January 11, 2010
By Rick Jacobs
Starting thread two, since the first one was starting to get a bit long.
[UPDATE 10:44] Cooper’s only argument seems to be that the evidence will show that if gay marriage is legal, it will lead to higher divorce rates and lower rates of marriage. Blackenhorn will somehow demonstrate that.
Our point is that the plaintiffs cannot prove that the damage will not occur. Same sex marriage is too novel to prove that it won’t harm.
Judge: Any evidence that his happened in other countries?
Cooper: there is evidence; we believe it will show.
They are now saying that we have to prove that gay marriage will NOT harm opposite sex marriage. By that logic, no change is allowed, progress is rejected, until we can prove that the change represents “no threat.”
But it’s impossible to see how this can work except for the fact that three states had judges rule that same sex marriage is legal. In other words, if we didn’t have same sex marriage, we could not prove that same sex marriage will hurt us. Huh? They oppose it everywhere but they now say we should keep it as an experiment? So they should support same sex marriage in the five states! Let’s hold them to that!
[UPDATE] 10:53 Cooper’s case seems to rely nearly 100% on the testimony of Mr. Blankenhorn. I hope for their sake that this guy is the Albert Einstein of right wing social science. If not, they have nothing. Every time the judge asks how they are going to prove their case, Cooper says, “Mr. Blankenhorn will show you.” I can’t wait for that!
The other leg of the case is that “you will hear nothing but predictions” about what same sex marriage will bring because there is not enough history of same sex marriages. So here’s the deal: if we make a change in the definition of marriage without enough history then we will make a mistake.
At end, this really is about progress vs. conservatism. Cooper says essentially if you can’t prove there won’t be harm, you can’t make the change. That means do nothing.
And now Cooper says that only the people of California and the neighboring states and my home state can decide what the constitution demands. Not you, not the ninth circuit, not the supreme court can decide.
Judge Walker: But many times do judges take issues out of the hands of the body politic; why is this different?
Cooper: Because marriage is not covered by the Equal Protection clause. In Loving, we saw that the fourteenth amendment was specifically to deal with race, not this.
[UPDATE] 11:11 We are on a quick break. My laptop is juicing up and I’ll likely be relying on sending updates in from my BlackBerry.
[UPDATE] 11:26 The plantiff:
The love of my life. I love him probably more than I love myself. I would do anything for him. I would put his needs aheadof my own. I would be with him in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, just like the vows. I would do anything to marry him.
Been in relationship for nine years. The word marriage has a special meaning. It’s why we’re here today. If it wasn’t so important, we would not be here today. I want to feel the same joy and happiness that my parents, my friends, coworkers felt when they got married. It’s the logical next step for us.
You believe if you were married it would change your relationship?
Absolutely. One’s capacity to love and be committed can grow. That would happen with us.
[UPDATE] 11:34 If you were married happily, would it change the way other people who don’t know about you treat you?:
Sure. When someone is married, when they notice it because of my ring or something else, they see that the couple is committed and that they hope to stay committed together for the rest of their lives.
We have not had children because Paul and I believe that it’s an important step for us to be married before we have children. IT would make it easier for us and our children to explain our relationship. It would afford different protections for our child. If we enter into that institution, we would want all of the protections so nothing could eradicate that nuclear family.
We have not registered for domestic partnership because it would relegate me to second class citizenship or maybe even third class citizenship the way things are in California now. It’s part of the pie. We hold marriage in such high regard that if we get marriage, the civil union of the past would not be sufficient recognition of our relationship.
[UPDATE] 11:47Zarello (one of the plaintiffs): Prop. 8 has emboldened other states to take action to discriminate against us. We cannot turn on TV or read a blog without having these daily reminders of what I cannot have.
Have you been placed in awkward or embarrassing situations because you are not married?
When Paul and I travel, it’s always awkward at the front desk. Numerous occasions when individual the front desk will look at us with a perplexed look and say you ordered a king size bed? Is that what you really want?
When we opened a bank account and said, “My partner and I want to open a bank account,” which leads to the bank thinking we wanta business account. IT would be much easier if we could say, “MY husband and I want to open a bank account.”
Have you ever been asked to describe your marital status?
It’s very awkward. I proudly wear my ring on my left hand to signify my commitment. People ask, “how long have you been married? What does your wife do?” Leaves me having to deliver the news that I am a gay man, that my husband or domestically partnered gay man works in the fitness industry. That leads to a continued awkward discsussion.
If state says you cannot marry a man, would you marry someone of the opposite sex?
No! I have no attraction to or desire to marry someone of the opposite sex.
If you were forced to marry someone of the opposite sex, would that lead to a stable relationship?
[UPDATE] 12:00It’s really hard to listen to Jeff (one of the plaintiffs). Every time he talks about his life, about his past, about being in the closet because it was not right to be open, because I’m told to thing of myself of a bad person, to be put in a corner and told you’re different.
This hurts deep in my gut. I remember that feeling growing up.
And yesterday at LAX, on the way up here, I was going through security. I removed my sunglasses and said, “I want you to be able to see my beautiful eyes.” The guard said, “Don’t ever say that to another man.”
Now Jeff is talking about how difficult it is to respond to folks who say, “you don’t have that right to get married, nor should you.”
There was an image that used children in the campaign for prop. 8. Protect the children was a big part of the campaign. When you protect children, you protect them from a pedophile or a criminal. You don’t protect yourself from a good or amicable person. Yet when they say they are protecting them from me, it’s so damning. I love kids. If you put my nieces and nephews on the stand right now, I’d be the cool uncle.
Don’t point your finger at me and put me in the category of those against whom you have to protect your children.
[UPDATE] 12:05 They are now playing a Prop. 8 ad. It’s the one about the little girl being allowed to marry a princess. “It’s already happened.”
How does that line, “Protect our Children. Restore Marriage,” make you feel?
What are you protecting them from? Are you protecting them by denying them certain rights? If so, that’s what they are doing. The threats are insulting. They are demonizing us. Why?
(There’s a big back and forth because the Prop. 8 side does not want any of these ads to be aired from the campaign. The Prop. 8 side thinks that not enough notice was given. The judge said that the witness would remain available for another 48 hours in case the good guys cannot prove enough notice was given.)
We’re taking a little break for the Prop. 8 side to chat amongst themselves about the question of when the list of exhibits was made available to them. But what the heck? Do you think they had not seen the ad? They used it all the time in California and then again in Maine. Maybe they should check out their own side’s website.
NOTE: A third thread has been started. Click here for the latest from the courtroom.