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Liveblogging Day 7: Part II

Liveblogging

By Rick Jacobs

1020: Dr. Segura. Boutrous is examining.

S: Stanford for 18 months at Stanford Center for American Democracy. Newly established center to examine data about American electorate. Biggest project is American National Election Study. Been run consistently since 1948 (polling has been done since then). I’m currently on Ed Board of American Journal of Poly Sci, was on Ed Board of other stuff.

S: I’m a student of political representation. Look at mass opinions and actions in society. See how they subsequently connect to policy makers. Representation theorist. One of the vexing questions in poly sci is whether public changes how elites view and act. While my work began as a broad understanding of political behavior, I have spent recently a lot of time looking a minorities, particularly Latinos. I have also looked G and L. Have a new book. Latino Lives in America, just came out this month.

B: Turns to his CV. Peer review articles?

S: I have about 42 total publications, 25 of which are peer reviewed articles meaning that articles submitted for peer review before published. 15 or so chapters of books. Over last decade, I have probably attended and presented at 20-40 conferences. I present constantly.

B: Your work on G and L policy and issues?

S: Three pieces.

(I had to stop briefly because Chad Griffin came by. If you don’t know Chad, you should. He’s my hero. He is the mastermind of AFER and has orchestrated this whole unbelievably powerful trial and effort for our side. He’s unsung, but smart as hell, unflappable and just brilliant.)

Boutrous: I tender prof. Segura for political power and powerlessness of gays and lesbians in process.

Admitted as expert witness.

S: First thing I did was to read. Growing body of literature on g and ls in politics. Then went through statutory protection or disadvantage in each state. Looked at very recent attitudes toward g and l, absence or not of g and l in elective office, looked at ballot measures, which is subject here.

B: Asks if you attended would-be expert witness depos from other side and if wrote rebuttals.

S: Did. Here are the three over all conclusions:

1. Gays and lesbians are not able to protect their interests because they do not possess meaningful political power.

2. They are not subject to political exclusion and suffer political disabilities greater than other groups that have received suspect class protection.

3. The opinions of the Proponents expert Dr. Kenneth Miller are fundamentally flawed and incorrect.

S: Define political power as A getting B to do something. I’m a New Orleans Saints fan. I don’t have power over them, but I can agree to support them. Thought by Madison in Federalist Papers and then in 20th Century Robert Dahl (sp) who is icon of political theory. They worried about factions. Concerns that without plurality, one group can control power for too long. 20th century theory presupposes there is no such thing as permanent majority and that things will be fair.

S: By Madison’s definition, g and ls are small faction. We frequently refer to our system of government as Madisonian as distinguished from majoritarianism. Certain that society responds to majority rule, but there are limitations, such as a majority having the power to take voting rights away from a minority.

S: Lots of news recently about newly elected lesbian mayor of Houston. Media says “holy cow, a lesbian in Houston.” White lesbian against black man. Racial and economic and social and partisan fracture lines in Houston. That she was elected is great for g and l power. I have to look at context. Just a few years back, voters in Houston voted down Houston providing benefits to ss partners. So we have a lesbian mayor whose partner of 19 years cannot get city coverage.

S: Positive news about hate crimes leg is that it was 20 years in the making. We’re looking at a piece of legis that criminalizes crimes against g and l. It does not provide, for example, g and l spots at service academies. Passed by attaching to defense authorization bill. Even so, 75% of Republicans in senate voted against the defense authorization bill which is not what Republicans do. So even though it was passed, it is not a big move forward because it just criminalizes heinous acts against homos.

S: Laws passed are frequently able to overruled by plebiscites and people can just put these things on ballot. Since 1990, about 150 measures not include marriage and g and l lose about 70% of time.

S: When we want to focus on measure of political power, want to focus on markers that are important to that group. The first type of marker is manifestation and the second is causes or factors.

B: Start with manifestation of political powerlessness of g and l in US.

S: First thing I’d look at is absence of statutory protection.

[Puts up map of up with blue states and white states. Shows states that have some form of statewide protection for non-discrimination. 29 states do not include such protections.]

B: Heard Nathanson mention Matthew Shepard case.

S: Since then, Wyoming still has no protection and no hate crimes laws.

S: No federal level housing and employment anti discrimination. No federal level protection except for hate crimes. Exclusion of g and l from military. DOMA prevents g and l from getting federal benefits/protections. Eisenhower started the policy of overt discrimination, only lifted in 70s.

