Archive for the ‘Prop 8’ Category

NOM Doesn’t Care Judge Is Gay, But It’s Wrong

NOM's infamously bigoted commercial "Storm Coming"

In an update to Sunday’s story about Prop 8 Trial Judge Vaughn Walker being gay, NOM  (people from the “storm is coming” commercial) has released a statement that it doesn’t matter he’s gay.. he’s just incredibly biased.

While both official sides in the Prop 8 Trial case are both claiming that they don’t care about the orientation of Judge Walker and that it has not impacted the case, the far right asshats are flying in with their nonsensical rhetoric. NOM (LDS Inc. controlled National Organization for Marriage) released a statement saying, “We have no idea whether the report [of Walker’s orientation] is true or not. But we do know one really big important fact about Judge Walker: He’s been an amazingly biased and one-sided force throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee. That’s no secret at all”

Queerty has some opinions on that, saying “..this move is true to form for the National Organization for Marriage.. It’s the “smiling bigot” phenomenon, where religious beliefs are slyly substituted for important secular responsibilities like “family and children,” hoping nobody notices. It’s imperative for NOM, and the defendants in Perry, to put distance between their goal (banning gay marriage) and their reasoning for it (it goes against religious teachings), because courts regularly shoot down arguments tied to the cross. And Brown’s statement repeats NOM’s earlier positions: They don’t have anything wrong with gay people, they just don’t want them screwing with their sacred institution.”

Of course these days anything NOM says is almost inconsequential as they’re under federal investigation for their ties to the Mormon Church and their direct and illegal involvement in the passage of Maine’s Anti-Gay Marriage law in 2009.


Prop 8 Trial Judge Outed As Gay

Prop 8 Trial Judge Vaughn Walker Outed As Gay

Today the San Francisco Chronicle outed Prop 8 Trial Judge Walker as gay, which has apparently been known to most insiders in the case – including the defense – but is only now being given media attention.

The chronicle states: The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage being heard in San Francisco is that the federal judge who will decide the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, is himself gay. Many gay politicians in San Francisco and lawyers who have had dealings with Walker say the 65-year-old jurist, appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, has never taken pains to disguise – or advertise – his orientation.

They also don’t believe it will influence how he rules on the case he’s now hearing – whether Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure approved by state voters to ban same-sex marriage, unconstitutionally discriminates against gays and lesbians. “There is nothing about Walker as a judge to indicate that his sexual orientation, other than being an interesting factor, will in any way bias his view,” said Kate Kendell, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is supporting the lawsuit to overturn Prop. 8. As evidence, she cites the judge’s conservative – albeit libertarian – reputation, and says, “There wasn’t anyone who thought (overturning Prop. 8) was a cakewalk given his sexual orientation.”

Although the defense is ‘claiming’ that they will not make an issue of this should Judge Walker rule against Prop 8, it is certain the extremist right will – and already is.

Prop 8 Trial! Day 11 Summary

Prop 8 Trial Day 11 Summary, from Howard Mintz:

2:45 p.m.: Prop 8 witness says marriage a natural institution not driven by religion

Proposition 8 witness David Blankenhorn is continuing to air his opinion that marriage is designed for child-raising, and that it is a natural institution developed through history and culture, not one driven by religion. Blankenhorn rejected the contention that marriage is simply a private adult relationship. “I do not believe that is consistent with the human record,” he said.

Proposition 8 attorney Charles Cooper asked Blankenhorn whether a belief in marriage being solely designed for a union between a man and a woman is the result of “anti-homosexual prejudice.” Blankenhorn insisted there is no evidence of that. “I looked for it, and I can’t find it.”

It is a safe prediction that plaintiffs attorney David Boies has found it and will grill Blankenhorn on the topic during cross-examination.

2 p.m.: Expert says marriage a “socially approved sexual relationship between a man and a woman.”

Proposition 8 attorney Charles Cooper did not wait long to get to the point in his questioning of his witness, David Blankenhorn, who is testifying on the purpose of marriage and the importance of procreation to the institution. “What is marriage?” Cooper asked. “A socially approved sexual relationship between a man and a woman,” Blankenhorn replied.

“What does marriage do?” Cooper continued. “The most important thing it does is regulate affiliation. It establishes who are the child’s legal and social parents,” Blankenhorn said. He then insisted reproduction is a “primary purpose” of marriage.

