Marriage Trial Update Blog

posts by Bill May

*****Testimony Ends -- Battle Just Getting Started***** 

California Marriage Trial
The Long Road Ahead

SAN FRANCISCO, January 29, 2010 -- With the courtroom testimony of the trial for marriage completed, there will be much more to come before Chief U.S. Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker actually renders a decision. Ron Prentice, Chairman and Executive Director of ProtectMarriage.com has provided some analysis and a glimpse of the long road ahead .

In the article, he provides a quote from General Counsel Andy Pugno reminding us that the plaintiffs cannot win without showing that California voters were irrational in passing Prop 8 -- something that they did not do. How Judge Walker will see it could very welll be another matter and there is a good chance this case could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The trial forced the Yes on 8 Legal Defense fund to spend much more than they had budgeted and it is in need of more donations to continue this fight. We hope you will consider supporting this fund.

See the entire article by Ron Prentice and comments by Yes on 8 General Counsel, Andy Pugno.

*****Days 10 - 12*****

Contemptuous Laughter Punctuates Courtroom
But Trial is Finally Over – Well, Not Quite
Keep Prayers Coming

January 27, 2010 -- Just before lunch today, Charles Cooper, our Yes on 8 defense counsel finished with his last witness. He said he may call more witnesses if our side is able to get the “No on Prop 8” to produce internal documents as our side had been ordered to do. In the interim, there are many motions to be considered, rulings to be made, more briefs to file, and what could be a several week pause in the trial before closing arguments by each side. However, the day-to-day courtroom drama is over.

I will recap what happened this week.

On Monday, January 25, Day 10, the plaintiffs rested their case, but not before seeking to admit a huge amount of new evidence. It was an evidence dump without explanation or clarification of what it was or it relevancy to the case. Evidence is usually introduced in the context of witness testimony and cross examination for the purpose of clarifying its relevance and purpose. Some of the documents were from websites and organizations that had no connection to the Prop 8 campaign or its message. The judge overruled the objections by the defense counsel and admitted just about everything.

Some of the evidence involved DVDs produced by Evangelical Christians. As the videos were played for the Court, the plaintiffs and many in the audience actually laughed contemptuously as pastors expressed their concerns for marriage, for children, and the future of society.

The Yes on Prop 8 campaign, and everyone associated with it before and after the election had always been respectful to our opponents, but the contempt by them for people of faith and religion, and anyone who disagrees with them is both alarming and pathetic for they "know not what they do". We must respond with prayer for them and wrap them in Christ's love. We must avoid the temptation to judge, and remain focused on solidarity with children and their common interest in the marriage of their mothers and fathers.

The defense called its first of only two witnesses, Dr. Kenneth Miller, professor of political science from Claremont McKenna College. Dr. Miller did an outstanding job of testifying about the large amount of political power gays and lesbians have amassed. David Boies, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, cross examined him asking a wide range of questions about the initiative process itself as well as whether religion was THE cause of gays and lesbians not being able to defeat Prop 8.

As the cross examination continued into Tuesday, January 26, Day 11, Boies went after Catholics again, the largest religious group in the state. He referred Miller to a document that Cardinal Ratzinger wrote saying that "Sacred scripture condemns homosexual acts 'as a serious depravity.'" Dr. Miller beautifully responded by saying “My understanding of the Catholic Church's position is that there's a balance between moral disapproval of homosexual activities and desire to respect the dignity of the individual, which is on the next page.” Not that Catholic teaching should matter in this case, but God bless Dr. Miller for defending the faith.

Boies then proceeded to go down the list from one religion to another trying to show that the majority of religious people belong to religions that disapprove of homosexuality. Wait a minute! We are back to where we were a couple days ago questioning whether people have a right to consider their faith when voting.

