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Liveblog Day 4: Part I

Liveblogging

By Rick Jacobs

Good morning! The judge just sat down and is talking, but there’s no sound in the overflow room! Mr. Cooper is talking. I have heard that there is going to be further effort to keep the lid on this trial, but let’s see.

A few minutes ago, someone walked in to ask if everyone in this room is from the media.

Sounds is on.

[UPDATE] 8:51 Edwin A. Egan is up now. He’s Chief Economist, City and County of SF, director of the office of economic analysis within the controller’s office of SF. Was and still is Adjunct Prof. at UC Berkeley where he teaches grad students, teaches course “Urban and Regional Economy” to masters and PhD students. Before joining the county in 2007, worked on Toronto economic plan and before joining SF worked on SF plan. Published a series of articles on economic policy and analysis. Has PhD from UC Berkeley.

[UPDATE] 9:03 E: Exhibit 2324 is CV, which represents his academic experience. [It’s placed into evidence.] Describes his work in office of controller wherein they determine economic impact of any proposed SF Board of Supes legislation to insure that Board has full understanding of economic impact on legislation before they act. We look to see if legislation has real regulatory power to affect behavior of individuals, businesses to see how legislation would impact. If greater than $10 million of economic impact, we prepare written and verbal reports.

Reports are called economic impact reports. Reliant on government statistical data from state and federal governments as well as from city departments, information from people who work in the city and private sector sometimes.
We rely on research.

[Witness accepted as an opinion witness in the field for which designated.]

Have you undertaken analysis on the impact of same-sex married couples in SF?

Yes.

Similar to other analysis?

Yes, except we usually do not include state law.

Conclusions fro research?

E: Yes. Concluded negative economic impact on ban of same-sex marriage on SF.

Could this be applicable to other jurisdictions?

E: Yes, but I cannot say specifically.

[Slide that shows Lifetime Wealth Generation: Impact on City Revenue]

E: If marriage for same-sex marriage couples legalized, I believe we’d see an increase in married couples in SF. Married individuals tend to accumulate more wealth than individuals, which means there’d be more wealth in the city. People with higher wealth spend more which leads to higher consumer spending and higher real estate prices. Higher consumer spending leads to an increase in sales tax revenues (more spending, more tax) and higher real estate prices yield higher real estate taxes.

Challenging exercise to project amount of money that would come from increase in married couples. Have not tried to do that.

Other jurisdictions in California would benefit from the SF effect because state gets its share and so do other entities.

[Slide: Healthy Behaviors: Impact on City Revenue]

E: Legalizing same-sex marriage would create healthier behaviors of individuals. A number of articles in economic literature show that married individuals behave in more healthy ways and are more healthy. There’s a well known economic principle of healthy work force which yields higher wages due to higher worker productivity and this leads to higher payroll tax revenue for city.

Healthier behavior yields less reliance on healthcare system including public healthcare system which results in cost savings for county/city.

City’s general fund contribution to public health is $364 million per year.

[UPDATE] 9:08 E: Cost impact of legal same-sex marriage could be estimated, but we have not tried to do so.

E: in other jurisdictions where there is not payroll tax, higher business tax income would be present.

Does Domestic Partnership have same healthy affect on behavior as marriage? Would we still expect to see this impact with domestic partnership as marriage?

E: Some positive impact, but not as great as marriage because more people would marry than domestic partner so more people would have healthy behavior.

[Chart: Reduced Uninsured Population: Impact on Public Health Expenses]

E: Legalizing same-sex marriage would decrease cost of public health. In my opinion if same-sex marriage legal and folks marry and more companies extend benefits to same-sex couples, companies would cover partners who are now not covered. So if people can marry, they get insurance and that’s going to save the county money.