Plaintiffs attorney David Boies had objected to Blankenhorn being an expert on the subject of marriage and procreation, noting that he has a master’s degree in labor history and has never taught on marriage-related issues. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled against Boies, although he didn’t exactly give Blankenhorn’s qualifications a ringing endorsement. “Were this a jury trial,” the judge said, “the question might be a close one.” Walker is hearing the case without a jury.

1:23 p.m.: Prop 8 witness to talk about importance of procreation to marriage

The Proposition 8 trial is now resuming with testimony from the defense’s second, and perhaps final, witness, David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values. Blankenhorn is being called to the stand to testify on the importance of procreation to the institution of marriage. This is a hotly contested component of the same-sex marriage debate. Supporters of Proposition 8 insist that same-sex marriage would undermine traditional heterosexual marriage and its purpose of procreation. Gay marriage advocates, in short, consider this argument weak both legally and socially, stressing that scores of heterosexual couples marry without having children and that having children is not a prerequisite of marriage.

The subtext is that the plaintiffs insist that Proposition 8 is fueled by bias against gays and lesbians and has not legitimate purpose. Defenders of the law use procreation as one argument that the gay marriage ban does have a purpose that is not discriminatory.

To underscore the importance of the issue to the Proposition 8 legal team, lead defense attorney Charles Cooper is handling the questioning of Blankenhorn.

12:07 p.m.: Judge asks question about judicial intervention

Kenneth Miller, the Proposition 8 defense’s first witness, is done with his testimony. The Claremont McKenna College political science professor spent a full day on the witness stand, arguing that the political might of gays and lesbians is on the upswing. Proposition 8 lawyers put him on the stand to refute the testimony of a plaintiffs expert who maintains that gays and lesbians remain vulnerable in the political process and need greater legal protections.

At the end of Miller’s testimony, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker interjected a few questions related to his role in evaluating the constitutionality of a voter-approved ballot initiative. Miller had mentioned that ballot initiatives were popularized to offset “judicial activism.” The judge asked: “Are you saying it is never appropriate for judges to intervene in the initiative process?” No, Miller replied.

“What I’m trying to tease out is what are the circumstances” for judicial intervention? Walker asked. Miller replied that judges should step in when established constitutional principles are violated by an initiative.

The judge has taken the daily lunch break. Proposition 8 defenders are now expected to call David Blankenhorn, who will testify on the importance of procreation to marriage.

11:41 a.m.: Tense exchange between prof and plaintiffs’ attorney

Plaintiffs attorney David Boies has finished cross-examining Proposition 8 expert witness Kenneth Miller, called to assert that gays and lesbians have gained political clout and conflict plaintiffs experts who’ve characterized gays and lesbians as vulnerable in the political process.

Boies and Miller had a series of tense exchanges, the lawyer impatient with indirect answers and Miller frustrated by attempts to cut off longer explanations. In the end, Boies tried to make the point that powerful religious organizations used Proposition 8 to “impose their will on a religious minority” and deny same-sex couples the right to wed. Miller would only concede that a religious majority should generally not be able to use the law to deprive a minority of rights, steering clear of anything specific to Proposition 8.

Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office made a quick appearance at that point, as Chief Judge Vaughn Walker asked whether a deputy wanted to respond to a claim in Miller’s testimony that the attorney general can act as a check to legal deprivations in the ballot initiative process. Brown, of course, has argued that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, remaining on the sidelines during the trial, even though the state is a defendant. Deputy Attorney General Tamara Pachter asked Miller whether there is any other role in the process for an attorney general other than writing the neutral ballot language; the political-science professor said he was not aware of one.

Walker then asked Miller whether an attorney general “can do more” than just write the ballot language, a question apparently aimed at whether the state’s top lawyer can evaluate a measure’s constitutionality before it goes to the voters. Miller had no information on the topic.

Proposition 8 attorney David Thompson is questioning Miller under redirect.

10:52 a.m.: Cross-examination of prof continues

Plaintiffs attorney David Boies is hammering away at Proposition 8 expert Kenneth Miller on the professor’s assertion yesterday that churches could be counted among the political allies gays and lesbians have in the political process. Miller, a Claremont McKenna College professor, is on the stand to maintain that gays and lesbians are accumulating political power, trying to refute the plaintiffs’ argument that in fact gays and lesbians remain politically powerless and vulnerable to discrimination in the political process as a result. Miller listed a host of political figures and others who go to bat for gay and lesbian rights, and included some of California’s churches in that category.