S: History of homophile movement. Frank Kameny regularly sent letters to government asking why no federal protection. Much more likely to engage federal government than Matachine Society in LA and NY.

B: CA’s protections for g and l?

S: Presence of statutory protections better than not. Want to see why they were passed, etc. If we look at hate crimes or anti discrimination, purpose to ameliorate a wrong. Difficult to conclude that is measure of political power itself. Have anti discrimination ordinances because there is discrimination. Some of laws passed because of court orders, such as employment and housing protections, but very hard to get it passed. Gov vetoed. Only put in place in labor law which is less strong than housing discrimination.

S: DP in Ca does not protect spouse who travels to Las Vegas or New Orleans. Also, props are nationalized, which builds more harsh treatment of gays.

S: Measure 1 in Colorado stunning. Took lots of protections from gays.

S: No group in American society, including undocumented aliens who are a distant second, that has been targeted by ballot measures than g and l. Since 1970s, over 200. Lost 70%. Lost all same sex marriage initiatives. Propositions nationalize. “The initiative process has been the Waterloo of gay and lesbian politics.”

S: (Slide that shows how badly we have been beaten at the ballot). Culture war in the country. Initiative process has been used to get people hot under the collar. They expand the scope of conflict. If your side is not doing well in the legislature, you move to ballot and inflame momentary passions. Ballot measures puts g and l in bad position. At end, need 50% + 1. In CA, particularly problematic, because we allow simple majority to pass constitutional amendment. Voters do not look like CA, while legislature does. Allows the issues to be nationalized.

S: I believe g and l have failed 33/34, because lost in AZ and then passed it.

S: Talks about Prop. 187 that passed in CA but was struck down by court and state did not appeal. Would have been open season on Latinos because law said services do not have to provided to undocumented people and have to prove documented before they could get services. Also, anti-fair housing prop. that was passed was overruled by court.

S: Initiatives also chill legislators because they know money will be spent to fight them.

S: 500th of 1% of local officeholders are gay. 1% of legislators are gay. Only 6 in history have ever served in congress (openly) and only four ever elected as openly gay. Effect is that without g and l at legislative table, voice is not there. The presence of g and l and other minority groups to constrain bad behavior. (Ask former CA senator Sheila Kuehl, the first openly gay person ever elected to a state office in CA, how big a difference it made to have her in the “boys’ club” of politics.)

S: Gives example of Carol Mosley Braun (former Illinois senator) giving an impassioned speech from well of senate to get senate to stop giving money to DAR which is openly racist.

S: By not having g and l present in legislature, people can say amazing stuff. Coburn says that gays and lesbians are the greatest threat to American civilization today. Some public officials have compared gay marriage to marrying a box turtle. Cannot imagine any other group that receives such animus in public. When someone in position of authority communicates that this is okay. When two US senators compare gay marriage to bestiality, that is not the fringe, that is the US senate.

S: Gays and lesbians are not sufficiently present in any jurisdiction of any size to shape outcomes.

[UPDATE] 11:47

Prop. 8 Trials Professor Segura: Obama is not a reliable ally for the gay and lesbian community. Read on.

S: Prejudice and hostility toward gays and lesbians negates political power. Dr. Nathanson (on earlier tape today) agrees. A lot of people are repulsed by same sex sex.

B: Puts up slide that talks about “feeling thermometer” used to measure sentiment in public opinion research. Eg, how warmly do you feel about Evangelical Christians or African Americans.

S: Concluded re: gay and lesbians is that the American public is not very fond of gays and lesbians. On scale of 0-100, any demographic that had room for contestation (religion, etc.), scored in 60s. For AAs, Jews and Hispanics, have 30-40% who hate them. Mean score for homos 49%. Hispanics and AA held in higher esteem than homos.

B: Did those measurements have anything to do with ballot measures?

S: Yes. Religion is the chief obstacle for gay and lesbian political power. After government, difficult to think of more powerful institution than religion in America. Allows people to meet every week. Largely arrayed against gays and lesbians. Different than for AAs, because except for Baptists, nearly every religion favored civil rights.

S: Nathanson testimony confirmed what I already believed, that its really difficulty for gays and lesbians to achieve political power. Dr. Young freely admits the religious hostility to gays and lesbians builds hatred toward homos and leads to prejudice and discrimination.