Then Boies tried to use Miller to draw out criticism about the initiative process itself, didn’t get anywhere with that either. As Yes on 8 Campaign General Counsel, Andy Pugno put it, the plaintiff's theory is "that allowing the people to vote for or against ballot initiatives is unconstitutional because the voters on the losing side don’t get their way. So, they claim, Prop 8 violates the rights of gays and lesbians because they couldn’t get enough votes to defeat it at the ballot box. Seriously? But the notion that gays and lesbians can’t win ballot contests in California fell apart when, on cross-examination by Prop 8 Legal Defense team member David Thompson, it came out that in every election in recent history where voters were asked to pass initiatives to increase discrimination against homosexuals, the people of California rejected them.”

The second and final witness for the defense was David Blanckenhorn, president of Institute for American Values. Blankenhorn is a liberal Democrat, and a well known author and supporter of the interests of children in traditional marriage. His testimony was music to our ears as he focused on the effect that redefining marriage would have on further deinstitutionalizing marriage and its consequences for children and society – the theme of CCG’s Stand with Children (http://standwithchildren.org).

After the cross examination of Blankenhorn was completed late this morning, Wednesday, January 27, Day 12, the day to day testimony part of the trial was over. Thanks be to God.

During the last week and a half, the plaintiffs’ effort to overturn marriage and seek special protected status for gays and lesbians has been more like a public policy campaign than a trial focused on constitutional rights. As I mentioned at the outset, their case seemed to be part of an emotional PR strategy the fell apart when the U.S. Supreme Court deny their effort to put the trial on YouTube.

As the post trial motions and rulings are made, I will keep you informed of developments. I am guessing that the trial outcome may not be known until late March or early April.

The legal team, Andy Pugno, General Counsel, Charles Cooper and his colleagues and the attorneys from Alliance Defense Fund all did a wonderful job of representing you, marriage in California and across the country. They have been working day and night. The preparation was impressive, the pace was grueling, and I feel the result was positive. The defense is costing millions and donations can be made to the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund at http://bit.ly/dkYolA

How the Judge will decide the case may be another matter? Remember, he started out the trial asking if the state should even be in the marriage business. He obviously does not understand that marriage between a man and a woman is a reality and it is in the interest of the state to recognize that because it through marriage and the family that future generations are born and nurtured. All we can do is pray and pray some more.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer support for everyone involved in the trial. Please remember Judge Vaughn Walker in your prayers as well as our opponents – they are suffering greatly. Please pray that they receive the grace to let go of their anger, and their hatred – particularly that which is directed toward Our Lord and His Church -- not for our good, but for the good of their souls.

Pray for all those joining the Stand with Children campaign with love and solidarity, that we are able to faithfully and joyfully work together to restore the truth about marriage and the family to our culture.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

*****Days 8 - 9*****

Religious Bashing Continues
Final Plaintiffs’ Witnesses Called

Keep Prayers Coming

January 26, 2010 -- I am returning to our updates on the marriage trial after taking a break for the Walk for Life and the Catholics for the Common Good Leadership Summit in San Francisco on Sunday. During the Walk, our co-chairs, staff and I met many CCG subscribers who told us of their commitment to prayer and fasting for the outcome of the trial. It was moving to know that we are so many praying and sacrificing in solidarity that the truth about marriage as part of God’s plan for creation prevails. Prop 8 defense lawyers are fighting a momentous legal and the spiritual support you are providing is critical. Religion is now on trial, along with marriage and everyone who supported Prop 8.

The Leadership Summit also provided a break from the surreal experience of the trial, and great hope for the future as 80 marriage advocacy leaders from all over California met to plan our offense to take back the true meaning of marriage, family and human sexuality. Please ask friends and family members to join you to Stand with Children today at http://standwithchildren.org. Join us in the effort to recruit, train, and form an army to present the imperative of traditional marriage in new positive ways that our children can repeat without fear of attack or persecution. Remember, this federal trial for marriage is only a skirmish in a battle for the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren, and their views about marriage and family for their future.

On Thursday, January 21, Day 8, religious bashing ran rampant with Catholics and Southern Baptists as targets. According the Sanford political science professor Gary Segura, religion is to blame for the powerlessness of gays and lesbians as demonstrated by their inability to achieve their political objectives implying the need for special protection by the courts.