But Boies has put Miller on the spot when it comes to Proposition 8, citing the fact that the two largest churches in the state, by far (Roman Catholic and evangelical Christians), not only supported a ban on same-sex marriage, but were leading movers in the Proposition 8 campaign. Boies also noted the crucial role of the Mormon church. Overall, Boies asked Miller, didn’t religious organizations support Proposition 8 in a way that dwarfed the role of churches that sided with the No on Proposition 8 campaign? Weren’t religious attitudes “critical” in the push to pass Proposition 8?

Miller tepidly conceded each point, calling religious attitudes a “factor” in the vote. With “caveats,” he also acknowledged that religious groups played a more substantial role in supporting the gay marriage ban.

The cross-examination continues.

9:46 a.m.: Prof’s writing: Initiatives can be used to repeal benefits for minority groups

Kenneth Miller, a Claremont McKenna professor and expert for the Proposition 8 defense, continues to face the cross-examination of plaintiffs attorney David Boies. Boies has been focusing on past writings and research Miller has done on the ballot initiative process, confronting him with some past observations he’s made about the impact of such measures on minority groups. In particular, Miller has written that initiatives can be used to circumvent legislatures to get issues before voters, and that it has been used in various instances to repeal benefits for minority groups.

Proposition 8’s next witness is expected to be David Blankenhorn, who is supposed to testify on the importance of procreation to marriage.

8:47 a.m.: Claremont McKenna professor back on the stand

Kenneth Miller, a Claremont McKenna College professor and the Proposition 8 team’s first witness, will back on the stand. Plaintiffs attorney David Boies is cross-examining Miller, who has testified that gays and lesbians have been gaining political clout.

Mormon Hate Group Attacks Prop 8 Film

America Forever strikes again! The self-stylized righteous warriors of the group America Forever ( led by the ever loony Sandra Rodrigues) sent out thousands of faxes to Utah condemning the upcoming film “8: The Mormon Proposition.”

The flyer attacks not only Sundance in general, but most directly the film’s creator and director, Reed Cowan. Among the many lies is the claim that he wore a BYU shirt to the now-infamous “pig-sex” interview with Senator Chris Buttars in order to put Buttars at ease. But, in the photo below taken during the interview, it’s obvious that is not the case. The flyer also claims that without knowing it, Reed was victimized by the “homosexual movement” and is now a puppet moving at the whims of others.

America Forever has become the laughing stock of Utah, and even the ultra-conservative LDS (Mormon) Church has tried to separate from them. America Forever used to protest at almost every gay event with their “Shame On You” signs, but not lately. Insiders reported that Sandra Rodrigues’ Bishop (pastor in the Mormon Church) pulled her aside and asked her to stop protesting because she was “embarrassing the church.” Either way… these nutjobs make Gayle Ruzicka look good!

Reed’s film opens this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, amidst international excitement that the truth of the ’cause and effect of the Mormon Church’s involvement in Proposition 8 is being revealed. See the trailer here.

Reed Cowan and Senator Chris Buttars during the infamous "pig-sex" interview. Note: Reed is NOT wearing a BYU shirt.

Flyer Sent Out By America Forever

Prop 8 Trial! Day 8 Summary

Once again, from the desk of Howard Mintz:


4:54 p.m.: Plaintiff’s lawyer shows e-mails linking William Tam to Prop 8 campaign

The 8th day of the Prop. 8 trial is done. William Tam, a leading Prop. 8 proponent, spent an eventful afternoon on the stand. Plaintiffs attorney David Boies finished up by trying to debunk the Prop. 8 legal team’s attempt to portray Tam as a rogue official during the campaign who made harsh remarks about gays and lesbians without the stamp of approval from the Prop. 8 campaign. Boies showed a series of e-mails and other evidence that linked Tam to the campaign and leaders, and noted that he was directly involved in organizing rallies against same-sex marriage.

The trial resumes Friday with the plaintiffs final witness, UC-Davis psychology professor Greg Herek, who is expected to testify about the nature of homosexuality. Prop. 8 officials say they then have two expert witnesses to put on the stand.

(Read Howard Mintz’s recap of the day’s proceedings in the Proposition 8 trial later today online on this Web site and in tomorrow’s Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, and other Bay Area News Group papers. Return to this Web site for live coverage of the Proposition 8 trial each and every day court is in session).

4:21 p.m.: Prop 8 lawyer depicts proponent William Tam as a renegade

Prop. 8 attorney Nicole Moss moved swiftly through her cross-examination of Prop. 8 proponent William Tam, depicting him as a renegade whose often harsh comments about gays and lesbians were never authorized by the Prop. 8 campaign. It is an attempt to distance any Tam remarks that could be perceived as discriminatory from Prop. 8 and its official backers, Plaintiffs lawyer David Boies is about to resume questioning Tam. Surely, he will try to glue Tam back to Prop. 8’s campaign.

