the required 30-legislative-day review of the same-sex marriage bill signed into law last month by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
The last One remaining hurdle, for the new marriage law is Congressional review, a 30-day period for Congress to intervene. However, it doesn't look like there will be any action from Congress, and representatives who oppose marriage equality don't have the momentum to interfere. The other hurdle facing the law is the Court of Appeals.

City officials expect the law to go into effect the first week of March.

Supreme Court Extends Stay on Cameras Broadcasting Prop 8 Trial

UPDATE: Lambda Legal's Jenny Pizer responds on LGBT POV to Supreme Court's ruling banning broadcast of Prop 8 trial.

Excerpt:
The high court’s majority decision is troubling in its accommodation of Prop 8’s proponents’ supposed fears of harm. As the dissent points out, the standard for Supreme Court interference with trial court management of such things is high and the evidence of threat submitted was paltry at best. In other words, despite the many excited claims, when the details are parsed out, there’s just not much there, there.

The antigay defamers’ apparent success (still) at casting themselves as victims who need defending (like their marriages?), while running campaign after powerful campaign to eliminate gay people’s rights, is an Orwellian problem calling for a reality check. But the absurd victimhood claims of right-wing political operatives and religious leaders are not the heart of the Supreme Court ruling. Instead, the court simply concluded that proper procedures were not followed for changing the court rules about broadcasting.

Most importantly, this isn’t a ruling on the merits of the Olson-Boies marriage case. The issues are entirely unrelated.
Original post 1/13/10:

As reporter Rex Wockner said, "Not a good omen." That is, if this case gets to the Supreme Court. From the SCOTUS blog:
Splitting 5-4, the Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked any television broadcast to the general public of the San Francisco federal court challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The stay will remain in effect until the Court rules on a coming appeal challenging the TV order. The Court, chastizing the trial court for attempting “to change its rules at the eleventh hour,” issued an unsigned 17-page opinion. The ruling came out nearly 40 minutes after an earlier temporary order blocking TV had technically expired.
That's a real shame. More Americans need to hear the evidence. They need to see whose responsible for the stripping of citizens' rights away and why. They need to know how they've been deceived and manipulated.

It's up to us to broadcast the trial far and wide. Keep telling everyone to stay posted to blogs and news.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group behind the challenge to Prop 8, issued the following response:
“Proposition 8 attacks the core of what our nation stands for -- that all of us are entitled to equal protection under the law and equal treatment from the government. A trial on constitutional rights should be accessible to as many people as possible," said Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. "Given the powerful evidence against Prop. 8 presented in court today, we are not surprised the initiative's defenders sought to keep this trial as private as possible.”
Karen Ocamb of LGBT POV has a response for the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.

Supreme Court's ruling including the dissent (a must-read):

SCOTUS Opinion on Cameras in Prop 8 Trial

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 4: Recommendations

Unfortunately today, guest blogger Davina Kotulski will not be at court to cover today's hearing. She will be back tomorrow.

I recommend Courage Campaign's live blog of the trial at Prop 8 Trial Tracker, Mercury News, News Review, LGBT POV, and for a list of great Tweets directly from the court, go to Twitter list No Back Seats. At the end of each day, legal summaries of the hearings can be found at Pam's House Blend written by NCLR's Shannon Minter.

Continue to check UTF's Recommended Reading column on the right side of the blog for articles, summaries and coverage.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

VIDEO: Mormon Documents Headed to Prop 8 Trial?

VIDEO: Ted Olson and David Boies Interview on Rachel Maddow

Discriminatory Motivations of Prop 8 Exposed in Court Today

Earlier today, I posted guest blogger Davina Kotulski's account of today's exchange in the Prop 8 trial hearing. In it, she wrote about Dr. William Tam of the Traditional Family Coalition and the airing of his video taped deposition. It exposed his prejudiced POV of the LGBT population.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group behind the challenge to Prop 8, just released the following press release which contains more detail and evidence of discriminatory motivations behind those responsible for Prop 8. Proving that Prop 8 proponents acted with animus towards gays and lesbians is the challenge for the plaintiffs in their efforts to show that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and should be thrown out. The press release:


**Deposition Video and Campaign Communications from One of Five Official Proponents of Initiative Presented in Court Today

**Official Proponents Personally Responsible for Putting Prop. 8 on ballot, and Taking Over Defense of Prop. 8 in this Trial through Intervention

Evidence introduced today during the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial exposed the discriminatory motivations of Proposition 8, as demonstrated by campaign communications and statements by William Tam, an Official Proponent of the initiative. Video of Tam's deposition, which was taken on Dec. 1, 2009, was shown in court today.

Question: “And it is your understanding that part of the gay agenda is legalizing underage sex?”

Answer: “Right.”
(Page 43 of deposition)

On Monday and Tuesday, the court viewed Yes on Prop. 8 ads urging voters to “protect our children.” Now it's apparent that this message was working in concert with the type of discriminatory communications we heard today from an Official Proponent of Prop. 8. This is powerful evidence.