However, on brilliant cross examination by David Thompson, Segura had to acknowledge that Prop 8 opponents had the backing of the President, both California U. S. Senators, the Speaker of the U.S. House, the Democratic Party, numerous Hollywood stars, major corporations, many churches, the editorial board of every newspaper in the state, and financial supporters that contributed more money against Prop 8 and those who contributed for it. Yes, they are so politically weak that the Attorney General and the Governor, who are obliged to uphold the constitution of the state, violated their oaths of office by not being willing to defend the definition of marriage placed there by 7 million voters.

I have received so many emails from people who had experience harassment during and after the campaign and had expressed hopes that there would be an opportunity to raise these bullying tactics by Prop 8 opponents during the trial. The time came during the cross examination when our defense counsel got Segura to agree that such tactics undermine the power and effectiveness of the gay rights movement. After getting Segura to agree to a definition of a hate crime, defense counsel played a video with an example of an offense meeting that critieria (while many in the audience snickered) with a female supporter of Prop 8 who was assaulted in San Francisco’s Castro District. The judge seemed impatient at that point.

In the afternoon, the plaintiffs called Dr. Bill Tam, a concerned Chinese-American father and leader who is an Evangelical Christian. They tried their best to make him out to be a religious bigot. He was a supporter who lent his name to the initiative as a sponsor, but was not involved in the development of any of the campaign strategy and therefore his testimony was not relevant to the plaintiff's case. It was nothing but a bullying attack on his religious beliefs. Alliance Defense Counsel attorney Austin Nimocks summed it up as, “Dr. Tam had his religious and political views placed under a judicial microscope to determine whether they were 'correct' in the eyes of the law.” The implications are whether it is legal to consider your faith when you vote or support a public policy position? This is frightening!

Friday, January 22, Day 9, was fascinating. The focus was on the question of whether homosexuality is immutable or unchangeable like race or sex. The preparation by our defense attorneys was again very impressive and not a match for the plaintiffs’ “expert” witness Gregory M. Herek, a psychology professor from the University of California at Davis. Using numerous studies that Herek, the expert, was not familiar with, and segments from depositions and testimony from other plaintiffs’ witnesses, it became evident that there was not even a clear definition of what homosexuality is. For example, one of the plaintiff’s witnesses in a lesbian relationship, acknowledge that she had been previously married to a man, and later decided (as a matter of choice) to adopt a lesbian life style -- obviously undercutting the contention that homosexuality is immutable. Herek acknowledge there is no gay gene and people don’t know its cause. Is a homosexual someone with a same-sex attraction, someone who adopts a gay life style by choice, or something else? The definition is unclear and keeps changing --  so how can homosexuality be protected as something that is unchangeable?

As the Plaintiffs’ case neared completion on Friday, all that they seemed to have accomplish was a replay of the Prop 8 campaign. There was much emotional testimony and testimony from experts making the same arguments we have heard all to often. Their testimony did not hold up very well under cross examination. As Prop 8’s General Counsel said at the end of the week, “when the video cameras stop rolling and the sensationalism of this trial fades away, it will become clear that plaintiffs have essentially presented a political argument—not a legal claim. Such a case belongs in the public debate, not a courtroom.”

As the time for the defense to present it case, ProtectMarriage.com Executive Director Ron Prentice said over the weekend, “Long before the actual trial began, the ‘playing field’ was decidedly tilted against us. Chief Judge Vaughan Walker’s pre-trial rulings and those made during the trial have consistently gone against us. One of those rulings – to televise the trial – cost us a number of our expert witnesses, because although the US Supreme Court overturned Walker’s illegal order, it didn’t come soon enough to stop witnesses from withdrawing who feared their testimony would subject them to harassment.