4:07 p.m.: Prop 8 proponent says he didn’t get his statements approved by campaign

Plaintiffs attorney David Boies has finished with William Tam, one of the Prop. 8 proponents, and he is now under cross-examination by Prop. 8 attorney Nicole Moss (although Tam is on the Prop. 8 side, it is cross, as he was called by the plaintiffs).

It appears that Tam is getting nudged under the bus a bit by the Prop. 8 team. Boies asked Tam about a variety of inflammatory statements he made about gay marriage during the Prop. 8 campaign, and Moss is now pressing Tam on whether he followed internal guidelines within the campaign to get any messages cleared by the Prop. 8 campaign manager. This was part of “message discipline” guidelines for the campaign’s officials. Asked by Moss whether he got his messages pre-approved, Tam said he did not.

The thrust of the questioning appears to be that Prop. 8 backers believe Tam went rogue during the campaign.Lawyers for same-sex couples are trying to use Tam to show that Prop. 8 was fueled by discrimination against gays and lesbians.

3:30 p.m.: Prop 8 proponent says allowing gay marriage would lead to incest, polygamy

William Tam, the Prop. 8 proponent still on the witness stand, has supplied the day’s sound bite describing his views of same-sex marriage. As plaintiffs attorney David Boies asked him about likening gay marriage to polygamy, incest and other illegal relationships, Tam said:

“I believe if the term marriage can be used beyond one man, one woman, then any two persons of any age, of any relationship, can use the same argument to come and ask for the term marriage. That would lead to incest. That would lead to polygamy. If this is a civil right, what would prevent other groups form asking for the same right.”

Tam uses the phrase “moral decay” to describe allowing gay marriage.

Tam’s testimony is a component of the plaintiffs attempt to show that Prop. 8 was fueled by hostility against gays and lesbians that renders the law discriminatory and a violation of their federal equal protection rights

2:41 p.m.: Prop 8 proponent grilled on views about homosexuality

Here we go. Plaintifs attorney David Boies is baring his Bush v. Gore fangs on William Tam, a leading proponent of Prop. 8 and ardent foe of same-sex marriage. He’s confronted Tam on his advocacy of Prop. 8 during the campaign, when he said allowing gay marriage would lead to legalizing prostitution as well as legalizing sex with children. Boies pointed to a position from Prop. 8 supporters that gays were 12 times more likely to molest children, a fact Tam said he believes.

Where’d you learn that? Boies asked. I don’t recall, Tam replied.

“I’m asking you what you read?” Boies asked, voice rising, wanting to know how that could be put out to support Prop. 8.

“I don’t remember,” Tam said. “Was it a book?” Boies kept on. “An article?” he asked. “Who wrote it?”

“I don’t know,” Tam said.

Boies continued to press on messages from gay marriage opponents that Tam endorsed, including the fact that San Francisco government was “run by homosexuals.” How could that be, the mayor isn’t homosexual, is he? Boies asked. Tam agreed. Boies asked why he pushed Prop. 8 by saying same-sex marriage would result in legalizing prostitution. “That didn’t have anything to do with Proposition 8, did it sir?” Boies asked.

“Right,” Tam said.

Boies also confronted Tam with e-mails in which he said California would fall into the “hands of Satan” if gay marriage were permitted. The questioning continues.

2:20 p.m.: Prop 8 leader supports domestic partner rights, also supports linking homosexuality to pedophilia

William Tam, a leading Prop. 8 proponent from San Francisco, has just outlined his primary reasons for supporting a ban on same-sex marriage, under questioning from plaintiffs attorney David Boies. “It is very important for the next generation to understand the historical meaning of marriage,” he said. “It is very important our children won’t grow up to fantasize or think about “should I marry Jane or John when I grow up.—

Tam said these principles are important to the Asian community, which he tried to mobilize in favor of Prop. 8.

Responding to Boies, Tam said he supported domestic partner rights for gays and lesbians, as well as protections in employment and housing. He said he had not “come to conclusion” about whether they should be permitted to adopt children. He did, however, support the message on a Web site that linked homosexuality to pedophilia.

At the same time, asked whether he considers himself “hostile to gays and lesbians,” Tam replied: “No, I don’t.”