“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.” (Pro-Prop. 8 email by Tam, page 78 of deposition and full text of email below)

“We hope to convince Asian-Americans that gay marriage will encourage more children to experiment with the gay lifestyle and that the lifestyle comes with all kinds of disease.” (Pro-Prop. 8 media interview by Tam, page 77 of deposition)

“Question: And how did that come to be? How did it come to be that you were part of that debate? "

“Answer: I was told by Protect Marriage to take part in that debate.
"

“Question: What do you remember saying on that topic of children and Prop 8?"

“Answer: Oh, I was saying that if same -sex marriage is legalized, then every child can grow up thinking whether he would marry John or Jane when they grow up.”
(Tam discussing his arguments during a Pro-Prop 8 debate, page 73 of deposition)

Tellingly, Tam last week asked the court for permission to withdraw from the case. As an Official Proponent of Proposition 8, Tam was personally responsible for putting Prop. 8 on the ballot and voluntarily taking over the initiative's defense through intervening in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Tam's withdrawal request came on the heels of an unsuccessful, months-long effort to conceal widespread campaign communications, and extensive efforts to prevent any broadcast of the trial, even to other federal courtrooms.

“I voluntarily sought to intervene in the subject case along with the four other Official Proponents of Proposition 8. Our motion to intervene was granted June 20, 2009.” (Declaration of Tam in support of his request to withdraw from the case)

“As an official proponent, I invested substantial time, effort, reputation, and personal resources in campaigning for Proposition 8. For example, I dedicated the majority of my working hours between January 2008 and November 2008 toward qualifying Proposition 8 for the ballot and campaigning for its enactment.” (Declaration of Tam in support of proposed intervenors' motion to intervene)

TEXT OF TAM PRO-PROP 8 LETTER FROM WILLIAM TAM

Dear Friends:

This November, San Francisco voters will vote on a ballot to "legalize prostitution". This is put forth by the SF city government, which is under the rule of homosexuals. 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. I hope we all wake up now and really work to pass Prop 8. We have only 48 days left. Even if you have church building projects, mission projects, concert projects, etc, please consider postponing them and put all the church man/woman power to work on Prop 8. We can't lose this critical battle. If we lose, this will very likely happen......

1. Same-Sex marriage will be a permanent law in California. One by one, other states would fall into Satan's hand.

2. Every child, when growing up, would fantasize marrying someone of the same sex. More children would become homosexuals. Even if our children is safe, our grandchildren may not. What about our children's grandchildren?

3. Gay activists would target the big churches and request to be married by their pastors. If the church refuse, they would sue the church. Even if they know they may not win, they would still sue because they have a big army of lawyers from ACLU who would work for free. They know a prolonged law suit would cripple the church. They had sued the California government many times before. They sue until they win. They would not be afraid to sue a church. The church would have to spend lots of money in defending the case. The court fight would be long and the congregation would be discouraged and leave --- how long are they willing to shoulder the law suit costs. The church may give in and accept them, their membership would grow and take over the church. Then a righteous pastor would have to leave. Such scenarios have happened in Scandinavian countries. At that time, churches would keep quiet, hoping that they won't be picked as the next target.

If your church is sued, don't expect others to help your church. You would be in the battle alone, and chances are you would lose. If that happens, whatever nice building your church have built now would become meaningless.

In order not to let this happen, we better team up at the current battle to defeat same-sex marriage. Collectively, we have a chance to win. Right now, each church sacrifice a little. For 48 days, delay your projects, put your resources ($ and manpower) into Prop 8. We'd have great power if we pool our resources together. Let's win this battle. After victory, your congregation would be energized and go back to the original projects with joy and cheer. They may want to give more and build a bigger building to thank God. Our God would be pleased and bless us more. But if we lose, our congregation would lose heart. They might not want to work as hard. Our opponents would be overjoyed. They would do more and change more laws so as to persecute us easier. Churchs would have a much much harder time to survive. We would be collecting offerings to fight law suits instead of building new buildings. I pray that day would not come. The choice is yours. Talk to the leaders of your church. Your actions would change the history in either direction.

Thanks for your efforts,

Bill Tam

Traditional Family Coalition


See actual email sent out by Tam on the last page of the court filing below.

Plaintiff's Trial Brief Challenging Prop 8

Interview contained in this video with Tam expressing his views.

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 3: Aggressive, Violent Acts By Supporters of LGBT Rights

Guest blogger Davina Kotulski of DavinaKotulski.com reports on the Prop 8 trial, day 3. (See earlier Day 3 post.)

Back from Break, 10:24 AM, Thompson begins introducing evidence that Yes8 people were attacked by No8 people - death threats, boycotts, defaced churches, and an elderly couple beaten up.

While this is all hearsay to me, I want to speak to two things.

First, I was one of those people who was verbally and almost physically assaulted during the Prop 8 campaign in my hometown Oakland, California.

Following the Prop 8 state trial I began receiving death threats from a man who called my home and sent me e-mails calling me a “fucking dyke” while simultaneously identifying himself as a Christian.

I was concerned because Molly and I were community grand marshals for the SF Pride Parade and were going to ride in a convertible car down Market St. during gay pride. I had images of JFK’s assassination running through my head as the phone calls continued. I filed a police report, eventually the calls stopped.

Second, again the Yeson8 reports of being victimized are hearsay, but we should be mindful as we advance our equality to maintain non-violence in all aspects of our communication with our opposition. We must not become the bullies.