[UPDATE] 9:21[Looking at exhibit that is from Mr. Greg Sass, who is a person on whom Dr. Egan relies. It’s PX 2260. Prop. 8 objects to entering because it was not available to us. Our side says that document did not exist until a few days ago. Prop. 8 (Patterson) says they can’t verify that it’s legitimate. Judge says you were provided copy of document on Sunday evening and since document appears to have been produced on 30 December, hard for you to have had it much before Sunday evening. So let’s proceed and then I’ll rule on objection.]

[Questioning now proceeds on document.

Back and forth about whether Mr. Sass had previously provided E with information in preparation of testimony. Mr. Sass sent this email to me thinking it would help with my preparation for this. It’s the kind of information I would usually rely upon.

Judge admits document for what value it has. It appears to be from that national elevator industry association.]

E: My understanding that this document demonstrates a change in policy by the national elevator industry that used to provide benefits only for opposite sex partners in marriage but now offer to same-sex, but do not offer to domestic partners. Demonstrates that this shows that companies will offer benefits to same-sex married partners than to domestic partners. If more individuals are covered by married spouse’s plan, saves the county money by not having to provide publicly financed healthcare to one partner not covered.

[From Rick: Imagine how this applies to whatever we get finally for national healthcare. Think of Social Security, all the stuff that is provided to married couples, but gay and lesbian couples don’t get anything so they are a burden on the system and screwed.]

E: I think this principle would apply to all jurisdictions. You’d see this reduction in cost to uninsured. Every county in California spends a lot of money on healthcare for uninsured, which costs the state money, too.

[Chart: Reduced Discrimination: Impact on Need for Behavioral Health Services]

E: I believe legalized same-sex marriage would reduce discrimination against LGBT people. Prohibition of marriage against same sex couples is a form of discrimination. If that prohibition is removed, over time less discrimination against LGBTs. When I prepared my report, I spoke with someone in health department who said that use of public health services is disproportionately high due to discrimination. Consequently, reducing discrimination would reduce city costs. Can’t quantify exactly. We also don’t know exact amount gay and lesbians require of behavioral health services. Know city spends $2.5 million on LGTB specific programs, but cost is much broader, because we do not break out all costs. $360 million total spent on healthcare.

[Chart: Costs of Bullying: Impact on Local School District Funding.]

[UPDATE] 9:28 PX 810 shows that more that nearly 109,000 school absences are based on harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. $39.9 million per year in funding from state does not come due to these absences because schools get state money for days attended. To the extent that excessive absences reduce the quality of education, leads to long term negative economic consequences. Additional cost for enforcement.

[Looking at exhibits PX672-676. Prop. 8 says that they cannot use these for testimony on hate crimes because we did not have the chance to depose him on hate crimes because he is not an expert in hate crimes. Our side says these documents will back up what he says. Judge says he can cover topic of hate crimes generally, but not sure it opens door to putting into evidence. Our side argues that these documents were introduced by AG after Mr. Egan’s depo. Judge says the court can take judicial notice of the documents since they are official documents of the Dept. of Justice. Patterson says that he was not deposed on hate crimes. Judge says have to move on, then because you did not cover the subject in his report or depo, say can’t open up a whole new subject. ] ((No way to introduce hate crimes!))

[NOTE]: I’ve moved over to a second thread for the rest of Mr. Egan’s testimony.

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77 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. James Parmley  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:55 am

    I'm scared…! *not snark*

  • 2. Monica  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Wow! An adreneline rush first thing!?!? Good morning Rick. I've/we've been waiting for today to get underway. Your work is greatly appreciated.

  • 3. Miles  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Welcome back, Rick! Please tell your partner that we all really appreciate BOTH of you for your dedication to keeping us all informed. This is so important. But so is your personal life. Everyone who's put so much into this has my undying gratitude. Thanks!!

  • 4. Chad  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Jesus Christ. What in the hell is wrong with our judicial system. People have a right to know what goes on!

  • 5. Callie  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:57 am

    So media can be there, but god forbid, the random citizen is there when the courts are deciding on our civil rights!!!

    Thanks to all for making sure we hear the truth!