1:40 p.m.: Prop. 8 proponent William Tam begins testimony

Proposition 8 proponent William Tam is on the witness stand, being questioned by plaintiffs attorney David Boies. Boies is starting slowly with Tam, going through how he got enlisted in the campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California. Tam’s lawyer has objected to any questions related to Tam’s political views or motivation for pushing Proposition 8, but it is clear Chief Judge Vaughn Walker will consider such questions fair game.

Tam’s testimony is a key ingredient in the plaintiffs’ effort to show that hostility and animus toward gays and lesbians fueled the passage of Proposition 8. Defenders say it was designed to preserve traditional marriage, not as a form of bias against gays and lesbians.

1:22 p.m.: Leading Prop. 8 proponent to take stand

The trial has resumed with William Tam, a leading Proposition 8 proponent, preparing to take the stand. His lawyer is currently asking Judge Vaughn Walker about Tam’s request to withdraw as a named intervenor in defense of Proposition 8 (Tam asked to withdraw because of what he considers the burden of the litigation and threats to his family.) Walker appears reluctant to let him out.

It is unlikely to have an impact on his testimony; he’s been subpoenaed either way.

12:13 p.m.: Lunch break, then Prop. 8 proponent will be on hot seat

Buckle your seat belts, Proposition 8 trial watchers. William Tam, a controversial proponent behind the ban on same-sex marriage, is ready to take the stand, setting up a chance for gay-marriage advocates to go toe to toe with a leading Proposition 8 backer who will be under oath in a federal courtroom.

Tam asked Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to let him out of the legal challenge as a named defendant, worried about threats to his family and himself from gay rights advocates. Now, Tam will be in the hot seat. Among other things, he has said gay marriage would lead to “legalizing having sex with children,” and encourage children to embrace a homosexual lifestyle. He also said same-sex marriage is the work of Satan.

But first, lunch. Walker has taken the daily break.

Stanford law Professor Gary Segura finished up a full day of testimony, reiterating his central point, that gays and lesbians are bereft of true political power and are as vulnerable as any minority group to ever encounter discrimination.

11:22 a.m.: Prof likens gay and lesbian boycotts, protest to civil rights movement of 1960s

Proposition 8 lawyer David Thompson has finished his cross-examination of Stanford professor and plaintiffs expert Gary Segura, although, it would appear, reluctantly. After spending all afternoon Wednesday and through this morning in his questioning, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker indicated he’d given Thompson more than enough time to make his point with Segura, who is on the stand to outline the vulnerability of gays and lesbians in the American political process. Indeed, when Thompson was prepared to keep going, the judge interceded, saying the length of his examination was “at the edge of the pale.” (Not beyond, mind you, at the edge).

Thompson asked one more question and retreated to the defense table. Plaintiffs attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. is now requestioning Segura, trying to counteract Thompson’s line of attack on the issue of gay and lesbian boycotts, protests and incidents of confronting Proposition 8 supporters. Segura, likening it to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, said such incidents aren’t always positive, but added, “I don’t think that’s indictment of the entire group.”

10:46 a.m.: Bill O’Reilly makes cameo appearance via video clip

Familiar faces in the national debate over same-sex marriage continue to make cameos in the Proposition 8 trial. This time, it was Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, shown in a video clip of one of his shows during the Proposition 8 campaign. Proposition 8 attorney David Thompson introduced the clip of an interview with a young woman who said she was attacked in San Francisco’s Castro District during a demonstration before the election, supposedly hit over the head by a “gay activist” with a bible and assaulted. Thompson was using the clip as part of his effort in cross-examining plaintiffs expert Gary Segura to show incidents of unruly and violent outbursts by gays and lesbians against supporters of Proposition 8. The Stanford professor has been testifying for nearly a full day on what he considers the political vulnerability of gays and lesbians.

Judge Vaughn Walker did ask Segura whether he’d explored any political fallout against African-Americans as a result of riots and demonstrations during the 1960s civil rights movement. It wasn’t entirely clear where the judge was going with that one.

When Segura is done testifying, the trial will shift into full confrontation mode with the testimony of William Tam, a controversial leader in the Proposition 8 campaign.

10:05 a.m.: Lawyer introduces information about attacks on Prop. 8 supporters

Chief Judge Vaughn Walker just took a brief break in the Proposition 8 trial, in part to swear in two lawyers to the federal bar. Stanford Professor Gary Segura remains under cross-examination, and will be stuck there for another hour. (Proposition 8 lawyer David Thompson told the judge he was moving slower than he anticipated, to which the judge replied: Yes, you are.) Thompson has introduced information about several incidents of vandalism or physical attacks on Proposition 8 supporters during the campaign, trying to get Segura to admit they undercut gay and lesbian political power. Segura has acknowledged such incidents never look good for any side, but downplays their importance in the larger picture of gay and lesbian political clout (or lack of it).