As Ghandi said, the enemy of truth, is untruth, it’s not the person. I invite us to be in a place of compassion wherever possible with our opponents. Knowing that many of our current opponents will one day awaken to their misunderstandings (mistakes) and some may even become active allies in ushering in more equality.

The truth is, so many already have.

KING AND KING - IT’S A FAIRY TALE-IT’S NOT ABOUT SEX

Lawyers for ProtectMarriage.com showed footage of the heterosexual couple from Massachusetts who were featured in Yeson8 ads talking about how school children would be forced to learn about gay sex because someone at their son’s school read the book King and King, and it was not part of the curriculum. The couple say this is forced on kids and parents and they are helpless to change it.



Particularly appalling was when the women said, “Our children should not be exposed to sexuality in second grade. Now they are being forced to learn about gay marriage in math, social studies, and reading. Parents have no rights.”

Thompson badgered Chauncey asking him shouldn’t parents have a right to decide what their children learn if they oppose the teaching.

Chauncey fired back that if parents oppose interracial marriage they can send their child to a private school, but that public schools “are encouraged to teach broader social values,” and he emphasized that the book, King and King, “is a fairy tale, it’s not about gay sex,” as Thompson and the couple tried to frame.

IS MARRIAGE AN ADULT ISSUE? IF SO WHAT ARE CHILDREN DOING AT WEDDINGS?

Chief Deputy Attorney for San Francisco, Terry Stewart, asked Professor Chauncey if marriage was an adult issue and if he had ever heard of flower children before. There were a few chuckles in the court room, as Stewart corrected herself and said “flower girls and ring bearers.”

She challenges Thompson’s earlier point that even gay people didn’t want marriage, but mentioning that there were many blacks in the segregated South who were also initially uncomfortable with integration with whites for various reasons.

HOMOSEXUAL ACTS GO AGAINST THE NATURAL LAW

Stewart then asks Chauncey to read some documents by Prop 8 supporters to be submitted as evidence.

Chauncey reads-ALLOWING CHILDREN TO BE ADOPTED BY LIVING IN SUCH UNIONS WOULD BE DOING VIOLENCE TO THESE CHILDREN

Then Stewart introduces video of a deposition with the Executive Director of the Traditional Family Coalition, Dr. Bill Tam, who volunteered almost all of his time to help ProtectMarriage.com pass Prop 8.

Dr. Tam via pre-recorded video:

Dr. Tam-I communicated with Ron Prentice, Andrew Pugno, Frank Schubert…I organized several rallies in support of Prop 8 attended by thousands of voters and raised several thousand dollars and support from Asian-American community.”

Depo Attorney-How did you attract people?

Dr. Tam-Notices of rallies at churches.

Depo Attorney- Were these venues public?

Dr. Tam-Yeah. China Town Square. Names some Memorial Park.

Depo Atty- Who attended the rallies?

Dr. Tam mentions many clergy members and Ron Prentice and Tony Perkins.

STATEMENT BY DR. TAM PROTECTMARRIAGE.COM SUMMARIZED BY PROF. CHAUNCEY

Chauncey summarizes Dr. Tam’s remarks. “This is anti-gay rhetoric. Describes right to marry as the legalization of prostitution, put forth by SF city government which is under rule of homosexuals, forced on the people. The next step after gay marriage is legalizing sex with children.”

IF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL, EVERY CHILD WOULD GROW UPTHINKING THEY COULD MARRY JOHN OR JANE

Video shows Dr. Tam describing the "Gay Agenda."

“It is legalizing sex with children-google it,” he says. When asked by the depo attorney if he believes this is true. He evokes his 1st amendment right that he doesn't have to say if believes this.

Tam goes on to express his concern that if gay marriage were legal it would lead not only to legalizing sex with children, but it would lead to “every child would grow up thinking they could marry John or Jane.”

Dr. Tam expressed concern that because of gay marriage, “my daughter wanted to experiment with girls and had trouble getting boys. So the girls tried girls, the children did an experiment.”

He also expressed concern about gays calling marriage a civil right. He said, “It’s a concern to Asian Americans that gays call it civil rights, civil rights is about skin color. I cannot change it. If homosexuals portray self as minority, then sex preference can become a minority.”

And in fact, LGBT people are the minority, but as we continue to grow as a society, we will be a part of a majority of people who believe in equality for LGBTIQ people.

I’m sorry to say, but I will not be in the court room again until Friday at 8:30 AM. Follow michaelpetrelis.com for a summary later of the day and Paul Hogarth at Courage Campaign's Prop 8 Trial Tracker who is doing live blogging.

I will however be posting some interviews hopefully at the end of the day.

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 3: You All Have Brockeback Mountain, and It Even Got Awards - Gay Discrimination Is Over

Guest blogger Davina Kotulski of DavinaKotulski.com reports on the Prop 8 trial, the morning of day 3.

YOU ALL HAVE BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN AND IT EVEN GOT AWARDS--- GAY DISCRIMINATION IS OVER

Thompson, the smug attorney for the Proponents of Prop 8, is taking the position that gays are not being discriminated against any more and so that cannot be the reason that Prop 8 passed.

He makes a point and then asks Professor Chauncey if that is correct.