“Prentice continued, “The loss of expert witnesses is one of the reasons our attorneys spent so much time cross- examining the plaintiff witnesses. Without access to experts who can counteract the plaintiff witnesses, the legal team worked diligently to bring out contradictions in the testimonies of opposing witnesses.” To this I would add once again, as I have reported, the defense attorneys from the Cooper firm and the Alliance Defense Fund have done a brilliant job. Despite the shallowness of the plaintiff’s case, we have no idea how Judge Vaughn Walker will decide it.

On Monday of this week, the Plaintiff’s rested, but not before some surprises. There was also some outrageous behavior in the court room that the media failed to report. Tomorrow I will report on this week’s developments.

 

*****Days 6 - 7*****

Trial Drags on Tediously
Religion Bashing Increases
Keep Prayers Coming

The second week of the trial about traditional marriage and those that support it recommenced on Tuesday, January 19, with more emotional testimony and issue advocacy that would be more proper to a legislative hearing or to a campaign than to a law trial. Alliance Defense Fund lawyer, Austin R. Nimocks provided perspective reminding us that, “ jurors are regularly instructed [by judges] to dismiss and put aside emotional appeals. Cases are decided on the facts and the evidence, not on how someone feels about this or that.” The question is, will Judge Vaughn Walker be influenced by these appeals. The outcome of a decision made by 7 million California voters depends on one judge, appointed for life.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders took the stand to discuss how he came to reverse his position on same-sex "marriage." In emotional and at times tearful testimony he described his close relationship with his daughter who announced that she was a lesbian and subsequently “married” another woman in a ceremony in Vermont. He acknowledged that he had harbored prejudice against gays in the past and now feels that anyone who opposes same-sex “marriage” for whatever reason, must be prejudiced. It was obvious that he had been coached and was extremely intent on advocating what became apparent on cross examination as an unreasonable position.

The next witness for the plaintiffs was Lee Badgett, research director of the Williams Institute at UCLA and same-sex marriage advocate. He testified that same-sex “marriage” in the Netherlands has had no impact on marriage between a man and a woman. Through long and tedious cross examination by lead defense counsel, Charles Cooper, Badgett acknowledged indisputable facts that out of wedlock births and the number of single parents have increased dramatically since same-sex “marriage” was legalized there.

Catholic Doctrine on Trail Again

On Wednesday, Day 7, the focus on religion of supporters of Prop 8 increasingly took center stage with a fair amount of Catholic bashing. It will be interesting to see where the plaintiffs' counsel goes with this as the trial progresses.

Remember, supporters of Prop 8 are on trial as being haters and bigots in an effort to overturn their vote to preserve traditional marriage. If the court were to accept the arguments presented in this testimony, I agree with the point Andy Pugno made that it would be like saying that people could not consider their religious beliefs when voting on any moral issue.

The day began by bringing a man from Colorado to the stand who was bitter about an experience with “homosexual conversion therapy.” It was hard to imagine why this man was there and what his testimony had to do with Prop 8. This seemed to be part of the plaintiffs' effort to demonstrate that homosexuality is an immutable trait like sex or race, and it provided another opportunity for more religion bashing. Plaintiffs' counsel Davie Boise used the witness to bring up what was portrayed as “faith-based” discrimination against women and blacks, and actually tried to link violence against gays to doctrine of the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

The next witness, Gary Segura, a Stanford University political science professor was called to provide support for the plaintiffs contention that homosexuals need special protection and argued that they are politically powerless, giving defeats on initiatives and legislation as examples. The logic throughout his testimony was so transparently flawed. The subject of religious discrimination came up again and as ProtectMarriage.com General Counsel Andy Pugno summed it up, “according to his logic, gays and lesbians must be given special legal protection by the U.S. Constitution against religion itself.”

When the day ended, Segura was still on the stand. More cross examination will follow when the trial continues on Thursday. I continue to be very impressed with the preparation and the skill of the attorneys representing supporters of Prop 8. They are methodically building a strong record if needed for appeal.