S: Can’t think of any other group that has such round hatred from religious groups. In fact, it has served to make the evangelical movement more powerful because they ally around this issue.

S: Hate crime sends message to entire group, which is why must be extenuating circumstance to show that it’s a hate crime. Says to group that you are not supposed to be here, not supposed to be free in public. Fear of violence yields fear of self-identification. If there is violence, you don’t want to go outside of a gay bar alone because it’s not safe.

S: 2003-2008 FBI hate crimes and LA hate crimes stats have been reviewed by me. No real improvement in hates crimes; last five years, they got worse. Substantial increase in hate crimes and g and proportion increased from 14% to 17.7% of 1,171 to 1,617 (2005 v 2008). 2008 highest hate crime year in decade. Also want to look at intensity. Not just number, but type. Gays and lesbian are far more likely to be victims of violence. 2008, 71% of all hate-motivated murders and 55% of all hate-motivated rapes against gays and lesbians. No other group that comes close to being a target for their identity.

S: LA Hate Crime Report for 2008. Hate crimes on basis of ethnicity, race and national origin declined over decade by 16%, but increase in crimes against gays and lesbians. LA County showed increase due to Prop. 8.

B: Did you see the defendants try to show in Sander’s testimony that Prop. 8 supporters were targeted for hate crimes?

S: I did not know what to make of it. I think such acts of vandalism are abhorrent. Their video (prop. 8’s) did not mention any hateful things done to anti-prop. 8 but that was not in their interest.

S: I think that the psychology of closet are so relentless and insidious. They do vary across country and racial and economic groups and social status. Self-identification in lower status job, living in plains state or south, still detrimental. If you can’t self-id, you are not available for political mobilization. If you are in the closet, you won’t go to a gay rights march. If you are in the closet, it’s harder to have information about what to do. Harder to mobilize because you can’t find each other.

S: Public sees only gays and lesbians in larger cities. Public thinks that all gay men have advanced degrees. People who are in the closet are likely to be lower status. Public has a misperception of the level of treatment of gays and lesbians. Not every gay man is Will from Will and Grace. Will is an attorney in NY with a large apartment. When people see this, they think gays don’t need protection. Makes public less sympathetic. Makes public view numbers of gays and lesbians as smaller, which diminishes their political power.

S: Over last 25 years, has been statutory forbiddance of discussing homosexuality in health classes. Ban on funding for homoerotic art for a time by feds. Even some times when ban on discussing same sex for prevention of STDs.

B: Anything on Prop. 8 campaign that adds to this censorship?

Thompson: I object. He was not deposed on this.

Judge: Not disputing that it was discussed in depo?

Thompson: No.

Judge: Then it’s appropriate to proceed.

S: One of the campaign ads said that at school today, I was told that I could marry a princess, too. Underlying is that people are being told that if 8 does not pass, will be taught in school. Underscores that homosexuality is not to be talked about positively or even neutrally because it is evil.

S: Lowers familiarity with gays and lesbians. If public does not know what gays and lesbians have done or who they are, reduces political power because they are not taken as seriously when they speak up, not seen as desirable coalition partners. Easier to target people who never do anything (perceived).

B: Have allies in CA. Isn’t that power?

S: It’s nice to have allies and if those allies are reliable, even better. There is sense that those allies retreat when it’s tough. If you think of major groups in society outside of commercial enterprises, you think of military, church, Republican and Democratic Party. Dems say they support homos, but Democrats passed DADT and DOMA. Current president has refused an order from the chief judge of the ninth circuit to provide domestic partner benefits to court employees. Also, filed briefs that support DOMA and has done nothing to repeal DOMA or DADT. This is not a reliable ally.

[UPDATE] 12:22

S: AIDS crisis undermined political power because gays were trying to stay alive. That’s all they could do.

[It’s kind of odd, but the guys from Protect Marriage who are suing Courage for our logo on this blog are sitting behind me in the witness chairs in this upstairs courtroom where we’ve been for two weeks. They are always there. We are always polite to each other, but they seem not to like me or Courage or any of you.]

S: I generally familiarized myself with the campaign, but not with the organizations behind each side, so I don’t know about volunteerism.