  • 6. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Welcome back Rick! I've been spreading the word for people to at least check out the daily summary. It's a shame that the general public won't have the opportunity to hear the testimony.

  • 7. M S  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:59 am

    O-*kay*! [clapping and rubbing hands together in anticipation]

    Caffeine in hand, browser refreshed, ready to read. Let justice roll down like waters…

  • 8. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:00 am

    My F5 key might wear out by the time this trial is over.

  • 9. Matthew S.  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Not that it's a big help now, but in the end, aren't the court transcripts public record? Maybe some forward-thinking filmmaker could get hold of them and re-enact them word for word. Didn't someone do that with the MJ trial a couple years back?

  • 10. Bryan Baker  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Sounds like someone is getting scared!!! You guys have done a great job covering the trial, thank you soooo much!!! Unbelievable that there is no coverage to speak of in the media, this has been very educational! Thanks again!

  • 11. Stephanie  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Thank you, Rick. This is quite an undertaking! The world is able to watch thanks to you!

  • 12. Rachael  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Mine too!

  • 13. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:07 am

    watching/reading here in Barcelona Spain. Thanks VERY much for doing this!

  • 14. Diana Marquez  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Thank you for keeping us informed, as a straight woman and supporter of equality, I can tell you that it is true "until we are all free, nobody is free yet". Thank you for this public service. I, too, am scared. We are behind you.

  • 15. Marko Markov  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Thank you so much Rick! I live in Bulgaria and I follow the live blogging from day 1!

    And keep up the good job at separating dialogue from your analysis ;-)

  • 16. truebeliever  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Does anyone know if Judge Walker can re-start the 30 day comment period now, and get a full release of the video tapes in the future months? I know it would be more useful to have daily video coverage now but even a delayed release would make a great documentary in the future.

    What about the 9th Circuit, can they video tape the appeal when it gets there next year if they start the official process now? Anyone know?

  • 17. JimB  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Save the Economy!
    Let Homos Marry!

    Wow, we'd have a positive economic impact.
    Makes me feel all warm & fuzzy

  • 18. Nettl  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Thank you guys, so much, for covering this! My partner and I live in Oklahoma and without video coverage of the trial we had no way of keeping up with it. What you'redoing is apprecaited SO MUCH! Keeping our fingers crossed that this trial will have sweeping effects over the entire country and that LGBT Oklahomans will benefit from the dedication of Californians to equality for all!

  • 19. Mike  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Thanks Rick! Keep it up! Great update!

  • 20. Mark 'RikerBear  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Thank you SO much for keeping us all updated on what's going on. Your work in keeping us all informed somehow seems to make me feel less 'helpless'.
    Keep up the great work guys!!!

  • 21. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Welcome back Rick – many thanks!

  • 22. Marc  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:39 am

    that hate crimes thing is bad, right? or is there another opportunity to bring that issue up?

  • 23. Choinski  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:39 am

    One woulld think the economic impact would we an interesting sideline, but irrelevant to the basic question of whether or not civil rights should be granted.

    No one asked if ending slavery should be done based on economic arguments.

  • 24. Carolyn  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Just joining in the chorus of thank-yous. This trial is so important and you and the others doing the blogging are our pipeline to what the heck is going on. Don't ever doubt that you are standing on the wave of history, one way or the other. Thank you.

  • 25. Curtis L Walker  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Should be a plan to use this blogging for production of documentary. Video to suplement any recreation. Use as teaching tool AND case for future trials to have feed at all Federal Trials.

  • 26. Nettl  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:40 am

    My three children (who lived with my partner and me before they turned 18), qualify for Medicaid, free tuition, and all sorts of government financial aid for college because my income alone keeps me in the poverty bracket. If my partner and I could marry, they would still be able to qualify for some, but not as much, as our combined income would bump us up to where they would no longer qualify for a lot of the aid that they get now. It would save the government a whole lot of money if we could get married.