He’s mentioning Will & Grace, the movie Philadelphia and Brokeback Mountain as evidence that LGBT people are not being discriminated again.

NANCY PELOSI IS A GAY RIGHTS CHAMPION, RIGHT?

Did I miss something? Nancy Pelosi is our fierce advocate?

Thompson says she is.

Thompson-“Homosexuals couldn’t get hearings in the 1950s, but today you have Barney Frank and he’s a powerful ally of gays and lesbians, correct?”

Thompson, “You have AIDS funding, isn’t that important to gays and lesbians, correct?”

Thompson, “Thousands of employers have non-discrimination policies, correct?”

PRESIDENTIAL POLICY ON GAYS AND LESBIANS

Thompson- “President Clinton appointed 116 gays to employment, correct?”

Thompson- “He issued presidential orders, barring discrimination in employment, correct?”

Again, I was a federal employee, all the advances Clinton made for LGBT people in the government were immediately revoked or ignored during Bush’s 8 years. It was shocking to see how quickly we went backwards.

In 1999 and 2000, I held “lunch and learns” on gay issues during gay pride month. The first June Bush was in office, I was no longer welcome to hold such gatherings. And I believe it was Judy Shepard who had been invited to speak at Department of Justice (DOJ)-Pride in Washington, DC, an LGBT employment group made up of Department of Justice employees, was not allowed to speak in the DOJ board room. DOJ Pride, which had also held “lunch and learns” for gay issues in June, was told that they could no longer meet on DOJ property.

If my memory serves me, a Democratic Senator invited Judy Shepard and DOJ Pride to come use his conference room. That was June 2001, the first year Bush was in office. Believe me, it only got worse until Obama took office eight years later.

ALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE SINNERS, CORRECT?

Christian organizations against gay rights are in the minority, correct?

Thompson trying to show that significant shift in acceptance toward gay people as evidence by the fact that numerous churches support gay rights and read off a list of denominations that support gay people. He also submitted two videos for evidence to show that even the churches are supporting gay people.

One video is of the signing of the DC marriage equality resolution being signed in a church and the other was an interview of Rick Warren on Fox when he said that he believed that people should show “respect” for “all people regardless of their lifestyle, but I don’t believe in redefining marriage as it’s been the past 5000 years.”

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 2: Homosexuality - This Is Your Life

Davina Kotulski of DavinaKotulski.com covers day 2 of Prop 8 trial testimony of Professor George Chauncey, Historian

RUSHING TO LUNCH

At 12:30 PM we broke for lunch and raced to the Cafeteria on the 2nd floor of the fed building. I inhaled some sushi because I couldn’t wait for something to cook. I was famished. Can you believe they have a sushi bar at the fed building?

I had lunch with Terry Stewart’s wife and daughter, my wife, and plaintiff for the California Marriage Case John Lewis. [Note from UTF: Terry Stewart is representing the city of San Francisco fighting against Prop 8. She was argued against Prop 8 before the CA Supreme Court back in May.]

I asked John Lewis to tell me what he thought of the case. He said he was struck by the bravery of the plaintiff couples and said “over the past decade the success of the marriage equality movement can be attributed to LGBTI couples, their family and friends, who have spoken the truth of their lives in every possible setting, with co-workers, at rallies, too media, and even going door to door.”

Lewis said “This takes tremendous courage and belief in one’s dignity to be treated equally under the law and to stand up for your own life and offer that for the betterment of others now and in the future. The plaintiffs offered live testimony of their lives in a court case where they are subjecting themselves to hostile cross examination on the most important part of their lives.”

Well said John!
IN THE COURTROOM

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of blogger Michael Petrelis who shared his media pass with me, I had the chance to sit in the court room for the afternoon testimony by Yale Professor George Chauncey. Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk’s gay nephew, was there. Hoping to do an interview with him tomorrow.

Chauncey is a historian who wrote Why Marriage: The history shaping the debate over gay equality (2004). He is an internationally sought after speaker whose received numerous awards.

Unfortunately, this is when my computer decided to die.

Chauncey began talking about the widespread discrimination gays and lesbians faced in the public and private arenas, focusing specifically on public accommodation, employment, censorship, stereotyping, and then just plain old discrimination.

HOMOSEXUALITY THIS IS YOUR LIFE

Chauncey’s testimony was like “homosexuality this is your life!” Remember when you could be arrested for association and sodomy? Remember when we called you a degenerate and made up laws to throw you in jail for simply being in a bar?

Oh, this one’s great - remember when vagrancy laws were used to ensnare you in California and getting arrested meant the police would, according to Chauncey:

1. Call your family to “verify your identity” and out you.
2. Call your landlord to confirm that you lived there and out you.
3. Call your employer to verify your employment and out you.

And remember after prohibition when everyone else could drink, laws were passed to keep you out of the bars. Laws that actually prohibited gays and lesbians being served drinks or the bar would lose its liquor license, so you had to hang out at the bars that were operated by organized crime syndicates. Boy, homosexuality, you’ve come a long way baby, except, because of this, people still affiliate you with and compare you to criminals.