B: Puts up recently obtained document about the campaign. Reads “LDS Church Takes Active Role in Supporting Prop. 8.” First presidency of LDS sent letter to California LDS leaders to take position on Prop. 8, which this Protect Marriage document says, is very rare.

C: Illustrates that LDS church was very active not just on the financial side, but on the grass roots side. Shows that gays and lesbians are powerless relatively.

C: On June 17, 2008, Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego…led to a total of 1,700 pastors located across the state to kick-off an aggressive grassroots campaign for Prop.8” Rev. Garland organizes a team that became Protect Marriage CA that took a strong role in passing Prop. 8. I was particularly struck by that number 1,700 pastors. Any campaign at all would be thrilled to have 1,700 volunteers on a conference call. Enviable number.

C: Centerpiece of pluralist democracy to take positions. What takes me aback here is sheer breadth of organization.

“Protect Marriage dot com is a broad based coalition of … leaders from all walks of life to pass Prop. 8.” Impression I got was that there was an organized effort rather than a group of people who happened to agree. When I evaluate the power or powerlessness of gays and lesbians, important to see strength of opposition.

S: Screen capture of website called “The Pastors Rapid Response Team” which sounds fun. Headed by Jim Garlow of Skyline Church.

S: NO political science definition of “rapid response.” I assume that this is so they can respond quickly. Taken aback that there was an organization that was monitoring everything.

Thompson: Would like to take lunch break so that we can work with plaintiff’s counsel to work through the documents that we have stamped as confidential.

Lawyer for Garland and McPherson: Have motion for protective order. We have argued that there are first amendment implications to introduction of speeches, sermons all of which are protected by first amendment.

Judge: Mr. Boutrous, there are two suggestions. One is Mr. Thompson’s suggestion for lunch. The other is from this attorney.

Boutros: We provided DVD to this lawyer so he could show documents to his clients over the weekend. He sent an email back saying that it would be too burdensome to his clients, so he refuses to cooperate. Next document I was going to discuss was document we obtained in discovery without restrictions. Also, other documents are public. They were shared with 3,000 people on the phone, so hardly possible to say they are not public. All documents are public. We did redact some names. We took our best good faith effort to redact names of those that we have not agreed upon.

Judge: You are representing that those documents were public.

Lawyer for pastors: I don’t think that one hand of the plaintiff’s team does not know what the other is doing. Ms. Lazarus from the plaintiff attorneys offered us a deal so that we did not have to have our clients be subpoenaed and appear if we review.

Argument back and forth with judge. Judge asks if there is privilege attached to statements, which are public. Seems not to be. Court is asking a pastor to testify as to his view of traditional or same sex marriage.

B: This is a pastor who was on political rapid response team, so he injected himself into the political arena.

Judge: I guess he did not respond rapidly in this case! (Huge gales of laughter).

Magistrate ruled that one of the people they want to consider as outside of depo will be, but three others including Wirthlin (who sits behind me), John Doe and one other can be the subject of discovery.

Adjourned for lunch until 1:10.

[This was fascinating. Prof. Segura made me think very differently about political power. He makes the point clearly that gays and lesbians have very little of it. And if you think of what we have not gotten done, even under Obama, he appears to be right. My friend Steve Hildebrand, who was Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama, asked if I could think of one politician who wakes up even once a year and thinks about pressure from the gays that he or she cannot withstand. The answer is clearly no.

And that’s another crux of this trial. It’s time to rethink how we organize and “do” political power. Courage’s research shows us a path to changing hearts and minds, which will be necessary, even for the Supreme Court to rule in our favor and then to prevent any backlash. And we must get this to scale. That’s why you all reading this and sharing are important. It’s also why we have to build a huge grassroots effort with straight folks as well as gay folks, to demand equality now and to mean it. We have to change the way we do business.

And it’s why this court case is so crucial. It does change the dynamic. It puts the lie to what the other side always says, which is that the gays are rich and powerful. If that’s right, why are we second or third class citizens?]

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128 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Patrick Regan  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Thank you for continuing your excellent coverage!

  • 2. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:18 am

    Hey, it looks like here is where we laying the groundwork for "Suspect Class".

  • 3. Mr. HCI  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:25 am

    But Brokeback Mountain was a successful movie!!!!!!!!!

  • 4. Warren  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:30 am

    And wasn't Will and Grace hysterical??

  • 5. prettyisa  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:31 am

    not as hysterical as Nancy Pelosi!