9:23 a.m.: Prop. 8 lawyer: Religious belief spurred voter attitudes

Stanford University political-science Professor Gary Segura has been back under cross-examination by Proposition 8 lawyer David Thompson, who is probing the plaintiffs’ expert on the religious motivations behind voters approving California’s ban on same-sex marriage. At one point, when Thompson noted that religious beliefs spurred voter attitudes, Segura quipped: “Mr. Thompson, have you switched sides? That is correct.”

Segura has been testifying for nearly a day on the political “powerlessness” of gays and lesbians that leaves them vulnerable and in need of greater federal constitutional protection, an important ingredient in the attempt to invalidate Proposition 8. Proposition 8 supporters insist voters support a gay marriage ban to protect traditional heterosexual marriage, not out of hatred and bias against gays and lesbians.

The plaintiffs have two witnesses left today and tomorrow. One is William Tam, a controversial Proposition 8 proponent, and the other is Greg Herek, a University of California-Davis psychology professor who will testify on mental health research on gays and lesbians and the impact of denying them the right to marry.

8:25 a.m.: Cross-examination of Stanford prof about to resume

The Proposition 8 trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. Stanford University Professor Gary Segura will be back on the stand under cross-examination by Proposition 8 lawyers. Segura has been testifying that gays and lesbians don’t have meaningful political power. Proposition 8 lawyers indicated late Wednesday that they plan to cross-examine Segura for about 90 minutes more.

Mormon Prop 8 Involvement Exposed During Prop 8 Trial!

In an explosive afternoon in California, internal memos within the LDS (Mormon) Church have been introduced!

Even after Pro-8 counsel fought furiously to keep them hidden, documents from within the LDS/Mormon hierarchy were ruled as valid by Judge Walker today. The first was an email describing the Prop 8 Campaign as “entirely under direction of the priesthood.” As the email was read it covered incredible details, such as the fact that the Mormon church had a “key-leader in every zip code in California,” organizing the efforts of pro-8. The document also describes plan for grassroots organizing based on church wards led by ward priests. Apparently, the LDS church had an average of 20,000 volunteers walking neighborhoods at any given time.

The 2nd document is a record of the minutes in a meeting of the LDS officials. It details that Mormons were “not to take the lead, but to work within the coalition” in order to minimize negative impact on the church. In other-words, the documents make it clear that 2 way flow of info between the campaign and the church was regular, but church pretended to lay low. The LDS church pushed for the campaign to provide the talking points, and it would provide the volunteers.

With the documents, we now know that Prop 8 was primarily coordinated between the Catholic Church, the Mormons and Focus on the Family. Expert witnesses describe this kind of coordination as “unprecedented” in the taking away of civil liberties of citizens.

The documents were found by “8: The Mormon Proposition” director Reed Cowan.

Prop 8 Trial; Day 6 Summary

Prop 8 Trial; Day 6 Summary. This post reads BACKWARDS as it comes from live updates. Enjoy! As reported by Howard Mintz.


4:05 p.m.: Trial wraps up for day, gay man will testify tomorrow about “conversion therapy”

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has wrapped up the 6th day of the Prop. 8 trial. Plaintiffs expert Lee Badgett finished her long day on the stand, testifying that nothing in the cross-examination from Prop. 8 lawyer Charles Cooper altered her stance that same-sex marriage is superior to domestic partnership and would not cause any harm to heterosexual marriage.

The trial resumes Wednesday morning with the testimony of Ryan Kendall, a gay man who is expected to recount going through “conversion therapy” in his youth. Plaintiffs lawyers have indicated they will finish their case Wednesday. It remains unclear whether they intend to call any leaders of the Prop. 8 campaign. Prop. 8 lawyers, meanwhile, say they know they have two experts who will testify for their side, quite a few less than originally forecast. Prop. 8 lawyer Andrew Pugno said some witnesses refused to testify with the prospect of a televised trial still in the air.

(Read Howard Mintz’s recap of the day’s proceedings in the Proposition 8 trial later today online on this Web site and in tomorrow’s Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, and other Bay Area News Group papers. Return to this Web site for live coverage of the Proposition 8 trial each and every day court is in session).