  • 27. Callie  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:40 am

    It seems relevant in that it goes back to having marriage available to the GLBT community benefits not only the couples but the community as well. After all, we know the conservatives are all about their pocketbooks and how it will affect them.

  • 28. Prup (aka Jim Benton  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:42 am

    First, I have been remiss in not thanking Rick, his partner, and his 'relief pitcher' of yesterday for the great job they have done. It has been invaluable, and hopefully, once the decision comes down, you, Rick, will be honored by being allowed to be one of the first to take advantage of the ruling.

    But a sad side note to Nettl. Your state continues to elect Inhofe, Coburn, and — on the local level — Sally Kern. However the decision comes down, I would expect — given the roadblocks a state can attempt — you would be the last to benefit from it.

  • 29. Choinski  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:49 am

    But if it didn't benefit the larger community rights should not be granted? I think not.

  • 30. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Am I missing something – it has been sometime, since I have new information here? Was Rick dismissed from covering the trial?

  • 31. straightfromsacramen  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Since the legal issue is whether the government has a legitimate interest in denying LGBTs the right to marry, this may be an attempt to show there is no economic justification.

  • 32. Megan  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Rick–thank you so much for blogging about the trial! It's become the ONLY way for us to get live updates on what's happening. I can hardly focus on anything else. Keep up the good work!

  • 33. FishyFred  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:59 am

    I'm starting to regret adding the ADFMedia account to my prop8trial Twitter list. Wonder if I should keep it there when they're tweeting about Anti-Prop 8 violence.

  • 34. Nettl  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:59 am

    I know, and it's so embarassing! Inhofe, Coburn, and Kern are all insane. I want to crawl under a rock every time one of them makes the national news. They make Oklahomans look like complete idiots. My partner is actually a Californian – born and raised in Ventura. We're watching this all very closely because we're very interested in moving back to Ventura after my oldest daughter finishes college (and no longer needs the financial aid that she gets for tuition). I'm looking forward to calling myself a Californian. :)

  • 35. Callie  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:59 am

    I agree with you. Just saying that I can see why it was brought up. They're trying to show there's no harm to allowing gay couples to marry, but actually beneficial.

  • 36. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:01 am

    No, of course rights should be granted, but the lack of any negatives (and the abundance of positives) is what makes the gay marriage issue so easy. And what makes it so infuriating that people can oppose it.

    Take healthcare. Probably most of the commenters here would agree that universal healthcare is a good thing. But implementing it well is very complicated. If, let's say, the Supreme Court ruled that healthcare was a constitutional right (hypothetically speaking) and ordered the federal government to make universal healthcare a reality, it could be a year or more before the job was done. And reasonable people could disagree about the method of implementation, etc.

    Take polygamy. I have mixed feelings about whether polygamy should be legal even in an ideal world, but the argument that it's equivalent to gay marriage is stupid — again, let's say SCOTUS ruled that polygamy had to be made legal. It would take a year, probably multiple years, to reform state and federal laws to comprehend what this would mean in terms of inheritance, medical visitation, tax filings, etc. Who can even say what would make sense in that case.

    Hell, take desegregation. As hateful as segregation was, implementing desegregation was a tricky issue that took quite a bit of time. And there were significant short-term costs in making it happen. Hell, we're still working on eliminating de facto segregation, e.g. via school busing programs and such. It's an expensive and complicated problem to fix, and reasonable people might disagree over what measures should be taken to make it happen (even if they agreed completely on the civil rights aspect)

    Gay marriage, though? If SCOTUS ruled today that gay marriage had to be legal, it could be fully implemented tomorrow. The biggest expense would be that in the pen ink used to cross "Husband" and "Wife" off of marriage licenses and write "Spouse" and "Spouse". There are no costs, only benefits. And there are no legal challenges to implementation.