I will not report on Thursday and Friday until the end of the weekend. We are preparing for the a major marriage advocate Leadership Summit in San Francisco for the valiant team of CCG County Co-Chairs from all over California. More than seventy are expected at the summit.

Prayers (English / Spanish)

Please pray for the summit and these leaders. They are building a campaign to restore a marriage culture in California called Stand with Children. The same-sex “marriage” issue is merely a symptom of what the plaintiffs describe in court as the “evolution” of marriage. The word should really be “devolution” because indoctrination redefining marriage, the family, and human sexuality is influencing children and is touching just about every family. Our children are being taught that marriage is nothing but a committed relationship for the benefit of adults and that it is incidental to children and family.

We continue to be overwhelmed by the expressions of prayer and fasting for the trial. This is a spiritual battle and we are all reminded and buoyed by the communion we share through Our Lord, Jesus Christ as we stand in solidarity with the common interest that every child has in the marriage of his or her mother and father.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, please pray for the Prop 8 supporters who may be called and attacked as witnesses to the truth about marriage as part of God's plan for creation.

*****Days 4(afternoon)-5*****

Defense Counsel Shines in Marriage Trial
Keep Prayers Coming

January 15, 2010 -- To summarize the first week of the trial about traditional marriage and marriage supporters, the plaintiffs have been trying to make a case that there is no rational reason to restrict marriage to just a man and a woman. On the opening day, we heard from the plaintiffs, two same-sex couples. They were followed by “expert” witnesses who turned out to be same-sex “marriage” advocates. One thing that has really impressed me is the great job ProtectMarriage.com lawyers are doing in poking holes in the testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, both undermining their credibility and extracting concessions that conflicted with the points they were trying to make.

On Thursday afternoon, January 14, the plaintiffs called a clinical socio-medical sciences associate professor, Ilan H. Meyer, from Columbia University, to claim that Prop 8 contributes to stigmatization of gays and is harmful to their mental health. As the Alliance Defense Fund lawyer Dale Schowengerdt put it, “The theory seems to be that if California redefines marriage, society will be more accepting of their relationships, and thus their stress level will decrease.”

One example of stigmatization Meyer used to make his point is that “Young children do not aspire to be domestic partners. Marriage is a common, socially approved goal.” He later added, “We are raised to think that there are certain things that we want to achieve in life. Proposition 8 says that gays and lesbians cannot reach that goal.”

On Friday morning, Michael Lamb, a professor of developmental psychology from the University of Cambridge in England, was called to the stand to cite significant evidence from research that mothers and fathers do not really matter and that there is no difference in outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples.

On cross examination, Lamb had to admit that studies showing the importance of fathers and the importance of being raised by a child’s married biological parents were accurate in their findings. In fact, he ended up reluctantly agreeing that children are better off raised by their own mother and father than by divorced or single parents. In addition, he acknowledge that there are direct quantifiable benefits for children with married mothers and fathers over cohabitating couples, or homes with stepparents.

It became evident that the studies Lamb cited compared two-woman couples with a mixture of all other parenting alternatives – cohabitating couples, single fathers, single mothers, and married mothers and fathers – not a valid representation of what he was trying to portray. The defense lawyers continued to point out numerous flaws in various other studies he used to support his testimony.

The work being done by the lawyers representing the supporters of Prop 8 is outstanding.

Prayers (English / Spanish)

Please continue to pray. This week, Bill Tam, a sponsor of Prop 8 who was not involved with the campaign, will be called as a witness. Members of the Executive Committee, including ProtectMarriage.com Executive Director Ron Prentice and California Catholic Conference Executive Director Ned Dolejsi, and Campaign Manager Frank Schubert may all be called and subjected to examination to try to discredit them. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to fill these people and for the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

 

 

*****Days 3-4*****

Marriage Trial Still Progressing Well
Church Teaching Evidence of Discrimination
Keep Prayers Coming

January 14, 2010 -- Here is a summary of day 3 (Wednesday) and day 4 (Thursday) of the trial focusing on the beliefs of Prop 8 supporters and the future of marriage.