IF YOU’RE GAY STAY AWAY

I was shocked to learn today that there were actually signs posted outside of bars that said “If you’re gay, stay away” and “it’s against the law to serve homosexuals.” Hmm, what does that remind me of? And if these offensive signs weren’t enough, cops regularly raided bars looking for homosexuals or people that they thought looked like ‘em.

According to Chauncey, and you older gays probably remember this (I was in the womb during Stonewall, literally), plain-clothed policemen would go into bars and look for “stereotypical cross-gender behavior…women with short hair, masculine clothing, swaggering around the bar in ways that women shouldn’t walk..men with colorful clothes, long hair, and greeting each other in a feminine way.”

Chauncey even said that one person he interviewed said that one way to tell was if “two men talking about the opera, something no real man would do.”

Chauncey went on to talk about the legacy of police raiding bars and arresting gay people and referenced the Black Cat Bar, raid in San Francisco which lost it’s license in 1949. There was a court ruling that you couldn’t discriminate. But Chauncey said the police continued to crack down on bars with gays.

As we know they continued in 1969 with the Stonewall Inn in NY and even last year in Fort Worth, Texas. This legacy, while less frequent Chauncey says, still continues.

A DESPISED CLASS OF PEOPLE, OUTLAWS IN THE EYES OF THE LAW

2:07 PM

Terry Stewart asked Chauncey-How did this effect gay people?

GC- They were a despised class of people, outlaws in the eyes of the law. They needed to take great care and keep secret that they were gay. It more broadly associated gay life with criminality. Seedy, underbelly of society, associated with organized crime.

GC-WWI military decided to exclude homosexuals and to begin screening procedures to keep gay people out. Not surprisingly, they didn’t ferret people out. Most gays, like their peers, wanted to serve their country and were accustomed to passing as straight. Small town gays were very concerned about keeping that hidden.

PROFOUND CONSEQUENCES—GAYS AND THE MILITARY

Chauncey stated that the military had various procedures in place to keep homosexuals out and that when discovered they were discharged. Sound familiar?

The consequences for those who were discovered to be gay either before or during military service were profound.

Chauncey, “It was humiliating. They were denied benefits under the GI bill - even soldiers who served in combat and were kicked out because they were discovered to be gay. They were prohibited from benefits for housing, education, employment, etc. People wanted to see your discharge papers and find out what you were fired for before they hired you which did not help them.”

Chauncey “The War was an important moment of bringing people together.” He mentioned WWII. “Think of the classic WWII movie -The Jew from Brooklyn, the Irish guy from Jersey, the Italian from San Francisco.” Gay men were not able to be a part of this and then were seen as suspect because they were not a part of protecting the country.

The following fact is submitted for evidence--“Over the first 10 years of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell it cost the Defense Department 95 million dollars.”

HOMOSEXUALS, SEX PERVERTS, AND COMMUNISTS

Chauncey went on to talk about what happened after WWII. Things got worse for gays.

He says that in 1950, Joseph Macarthur wanted the names of communists and sex perverts. This led to the formation of top congressional committees on the employment of homosexuals and other sex perverts in government.

A document entitled something like On the Employment of Homosexuals, Sex Perverts and Communists is submitted as evidence.

Chauncey said that approximately “1,700 people had been prohibited from getting federal jobs” and noted that the State Department “dismissed more suspected homosexuals than communists.”

He said that President Eisenhower also created a policy that homosexuals could not work for the government, be in the military, or work for private companies who had contracts with the government, and that they had to fire their gay employees.

In 1975, Carter rescinded that policy, so that most government agencies no longer were required to fire gays and were able to hire them. But it was not until the 1990s that President Clinton ended that policy in intelligence agencies and prohibited discrimination federal employment for gay employees.

I was hired by the Department of Justice as a psychologist in June 1996 and during my background investigation I came out. The investigator documented that I had revealed I was a homosexual and proceeded to ask me if people knew of my homosexuality. I affirmed that I was open about my sexual orientation and found out later that they contacted my employer, my landlord, and many of my friends to confirm that I was a “known homosexual” and therefore could not be blackmailed.

WAITER, HAIRDRESSER, CLERICAL WORKER

Chauncey talked about employment discrimination that still exists in at least 20 states.

Terry Stewart asked if discrimination in employment affected “access to jobs in the private sector.”

Chauncey- "Gay people faced discrimination from a range of employers varied from occupation to occupation, company to company, most people had to hide their homosexuality for fear of losing their job.”

Stewart-Did it limit their job choices or channel them into specific occupations?

Chauncey-A good number of gay people pursued the profession they wanted, hid their identities, but there were also a good number of people who did not want to risk that and were funneled into low status job where being gay wouldn’t matter.

He mentions waiter, hairdresser, clerical worker.

WE HAD A GAY OLD TIME THIS WEEKEND

Stewart-What were the effects on gay people generally?

Chauncey-gay life was pushed under ground. They had to hide it. Increased the stakes for people. It meant that they were secretive, special codes, gay liberation in the 1970, in 1940s and 1960s, they used the word “gay” as a code word.

CENSORSHIP

Stewart-Can you explain gay people having been subject to censorship?

Chauncey-In the movies, Legion of Decency, led by Catholics, they led the charge to edit films with gay content. Pressured Hollywood.

1934 or 1944 enforced the Hays Code.