    This is relevant, because even though all reasonable people should agree that gay marriage ought to be legal, if there were implementation expenses or legal complexities to be worked out, then reasonable people might differ on how to roll it out, where to concentrate the money, etc. But those complications don't exist, therefore, there is no room for reasonable people to disagree even about implementation. The only reasonable solution is: Make it legal tomorrow.

    This is why, as a straight-married white heterosexual male, gay marriage is probably the political issue I feel most passionately about right now. On every single other issue, there's always a nagging doubt that maybe I have it wrong, at least in the details. Is single-payer better, or not? What should the timetable be for getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq? Can we even set a specific timetable without painting ourselves into a corner? These are hard questions that I don't know the answer to. But then ask me, should gay marriage be legalized across all fifty states? Hell yes! That's an easy one.

  • 37. DCH  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I'd just like to add in my many thanks to all the people keeping the Prop 8 Tracker going! It's a brilliant resource.

  • 38. Callie  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Same here. My partner is considered a single parent with a part-time job and therefore below the poverty line so we get the benefits from the state and free healthcare (or they do) but that helps me as the breadwinner because it keeps me from spending up my paycheck. The state here would save itself a lot of money if they considered us married, but until they do, I say "let 'em pay." It's their own shortsightedness that's doing it.

  • 39. James Parmley  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:04 am

    With the behind-the-scenes subterfuge the defendants are effecting, I'm afraid our opportunities for true Justice are dwindling. It hurts to say that because I have a vested interest in that I'm a CA native and I have family still there that I'm contemplating forsaking by not returning there if the judge happens to rules in the opposition's favor.

    On the face of it, it appears our tactics could need to slip to their level to advance us. I'm concerned on this point after learningof the procedure followed in Brown to capture the attention of the U.S.S.C. justices to rule in plaintiff's favor, posted in yesterday's comments in liveblogging.

  • 40. Jason R  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:05 am

    hopefully they have another expert witness on hand to testify about that. It would seem very short sighted of this team to only rely on one witness to talk about hate crimes against LGBT citizens and not depose them properly for testimony about hate crimes…

  • 41. Jay Allen  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Yes they did – i remember watching them. Could we not get them done as well? 'Dramatic reproduction'?

  • 42. Clift  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:06 am

    FishyFred: Re: the ADFMedia account on your prop8trial Twitter list… I think that adding them to your list provides an ongoing reminder of what 'the other side' thinks, even if their tweets are not necessarily what we want to hear. Thanks for putting together the list. Clift

  • 43. Bryan  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:06 am

    It's been over 30 minutes since the last post…. is Rick having tech problems?

  • 44. Mike  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Just a note to tell you how grateful I am for your blogging this, in the absense of sensible coverage, this is the only way I have of knowing what is going on out there, which is of vital importance to so many of us; straight and gay, who believe in equality under the law.

    God bless you and keep up the good work!

  • 45. Scottie  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Are you still there? It's been awhile since we had an update.

  • 46. rpx  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:10 am

    FRANCE is logged in reading every word. And it is late by us, AM by you but evening by me, but still I am glued to the computer screen, regardless of the hour. This is so important. I want my twin grandchildren to be raised in a home with LEGALLY maried mommies. It's hard at the end of your day for me to keep my eyes open but still I do. First thing in the AM I look for the summaries that were put out while I slept.

  • 47. Billy  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:12 am

    I was wondering about how this would play out in Supreme Court. Lagalities aside, do the judges attend church for personal reasons. If so, does that blurr the line between church and state?

  • 48. Doug  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Is it healthy to subject children to experimental families? – Marriage implies the possibility of children. So, while many same-sex couples will not want children, the argument for same-sex marriage is the argument for the same-sex family. No society at any time – primitive or developed, ancient or modern – has ever raised a generation of children in same-sex homes. Same-sex marriage will subject a generation of children to the status of lab rats in a vast, untested, social experiment.

  • 49. Doug  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Found here
    http://ow.ly/W4gb

  • 50. DonG  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Six of the current Supreme Court justices are Roman Catholic.