The big news yesterday was the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that permanently blocked televising the proceedings of the trial. As ProtectMarriage.com executive director Ron Prentice put it, “Our opponents had convinced the judge that televising this trial is a great opportunity to 'educate' the public about same-sex 'marriage'. But as we have repeatedly said, the courts should never become a tool to help advocacy groups sway public opinion. That is what political campaigns are for.”

The witnesses called by the plaintiffs' counsel on Wednesday and Thursday seem to be more geared to a PR strategy, that was thwarted by the Supreme Court decision, than dealing substantially with legal issues related to the constitutionality of defining marriage between a man and a woman.

Wednesday morning, the testimony of Professor George Chauncy from Yale continued on historical discrimination against gays and lesbians. Before the day was over, examples of the Church’s Magisterial teachings on homosexual unions were put into evidence.

On cross examination, Prof. Chauncy had to admit that the examples he gave on harassment of homosexuals were from years ago and things had significantly changed since then. He also had to admit that homosexuals had amassed a considerable amount of power and influence with people in the most powerful offices in the country. He ended up agreeing that it is possible to be against same-sex “marriage”, like President Obama, without morally disapproving of homosexuals. This was very good work by the lawyers representing the Prop 8 voters.

Chauncy and the plaintiffs’ counsel, following similar tactics used in the campaign, are attempting to replay Prop 8 as being about discrimination and discriminatory beliefs of voters. ProtectMarriage.com General Counsel Andy Pugno summed it up precisely by saying, “It is not about homosexuality, the adoption of kids by same-sex couples, or a continued iteration of former campaigns to prevent gay rights. In fact, Prop 8 is solely and exclusively about the definition of marriage. This case is about the right of 7 million California voters who reasonably concluded that marriage should be between a man and a woman, plain and simple.”

Day 4, today, started with somewhat bizarre testimony by Dr. Edmund Egan, San Francisco County’s chief economist. He argued that same-sex “marriage” should be legalized for economic reasons and talked about the benefits to San Francisco. As shallow as his argument was to start with, he finally admitted on cross examinations that hardly any of his finding were quantifiable. It was embarrassing.

Over the weekend, I will provide you with another update with more information on what happened this afternoon and Friday. I am trying to not overburden your mailbox.

For now, I am off to Fresno for a marriage advocate workshop for people who want to give better answers about the importance of traditional marriage in their homes and with friends and neighbors. With the foundations laid during the Prop 8 campaign, we are building an army of people who working together can more effectively promote the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society. For more information, go to http://standwithchildren.org

Prayers (English / Spanish)

We all appreciate your ongoing expressions of prayer. We have received emails about Masses being offered, fasting, rosaries, and prayer intentions at Masses. We are truly blessed to be in communion with each other through our Lord, Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. How wonderful it is to stand together in witness to the truth about God’s plan for creation -- marriage, the foundation of the family.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.  

*****Day 2******

Marriage Trial Difficult, but Progressing Well
Keep Prayers Coming

January 12, 2010 -- We are so grateful for the notes and messages expressing prayerful support for the trial that started Monday, January 11. Marriage for the whole country is hanging in the balance.

As you have no doubt heard, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked TV cameras in the court room, but they are reviewing their decision on Wednesday (today). Many people are curious to see the proceedings, especially because there is so much at stake, but TV cameras and posting footage on YouTube, as the Judge had proposed, plays right into the PR strategy of those trying to promote same-sex "marriage". Remember the beliefs of marriage supporters are on trial. Can you imagine how testimony can be edited and manipulated to make supporters of traditional marriage look like religious zealots? Please pray that the Supreme Court continues to ban TV cameras.

The opening arguments on Monday by the plaintiffs' attorneys were difficult to listen to. They essentially said there is no rational reason to preserve marriage exclusively between a man and a woman. Denying same-sex "marriage" by passing constitutional amendments like Prop 8 in California and similar measures in other states is really nothing but an act of bigotry.