You had to pay a fine [if code was broken]. Prohibited interracial relationships, lesbian and gay characters, discussion of homosexuality.

A generation of Hollywood films could not include gay characters or explore gay lives.

Hollywood screenwriters had to submit scripts. Very strictly managed.

TV networks were even more constrained than Hollywood.

1980s, as recently as 1989, a pop TV series called 30 something had a scene with two men in bed with sheets. It was so shocking that various religious organizations threatened boycotts and it was not shown at all, putting a chilling effect on the inclusion of gay characters.

Gay people didn’t know there were other gay people like themselves. Older gays didn’t see themselves represented and were reminded that they were a despised group.

Kept people hiding themselves and it kept straight people from knowing gay people and allowed stereotypes to emerge.

See Day 3 coverage.

VIDEO: CBS News Report on Story Behind Prop 8 Trial; Director Rob Reiner Attends Hearing

Openly gay reporter Hank Plante reports.



H/T Joe.My.God

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 2: Old Marriage Laws - Silly Rabbit, Marriage Is For White People

Second blog entry on Harvard professor Nancy Cott's testimony on the history of marriage discrimination from the second day of the Prop 8 Trial. By Davina Kotulski of DavinaKotulski.com

OLD MARRIAGE LAWS SILLY RABBIT MARRIAGE IS FOR WHITE PEOPLE

In the continuation of Professor Nancy Cott’s testimony she spoke of how marriage laws discriminated against unpopular minorities, which if you look back at American history that means everyone but straight white males.

Slaves were denied the right to marry. After emancipation, blacks were denied the right to marry whites. Chinese immigrant men were denied the right to marry white women and as the influx of Asians from other countries occurred, new categories of marriage denial based on race and ethnicity were created.


WHITE AMERICAN WOMAN SEEKING ASIAN MAN-THERE GOES YOUR CITIZENSHIP

Marriage, back then, like now, was the way benefits were bestowed upon people. So, if you wanted benefits you had to obey the laws. For example, in 1907, the federal government passed a law taking away the American citizenship of white women who chose to marry Asian men as a deterrent to interracial marriage.

Professor Cott made the point that a German immigrant could marry an American woman and he could get American citizenship, but the Chinese were regarded as “aliens ineligible for citizenship.” She said, “An American woman would not only lose her citizenship but could only regain it if he died or divorced and if she applied for naturalization.”

This outrageous ban was not lifted until WW II when American and China became allies.

As we know today, the federal government still handles immigration in marriage - it is one of those 1,138 federal rights denied same-sex couples. Immigrant heterosexual spouses are eligible for citizenship, but gay spouses/partners are not.


PARALLELS FROM RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN MARRIAGE AND GENDER IN MARRIAGE WITH REGARD TO SAME-SEX COUPLES

Cott says, “The most direct parallel is that the race laws restricted individuals from having choices over who they married in a way that designated some groups as less worthy and some marriages as less worthy, and it is part of the same effort” to deny same-sex couples. “Couples who made these choices would have less honor, status and fewer benefits than others.”


THE SUPREME COURT RULES THAT MARRIAGE IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

In 1913, Cott said that the US Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right. Yet this important ruling was followed by numerous states passing extremely restrictive anti-miscegenation laws preventing the marriage of whites and people of color. The Virginia ban is one of the most notable - interracial couples were considered criminals.

Cott says that “the question of the constitutionality of these laws could have come before the United States Supreme Court before 1967…but because it was such a hot button issue the Court approached this very cautiously.”

Specifically Professor Cott made reference to a case in 1955 that they could have taken, but instead they waited until 1967 to challenge the Virginia law that was passed in 1924.

You can read Professor Cott’s cross-examination in an earlier blog
. I’m sorry this is a bit out of order, but things are moving fast. Also I apologize for any typos.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 2: The Spirit of Harvey Milk and the Federal Prop 8 Case

Guest blogger Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., Psychologist, Personal Coach, and Author of "Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage" DavinaKotulski.com, WhyGayMarriage.com

THE SPIRIT OF HARVEY MILK AT THE PROP 8 TRIAL

It’s hard not to think about the legacy of Harvey Milk when the Prop 8 court case is only a block away from where Harvey made history, changed the world, and was tragically murdered by Dan White.

And Harvey’s spirit seemed to fill the federal court house as well. Lance Black, who wrote the screen play for the Harvey Milk movie spoke at the Sunrise Vigil for marriage equality. Bruce Cohen, producer of the MILK movie, and long-time, LGBT activist and friend of Harvey Milk, Cleve Jones, were present in the court room listening the testimony.

Harvey would be proud to see how far we’ve come and I can’t help thinking that he’s been our guardian angel throughout. The marriage license counter requests and the granting of marriage licenses all took place at San Francisco City Hall and all of the marriage cases have happened within a one-block radius of where Harvey Milk stood on the day he took his last breath. Thank you, Harvey, for giving us hope in life and in the legacy you’ve left.


THE MEDIA ROOM

There was no one protesting outside for, or against, marriage equality when I arrived at the federal building this morning.

In the media room right now there are only about 25 people. Yesterday, almost of all of the seats were filled.

Rick Jacobs, Courage Campaign, is vigorously typing away this morning as are the handful of live bloggers and journalist who, like myself find the media room, a little less stressful.