  • 51. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:15 am

    It's too bad more of the world is not tuning in because of the lack of coverage. These are important times for all!

  • 52. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Except that children are already being raised by (unmarried) same-sex couples and there world so far has not exploded.

    And in any case, when you are talking about denying a minority a right, you cannot frame it as, "Prove that allowing it will not be harmful, or else the right is denied." That's crazy talk. Rather, when you are talking about denying a minority a right, it ought to be framed as, "Prove that allowing it will be harmful, or else the right is allowed."

    No society at any time prior to the latter half of the 20th century — primitive or developed, ancient or modern — had ever raised a generation of children in mixed-race homes. Mixed-race marriage subjected a generation of children to the status of lab rats in a vast, untested, social experiment. Right?

  • 53. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Many of those questions have been answered or will be answered in the trial. Pay attention and you wouldn't need to be asking these questions. I know that this is not a "balanced" site by being neutral in the outcome, but neither is Focus on the Family. Much of this rhetoric is spurred by ignorance and bigotry as pointed out by the historian on Tuesday/Wednesday.

  • 54. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Also, Focus on the Family primarily uses biased information and studies that point to a desirable outcome before the study even starts. Presented in court this week by the anti-8 side are studies and organizations that don't have any interest in the outcome. APA comes to mind as one of the largest, yet Focus on the Family decides to ignore data from recent times and "focuses" on outdated information.

  • 55. pepper  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:24 am

    In the Netherlands until 2005, numbers indicate that gay men and women mary less often than in the beginning (2001), and has stabilized. I dont have numbers from 2005 until now, but will try to find them. Also whats interesting is that the divorce rate of gays/lesbians is lower than straights, the same is the case in Belgium. I dont know the exact explanation for this. The past 10 years the divorce rates of straight couples have been stable.
    In the Netherlands more straight people have chosen registered partnership (straights can have RP, too, like gays) the past decade over marriage. Not that we dont value family, marriage is just less important. Maybe because we are a very secular/non-religious country? (50% atheists/agnostics). There has been a trend the past decades marriage got less important, with fewer people marrying, but that was all before any gay RP or gay marriage. Recently a poll showed 75% of youth want to marry when older though.
    Why divorce numbers stabilized for straight people is not known to me, but we have gay marriage since almost 9 years and one could argue, as they have in some Scandinavian countries, that there might be a link between the two? But in what way, again, I dont know. In Belgium though I read that in 2009 the number of gays/lesbians marrying has increased.
    ….

    Its real difficult to watch what is happenign in the US with gay people and their rights, as it is such a non-issue here and a no -brainer really to grant gay people all rights straights have. It often angers me and hurts me a government or court can rule against equality. Many things in the US on this topic is unthinkable it could happen here. Even the history of what gays had to go through in US (heartbreaking) didnt happen to such serious extent here. California and all gay and lesbian Americans have my utmost support, including my country's support and my government's.

  • 56. Prup (aka Jim Benton  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:24 am

    Doug, I am actually glad to see someone arguing 'the other side' here, but I happen to be 63 years old and I was raised in a lesbian family — in NJ Suburbia, the heart of "OzzieandHarriet Land" — and can compare my own upbringing to those of all my close friends through the years. Mt parents had their problems, certainly, but — maybe because most of my friends had abysmal childhoods — every day I am thankful for being raised by Billie and Claire, not because they were lesbians, but because they had a knack for parenting that my friends' parents lacked. I do not have the time to tell stories, but the idea that children need a 'mother and father' is belied by the large percentage of psychiatric patients and therapy seekers whose need comes from the damage their (heterosexual) parents inflicted on them.

  • 57. Rebecca  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I beg to differ… The civil war was fought over economics much more than over the concept of freedom or equality… by my understanding of history.