3:44 p.m.: Conflicting views on impact of same-sex marriage on heterosexual marriage

UMass professor Lee Badgett is back under more friendly questioning from plaintiffs attorney David Boies. Prop. 8 lawyer Charles Cooper wrapped up his cross-examination, trying to undermine Badgett’s conclusion that same-sex marriage would not have any impact on heterosexual marriage. Cooper tried to use charts showing some drop in heterosexual marriage rates in the Netherlands since same-sex marriage was permitted more than eight years ago, but that just prompted a debate over the meaning of such trends. Boies is going over the Netherlands data as well, and the bottom line on trends of marriage and divorce is that each side appears able to make something out of the numbers.

The plaintiffs next witness is Ryan Kendall, a gay man who will testify of the effects of undergoing “conversion therapy” when he was young. It is not clear whether Kendall will make it to the stand today, or be pushed back until tomorrow morning.

2:54 p.m.: Defense questions expert’s estimate of same-sex couples who would marry

Prop. 8 lawyer Charles Cooper appears close to finishing his cross-examination of plaintiffs expert Lee Badgett. Cooper has spent several hours challenging Badgett’s assumptions on the benefits of domestic partnership laws and whether they offer lesser protections and rights to same-sex couples. He also is trying to poke holes in her estimates of the economic costs to denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry in California; she has pegged the loss to the state’s economy at hundreds of millions of dollars over a three or four year period. Cooper is questioning whether her estimates on the number of same-sex couples who would even marry are reliable. Badgett insists they are. Cooper kept pressing her on her support for gay marriage.

At one point, she shot back, “Based on my research I think it’s good for people and doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

1:50 p.m.: Trial back in session after dueling news conferences

The Proposition 8 trial has resumed after the lunch break with the cross-examination of University of Massachusetts Professor Lee Badgett. Over the break, the two sides in the trial held dueling news conferences, with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders appearing with his lesbian daughter, Lisa Sanders, by his side. Sanders, who married partner Meghan in Vermont last month, said she was “very proud” of her Republican father’s decision to come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

Sanders, meanwhile, said it was tough to testify on the subject because he had to publicly acknowledge that his past position in favor of civil unions and against gay marriage was necessarily prejudiced. “I was wrong about that,” Sanders told reporters. “It was something I wanted to make people understand today.”

Proposition 8 counsel Andrew Pugno called Sanders’ testimony part of the plaintiffs’ approach of trying to offer emotional accounts in a matter that should be decided by law and facts. “They are just completely irrelevant,” Pugno said of testimony from witnesses describing their own views on same-sex marriage.

12:37 p.m.: Cross-exam of prof expected to last a couple more hours

Judge Vaughn Walker has just taken the daily lunch break in the Proposition 8 trial. Proposition 8 lawyer Charles Cooper said he has a “couple more hours” of cross-examination of plaintiffs expert Lee Badgett, who only testified for about one hour under questioning from plaintiffs lawyers. Cooper is trying to challenge Badgett’s assumptions that domestic-partnership laws are not adequate for same-sex couples, offering up figures that many gay and lesbian couples registered as domestic partners in 2008, when marriage was available for part of the year. Cooper asked whether those couples considered domestic partnership “socially and culturally second-rate to marriage,” but Badgett was not persuaded. “I don’t know exactly what conclusion you could draw,” she said.

11:52 a.m.: Professor cross-examined: Is she ‘a gay-rights activist’?

After little more than an hour under questioning from plaintiffs attorney David Boies, Professor Lee Badgett is now being cross-examined by lead Proposition 8 attorney Charles Cooper. Cooper’s initial questions are similar to those asked of the other plaintiffs experts, meant to depict them as supporting same-sex marriage and opposing California’s ban on gay marriage.

“Would it be fair to call you a gay rights activist?” Cooper asked Badgett at one point. She said she was “not sure” what Cooper meant, insisting her views are based on 20 years of studying the economic impacts of denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

It is a fair bet that Badgett will spend more than an hour under cross-examination from Cooper.

11:32 a.m.: Prof: Gay couples prefer marriage over civil unions

Lee Badgett, a plaintiffs expert and University of Massachusetts professor, is continuing to detail what she considers the downsides of denying same-sex couples the right to marry. Among other things, she said research shows domestic partnerships and civil unions are not an adequate substitute to marriage.