From the media room we are looking at a screen with three images: the witness stand, the judge, and the counsel. There is also a separate screen where documents, commercials and Proposition 8 Proponents’ positions statements are posted on occasion.


PROCRE8

Proponents of Proposition 8 hold the four following positions:

1. The limit of marriage to a man and a woman is something that has been universal. It has been across history, across customs, and across society.

2. The purpose of the institution of marriage and the cultural purpose of marriage is procreation.

3. Across history and culture, marriage is a fundamental pro-child institution between a man and a woman. Marriage aims to meet the child’s need to be emotionally, morally, practically, and legally affiliated with the woman and the man whose sexual union brought the child into the world.

4. Racial restrictions were never a definition feature of the institution of marriage.


THERE HAVE BEEN MANY FORMS OF MARRIAGE IN OUR SOCIETY

Harvard Professor Cott testimony for marriage equality

-Civil law has been supreme in redefining and regulating marriage.

-Religion has been in the background of many, most Americans understanding of marriage, rather sacramental or otherwise, ceremonial or otherwise. But these are apart from the validity of marriages.

-Any cleric performing marriage only does so because the state has given them the authority to do that.

-In the original constitution there was a statement that said that no religious disagreements with a particular marriage could invalidate that marriage.


SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND THE DIVORCE RATE

Boutrous asks Cott if there is any empirical evidence that same sex marriage will increase the divorce rate

Cott-In my home state, Mass, where same-sex couples have been able to legally marry for 5 years, the divorce rate is down not up.


THE TENSION AND THE BINDER ARE THICK

At 9:36 AM the cross-examination of Professor Cott begins.

Attorney for Prop 8, Thompson, passes out a binder that is about 500 pages thick. Then he begins what I would call in my lay opinion, badgering the witness. I’m sure my wife, the attorney, would correct me.

It starts like this.

Thompson-“So, you are not an expert of the history of marriage outside of the US.”

Cott-“Not according to my own high standards no.”

Thompson asks her to read something from the jumbo binder.

Cott-“I need my reading glasses for this.”

Thompson fires question after question to discredit the witness.

-Are you familiar with marriage in the most populated places in the world China and India?

-You are not an expert on marriage in ancient Greece, correct?

-You see yourself as someone between a neutral party and advocate, correct?

Cott- “I see myself as someone who comes to the position in support of marriage for same-sex couples because of my historical research.”

You’ve filed briefs in support of gay marriage in New York, Iowa, and New Jersey, correct?

Cott-historians briefs, yes. I volunteered my time because I believe it’s important for historians to participate in public policy decisions.

9:50 AM Thompson begins making the case that because Cott supported an organization called Alternatives to Marriage, started by a heterosexual couple to validate cohabitation as a valid choice, that this implies she is also a proponent of poly-amorous relationships.

Cott –“I don’t support poly-amorous marriages.”

The tension is thick. Cott is clearly annoyed by Thompson who is firing off question after question with smug intent to make her look stupid.

Thompson- “New York has never had a ban on interracial marriage, correct?”

Cott, annoyed, “Frankly I don’t know this colony by colony.”

Thompson-“So you have no idea that the majority of the states during the founding of the country had no laws against interracial marriage, correct?”

Cott-“That is an irrelevant question.”

Thompson asks her a question about another country.

Judge Walker interrupts reminding Thompson that he’s established that she’s not an expert on marriage outside of the US.

10:15 AM Cott requests a break. Honestly, listening to this attorney asks question is getting on my nerves too. Happy for a break.

VIDEO: Today Show Coverage of Prop 8 Trial, Interview With Plaintiffs

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow: "Gay Marriage Opponents Win Right to Hide."

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

VIDEO: Ted Olson Speaks to NBC Nightly News About Prop 8 Trial

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, January 11, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Coverage: Opening Remarks From Ted Olson and Giggling at Opponents' Statements

UPDATE: See Davina's full summary of the first day of trial.

Due to my inability to blog and Davina Kotulski's amazing access to the Prop 8 trial, Davina has kindly granted permission to crosspost her reporting on Unite the Fight. Davina has started a new blog at DavinaKotulski.com where her posts can also be found. Check it out. She has provided the following bio for UTF readers:

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., is a psychologist, motivational life coach, author of "Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage" and "Love Warriors: The Rise of The Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail" that will be released in April 2010, and the former Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA.

She has deep roots in the freedom to marry movement that began with organizing “Marriage License Counter” protests. On February 12, 2004, Kotulski and her wife, were the 17th couple married in San Francisco. Kotulski organized the "Marriage Equality Express," an educational bus tour across the United States that culminated in the first national marriage equality rally in Washington, DC on October 11, 2004. She has appeared on CNN, Newsweek, Time and USA Today and in three documentaries: "Freedom to Marry" “Pursuit of Equality,” and “I Will, I Do, We Did”. Davina has published several articles on marriage equality in Bond Magazine, Flawles Magazine, Bay Area Reporter, Outword Magazine, and in an anthology entitled I Do, I Don’t: Queers on Marriage.

Davina received the “Saints Alive Award” from the Metropolitan Community Church and she was “sainted” Saint Activista Davina by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in August 2004.