  • 58. Balu  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I am from India, and we recently de-criminalized homosexuality. If USA legalizes same-sex marriage, it is going to have a HUGE positive impact on Indian laws and mindset. This fight is for you and for your Indian brothers as well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • 59. John B.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Here's the bottom line for me: we, as gay couples, are forming social, economic, and legal units that function exactly the same as marriage, and want the state to recognize those units the same way it recognizes marriages. We live together, own property together, share income, share expenses and share debts. The legal issues we have to deal with are exactly the same as the legal issues married couples have to deal with, with the exception that they get legal recognition and help from the state and we don't. We are simply asking for equal legal recognition and protection from the state for our partnerships and for our families, and it is being denied.

    But if it's all about the children then examples of gay couples raising kids–biological or adopted–make an especially strong comparison and such examples should be placed front and center. How on earth can the state NOT have an interest in supporting, preserving and protecting families that are raising children, whether their parents are of the opposite or same sex?

  • 60. Balu  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Small Correction … This fight is for you as well as for your Indian brothers and sisters. ….

  • 61. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:27 am

    I checked your website, Doug… you say "marriage has nothing to do with race". Check your history book, buddy. That's not how people felt sixty years ago. Hell, <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+7:3-4&version=ASV&quot; rel="nofollow">check your Bible. Marriage has been about race for the better part of six thousand years. Doesn't mean that was a good idea.

    You also say, "Same-sex marriages would eliminate the difference between male and female." Interesting. Well, I don't know about you, but gay marriage has been legal in Massachusettes for some time, and my dick has still not fallen off. Has yours?

    You also compare gay marriage to multiple partner marriage, i.e. polygamy. This is simply not true. In order to allow multiple partner marriage, laws concerning inheritance, taxes, medical visitation, health benefits, etcetera, would have to be torn up and completely rewritten. It is a bureaucratic monstrosity waiting to happen. Gay marriage, on the other hand, could be legalized tomorrow with no changes in the existing law other than eliminating the gender requirement.

    Last but not least, you say, " Each gender has what the other needs but lacks." I know you are probably too ignorant to recognize the misogyny inherent in this statement — unless you are merely referring to the sexual organs, and nothing else?

    It is true that my wife has a lot of qualities I lack, and vise versa. It might surprise someone like you to know that one of the qualities I fulfill is the cooking. Shockingly, every couple is different, and every couple has different complimentary qualities. To argue that qualities can only be complimentary if the partners are of opposite gender is either hopelessly misogynistic, or incredibly naive. Or both.

    However, I would like to point out that, while all of the anti-gay marriage blogs either do not allow comments at all, or else moderate comments so as to disallow gay marriage supporters, you are being allowed to have your voice heard here. Welcome to the side that doesn't suck.

  • 62. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:31 am

    First question provides bogus information. "Those who support same-sex marriage are asking society to permanently alter the definition of a family." A Family has been altered and there is no universal definition. There is single-parent, 2 parents, extended family, grandparent raising child, heck even a death in the family permanently alters the definition.

  • 63. rpx  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:35 am

    He Doug, the F bomb on you dude. My twin grandchildren are being raised by one mommy who is a physician and the other mommy is an MS supervising teacher to children with autism. Do you ahve any idea of how many hours of early childhood education the 2 of them have had????????? Find me better qulifications in parents will ya? Bet you don't even have children, who would want your offspring. Back off ,my mother hen feathers are raised.

  • 64. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:36 am

    B-b-b-ut… Focus on the Family lied? No, Alan E, I think you must be mistaken.

  • 65. pepper  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Also very important to mention is the ballot/refernda votes on gay marriage equality is deemed unconstitutional in Netherlands, as minorties are protected from majority, and from discrimination. We have an Equal protection clause that forbids this voting. Allowing people to vote on others people's basic rights is simply illegal here. The anti-discrimination and equal protection clause we have is one of the MOST important cornerstones of a democracy. Take that away from a group of people, then you take away the foundations of a democracy. Its real dangerous.