For example, she showed the court data on the first year of giving those benefits to same-sex couples in different states, with marriage by far the preferred choice for gay and lesbian couples (37 percent opted to marry the first year it became available in Massachusetts, but couples chose civil unions in other states 12 percent of the time, and just 10 percent opted for domestic partnerships in the first year partnership laws were enacted).

There is “very clear evidence that many people would marry but would not become domestic partners,” she told Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.

“Marriage is a way for two individuals to form a more strongly committed relationship,” she said later.

Proposition 8 supporters maintain that domestic partnership benefits are sufficient to protect the rights of same-sex couples. Badgett also said research refutes the argument that same-sex marriage damages traditional heterosexual marriage, saying “there is no evidence of any harmful effect” in allowing same-sex couples to wed.

10:51 a.m.: Prof: Prop. 8 has damaged California’s economy

Lee Badgett, a University of Massachusetts professor and plaintiffs expert, has outlined four conclusions she’s reached on Proposition 8’s impact in California, including a “substantial economic harm” to same-sex couples denied the right to marry, as well as damage to California’s overall economy. She also will testify on research that there is scant demographic difference between same-sex and heterosexual couples, and no evidence same-sex marriage harms children.

It appears Badgett’s expert testimony is going to get close attention from both sides in the trial. She is being questioned by David Boies, one of the plaintiffs’ top guns in the case, and the cross-examination is apparently going to be handled by Proposition 8’s lead lawyer, Charles Cooper. Based on the past cross-examinations of the plaintiffs experts, Badgett can expect a long day on the stand today.

10:11 a.m.: Defense presses San Diego mayor on views

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has completed his stay on the witness stand. Proposition 8 lawyer Brian Raum asked repeatedly questions to Sanders about his support for gay marriage, and attempted to get him to acknowledge that people who oppose gay marriage are not necessarily motivated by “animus” and “hostility.” Raum pressed the mayor about his past position favoring civil unions over same-sex marriage, and asked whether he was motivated then by “hatred” of gays and lesbians. “It can be a situation where it is not based on animus,” Sanders said. “That doesn’t mean it isn’t grounded in prejudice.”

The plaintiffs have moved on to their next witness, Lee Badgett, a University of Massachusetts professor who is expected to testify on the private harm to same-sex couples who are denied the right to marry. Plaintiffs attorney David Boies is just beginning to question Badgett, another in a line of experts called by the lawyers challenging Proposition 8’s constitutionality.

9:34 a.m. San Diego mayor chokes up describing daughter’s quest to marry partner

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has finished up his questioning of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who repeatedly choked up as he described his daughter Lisa’s quest to marry her partner, Meghan. The couple last year eventually went to Vermont to marry, but Sanders made it clear the couple should have been able to marry in their own state. “My daughter deserves the same opportunity to have a wedding in front of family, friends and co-workers, to have that recognized lawfully,” he told the courtroom.

Sanders is now being cross-examined by Proposition 8 lawyer Brian Raum, who appears to be trying to depict Sanders as closely aligned with the gay and lesbian community and to portray San Diego’s political establishment as “receptive” to gay and lesbian activists and issues. Not clear where that line of questioning is going, although it is possible Raum may try to use it to counteract the plaintiffs’ argument that gays and lesbians have traditionally been denied powers and rights in the political process.

9:12 a.m.: Conservative S.D. mayor’s personal evolution to accept gay marriage

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders continues to describe his evolution, personally and politically, on same-sex marriage. For the former police chief and conservative Republican, everything came to a head more than two years ago, as the city was considering filing an amicus brief in favor of gay marriage in the litigation in the state courts. Sanders publicly came out in favor of the position, deciding against a mayoral veto that may have played better politically in conservative San Diego. “If government tolerates discrimination against anyone for any reason, it becomes an excuse for the public to do the same thing,” he testified.

Sanders will be followed on the stand today by M.V. Lee Badgett, a University of Massachusetts professor who will testify on the “private harms” caused to gays and lesbians by denying them the right to marry, and Ryan Kendall, a gay man who will describe “conversion therapy” he was forced to undergo in his youth.

8:57 a.m.: Trial resumes with San Diego mayor testifying

The second week of the Proposition 8 trial just got under way. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has been on the stand for about 10 minutes, and is being questioned by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The Republican is testifying on his transformation on the gay-marriage issue, spurred in large part by the impact of his lesbian daughter, Lisa. Sanders choked up discussing how his daughter came home from college and told him she was lesbian. “I felt overwhelming love,” he said.

Sanders said he previously believed civil unions were adequate rights, but altered his view and went public with his support for same-sex marriage.