Marriage Equality Advocates Begin Prop 8 Trial With Early Morning Vigil

My hands are still numb from standing in the cold this morning outside the federal building in San Francisco. Marriage Equality USA sponsored a vigil for marriage equality, hope, and justice. There were over 200 participants holding candles to light the early morning rally attended by numerous clergy from many different denominations, including a former Catholic nun and non-PFLAG Mom, Helen Laird. Helen stood with her son and Tim and spoke of why she believed that all of her children had the right to marry. She said her son Tim was legally married prior to Prop 8, but that the family is waiting to celebrate until marriage equality is again the law of the land in California.

Ksuzanne and her wife, both African-American activists for marriage equality, spoke of the importance of being representatives for the Black Gay community and spoke of how being able to legally marry granted them the right to hospital visitation, a right Ksuzanne unfortunately had to exercise post-Prop 8 when her wife was hospitalized for a life-threatening condition.

Frank and Joe Alfano-Capley spoke of finally being recognized as a legally married couple by the Elevators Union so that Joe can finally get health insurance. While the crowd cheered this wonderful breakthrough, Frank and Joe said it saddened them that the union will not recognize domestic partners and thus another couple with a small child who were unable to marry during the small window when it was legal are still being denied health and other employment related benefits only provided married couples.

Overall the mood of the vigil was positive. Molly McKay, my wonderful wife, spoke of how last year’s garbage has turned to rich compost, an unusual, but accurate metaphor of the outpouring of support for marriage and renewed hope that comes with this new challenge to marriage discrimination. Rev. Roland Stringfellow offered a beautiful evocation for equality and love. There were inspiring performances by Veronica Klaus who sang “I can see clearly now the rain is gone,” and “Here comes the sun.” Melanie Demore, performed “Somewhere over the rainbow” and the civil rights song “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.”

So, now I wait patiently for the trial to start any minute now. Word is that the cameras will not be allowed into the courtroom until after Wednesday. No youtube today.


90 Minutes into the Prop 8 Proceedings

The Prop 8 trial started with introductions from all the attorneys and discussion of the stay of live feed of the trial to other federal court houses and streaming for youtube. A stay has been issued until Wednesday at 4:00 PM. The only place to watch the proceedings is an overflow room in the Federal Building in San Francisco.

Judge Walker reported that he received 138,542 requests for TV coverage of the trial and only 32 requests opposing televised coverage.

Ted Olson, the attorney challenging Prop 8, spoke for the first hour.

He stated “This case is about marriage and equality. Plaintiffs are being denied the right to marry and under the law.”

“The right to marriage is one the most vital personal rights."

“A basic civil right.”

“A constitution right to privacy, association, intimacy and choice…a spiritual and public commitment.”

“Marriage is the most important relationship in life and of fundamental importance of all individuals.”

“Marriage is central to psychological, emotional, and physical health. Marriage is the building block of family, neighborhood, and community in our society.”

“Gays and lesbians have been classified as degenerates, targeted by police, fired from government jobs, arrested for private sexual conduct, and stripped of their rights by popular vote.”

"Domestic partners say that gay people are different, separate and unworthy."

“The roots of discrimination run deep... Prop 8 singles out gays alone…even convicted murders and child abusers in California enjoy the freedom to marry."

Olson said that opponents of Proposition 8 will argue these three points:

1. Marriage is vitally important in American Society.
2. Denying same-sex Prop 8 causes grievous harm against gay and lesbian individuals and adds another chapter of discrimination and suffering
3. Prop 8 perpetrates immeasurable harm for no good reason


The Giggling Has Begun

As soon as the Yes on 8 attorney [Charles Cooper] took the floor and began speaking out against marriage equality for same-sex couples, the giggles in the media overflow room started.

“Marriage is for a child whose mom and dad had a sexual union. Marriage is to take men and women’s procreation and to “channel it into an enduring union.”

Walker asked, "How does same-sex marriage diminish procreation for heterosexual couples?"

“Well, will this institution remain a pro-child institution or will it be a private relationship that provides couples with personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love?”

I prefer the latter. Marriage should be about personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love what a wonderful environment for adults who them choose to bring children into this world into these kinds of self-actualized, loving families.

They lie. They say gay marriage will lower the marriage rate and increase the divorce rate. I remind that Massachusetts which has had same-sex marriage for 6 years reportedly has the lowest divorce rate.

Time for Obama to come out in support of marriage equality.

Prop 8 supporters used a quote of President Obama’s support of civil unions and statement against gay marriage to justify Prop 8.

Judge Walker commented that President Obama also said that if his parents wouldn’t be able to marry under anti-miscegenation laws.

Equality California is calling on people to contact Obama and ask him to come out against Prop 8. (Go here to sign petition)

“Marriage is the sexual embodiment of the man and the woman who form the union. The sexual embodiment forms the institution. Only naturally procreated contact will bring forward life. It’s best when the child is brought into the world that the parents are together," said Cooper.

Earlier in the proceedings, Ted Olson stated that “The quality of a parent is not measured by gender it is measured by the content of the heart.”

Gay marriage leads to group marriage?

Yes, the Yes on 8 attorney proposed that if same-sex marriage was legal, bisexuals will want to “have the right to express their love and achieve personal fulfillment by the state.”