  • 66. Rebecca  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:39 am

    And seriously, how many children are in the system who were cast aside as unwanted, neglected and/or abused by their hetero parents, that gay couples have been and would be thrilled to provide LOVING and RESPONSIBLE homes to, either via adoption or foster care?

    But in many states (not sure about Cali on this one) one cannot be a foster parent if one is cohabitating with a romantic partner- only solitary people and married couples may become foster parents.

  • 67. rpx  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:46 am

    63 years old and you are comfortable in your skin? Thank you Soooo much. I have faith in my daughter and her partner but your affirmation mean a LOT.

  • 68. James Sweet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Allowing people to vote on others people’s basic rights is simply illegal here.

    You wussy Europeans — how the heck do you expect the Tyranny of the Majority to function if you do that?! I mean… you might even eliminate oppression of minorities that way! What the heck are you thinking???

  • 69. FrankP  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:06 am

    If this argument is about how children will turn out if they are raised by a man and woman verses a woman and woman or man and man. I have a 16 year old son who my partner and I raise in Pittsburgh, Pa. My son calls both of us dad and is an honor student in his school. He is one of the "popular" kids in his school as well. He plays sports has a girlfriend and everyone kids, teachers, neighbors EVERYONE knows his parents are gay. He is very well rounded and a respectful person. None of his friends parents forbid their child from coming over or spending the night. To him and us life is normal. So how is that a bad thing? Where does the opposition get the idea that society will crumble if Gay marriage is legal? We already have nuclear families in the LGBT community!! Wake up!!

  • 70. Prup (aka Jim Benton  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:18 am

    To your previous comment, not merely comfortable in my skin, but my main reason (as a 'predominantly straight, heterosexually married bisexual' — I'd even accept Arevosis' descriptioon as a 'part-time gay' — though never in the closet to anyone) for fighting for gay marriage is my wish that other couples would have the right Billie and Claire were denied, in their 30-year relationship that only ended wth Claire's death just before Stonewall.

    James Sweet has seen — if not plowed through — some long-winded stories about them I've posted on other blogs, but I won't tell them here. But comparing them to my wife's parents — who left her legally psychologically disabled and left her siblings with other severe problems and 'issues' — to the friend of mine, a writer, straight, who told me he'd never been able to become sexually aroused without being verbally or physically abused — he was 50 at the time — because of his mother, or another friend who wa sharing Thanksgiving dinner with me when he heard his father had died, and saw no reason to leave the meal and interrupt a night of computer game playing and talk because of it.

    These are other stories make me have no doubt of reassuring you that the idds are very high your grandchildren more than 'lucked out' they are big winners on the 'parental lottery.'

  • 71. M S  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:24 am

    @Rebecca, as a CA resident who attended the county's official foster care orientation, I can tell you that the state of CA absolutely, positively allows same-sex couples to foster AND adopt. If you're unmarried but living with a romantic partner, or even if you simply expect to allow the foster child regular interaction with a given person (your sibling, your parents, a babysitter, whatever), then that person has to be vetted by the state– background check, fingerprinting, etc.– to ensure the foster child's safety and quality of care.

    I totally take your point about the obvious mind warp required to think that gay couples are somehow more harmful to children (in the purportedly abstract and untested "social experiment" the alleged Gay Agenda / Queer Tyranny is here accused of demanding & attempting) than the actual, real-live, long-documented and daily-prosecuted abuse and neglect that heteros inflict upon approximately 1% of the child population every year.

    But whatever. Facts don't change feelings.

  • 72. Collin  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Here's hoping that one day all states will legalize it.

  • 73. Jason Fritze  |  January 15, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I taught for many years there. I chose to leave my home state primarily because of the witch hunt that I saw mounting there. Inhofe, Coburn and Kearns are spewing very damaging homophobia. I felt that it was becoming an unsafe place for me to live and work as an openly gay teacher.

  • 74. pepper  |  January 15, 2010 at 4:11 am

    James LOL. I only just read your comment. Yes, I guess we are serious pro-human & equal rights wussies. Good luck. :)

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