The plaintiffs' attorneys started their case by putting their clients on the witness stand, a lesbian couple and a gay couple who are challenging Prop 8. They were followed by so-called expert witnesses who were questioned about the history of marriage and the history of discrimination against gays. The first was discredited by the defense counsel as more of an advocate for same-sex "marriage" than a knowledgeable scholar on marriage. The other will be cross examined on Wednesday.

Many have been asking about progress of the trial. Ron Prentice, executive director of ProtectMarriage.com and Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Prop 8 campaign and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund are providing daily updates on the proceedings. Andy's are posted on the ProtectMarriage.com blog twice a day, and starting today, we will forward Ron's excellent summaries of this historic trial to you. We hope it won't be too much. Let us know if it is too much by replying to this email and we will remove you from the update list.

Prayers sheets now available in Spanish

We have had requests for the special prayers and petitions for the trail in Spanish. Thanks to one of our co-chairs, they are now posted on the website (English / Spanish)

Prayer for the lawyers, the judge, and the plaintiffs is important, but especially remember the entire ProtectMarriage.com campaign team who will be called by the plaintiffs' counsel as witnesses -- the ProtectMarriage.com Executive Committee, key supporters, members of the campaign management team -- all of whom will be under personal attack. Please pray for the grace for our witnesses to be able to respond with Christ's love in the face of hostile questioning by some of the most clever and talented attorneys in the country.
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Follow the trial progress on the ProtectMarriage.com Blog

Day 2 Update from Ron Prentice:

Our stellar team of defense lawyers had another strong day undercutting the arguments of the plaintiffs’ experts in the federal court challenge to Proposition 8 (Perry v Schwarzenegger). As our General Counsel Andy Pugno reported earlier in the day the cross examination of Harvard Professor Nancy Cott was “a disaster” for the plaintiffs’ case.

Under cross examination by David Thompson, one of our defense litigators, Professor Cott first had to concede that she is not a neutral, independent expert as she had been presented for people to believe. In fact, Thompson got her to admit that she is an advocate for gay marriage and has testified in favor of same-sex marriage before legislatures, contributed to groups advocating for gay marriage and signed onto legal briefs in court cases seeking to legalize gay marriage. One of the groups that she has financially supported has openly encouraged polyamory as an alternative to traditional marriage. Polyamorous relationships are those involving three or more people who have a sexual relationship within a ‘group marriage.’

From a legal perspective, Cott made a particularly damaging concession that the public interest in promoting the raising of children by both a mother and father is a purpose that is promoted by traditional marriage. She also undermined the plaintiff’s characterization of marriage as a purely private decision when she conceded marriage is a highly public relationship in which society has great interest.

Professor George Chauncey of Yale University was the next plaintiff expert. He delivered interesting testimony about the history of discrimination that homosexuals have felt in America. His testimony included examples of gays and lesbians being jailed for engaging in homosexual sex, losing their jobs and being denied access to public accommodations because of their homosexuality. What Professor Chauncey didn’t explain, however, was what relevance past discrimination has to do with the constitutionality of Proposition 8. As the day was coming to a close, David Thompson began his cross examination and elicited an admission that, like Professor Cott, Chauncey is a gay marriage supporter who has contributed to several groups advocating the legalization of same-sex marriage. Tomorrow, Thompson is expected to question Professor Chauncey over his views that the messaging of the ProtectMarriage.com campaign is simply a continuation of past discrimination against homosexuals.

We have many days to go in the trial over traditional marriage. Today was a very good day. Several of our supporters in the courtroom asked our attorneys to dinner, in order to thank them for their efforts! Unfortunately, each of them declined because they needed to return to their temporary offices in San Francisco to immerse themselves in preparation for tomorrow’s hearing.

I hope that our communications over the past two days have given you a sense of the monumental effort being put forth to defend your vote and preserve traditional marriage. Please continue to support us with your prayers and financial sacrifice.

Sincerely,

Ron Prentice, Executive Director



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