  • 6. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Umm…yeah, I think it was, so just what has this got to do with the price of rice in China? (chuckles)

  • 7. Lisa  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:33 am

    and who doesn't love Ellen?

  • 8. Marci Walley  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Indeed. I guess what worries me is the animus part of the argument. If only we just had to prove ignorance… I did a door to door outreach a few weeks ago and had some good conversations with some 'yes' voters. I had everything from 'it's a sickness', to, 'well, I had no real good reason other than tradition'.

    How about the defense witnesses? I thought I was reading a parody!

  • 9. Rebecca  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:35 am

    "3. The opinions of the Proponents expert Dr. Kenneth Miller are fundamentally flawed and incorrect."

    LOL! Every single opinion of the Proponents are fundamentally flawed and incorrect.

  • 10. Lisa  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:36 am

    "Some public officials have compared gay marriage to marrying a box turtle."

    did he really say box turtle? did the officials actually say box turtle??

  • 11. Ann S.  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:36 am

    The San Jose Mercury News is providing pretty good coverage, but just take a look at the comments to see some of that there animus.

  • 12. sideon  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:36 am

    I have chills reading about our collective defeats, and knowing that we're a bigger 'public enemy' than undocumented immigrants. Maddening and sobering, all at once. No wonder the Prop 8 people didn't want these hearings to see the light of day.

    What a fantastic site, here. I am completely hooked. Thanks for the great work, bringing sense to many who do not speak legalese.

  • 13. FishyFred  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:37 am

    S: Positive news about hate crimes leg is that it was 20 years in the making. We’re looking at a piece of legis that criminalizes crimes against g and l.

    This is why hate crimes bills are ridiculous. THEY ARE ALREADY CRIMES.

  • 14. Ann S.  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Hate crimes legislation can bring more resources to bear, though. Laramie was nearly bankrupted by the prosecution of Matthew Shepard's murderers and had to furlough several law enforcement officers.

  • 15. Jeff  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I see this comment a lot, and it's totally missing the point of hate crimes legislation. Assault, murder, etc. are crimes no matter what. Hate crime laws don't change that. But some of these crimes are committed not just to hurt one person, but to "send a message" to an entire group. "Don't show yourself in public." "Stay out of our lives." "We don't think you should exist."

    That hurts not just one person, but an entire group, and damages society as a whole. So we punish such crimes extra-harshly.

  • 16. Elizabeth  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:39 am

    yep! I think that's where boxturtlebulletin.com got its name… (and I just got that myself.)

  • 17. PM, in the UK  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Those statistics make for saddening viewing.

    Hopefully the corss examination won't consist (won't ENTIRELY consist) of hyping how great those five-hundreth of one-percent are and how they represent a one trillion percent growth from when homosexuality was illegal…
    I won't hold my breath.

  • 18. Elizabeth  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:42 am

    I've always considered terrorism a specific type of hate crime. It's more than malicious intent against an individual, it's against an entire class (or presumed class). The victim is a victim simply because of what he represents, and the attacker is attacking an entire group by focusing on one target. This is why that crime is in fact a whole lot more scary than a simple assault, it's also a threat to all people in that group.

  • 19. Jeff  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Exactly – hate crimes and terrorism share a lot of elements. Hurting an individual is not the goal, it's the method. The goal is to hurt an entire group of people.

  • 20. Bry  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Well that's disturbing, I LIVE in San Jose, I knew the Merc was a conservative-leaning paper (I about had a fit when I found out) but that's kinda creepy

  • 21. Warren  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Oh that Ellen and her sneakers. Adorable! Yay! No more anti-gay discrimination!

  • 22. Dave T  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Just caught Fresh Air on NPR on my way home for lunch – they're discussing the trial. Courage Campaign got a mention as one of the groups live blogging.

  • 23. Desert Verdin  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Elizabeth, you are correct:

    "John Cornyn: The senator from Texas issued a statement in which he advocated a constitutional ban on gay marriage with the following logic: 'It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. . . . Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife.' Clarification: The remarks attributed to Senator John Cornyn were included in the text of a speech issued by his office. However, the senator did not make these remarks while delivering the speech."

    Source: http://motherjones.com/politics/2005/01/diddly-aw

  • 24. FishyFred  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:49 am

    We punish based on intent, which is A) often difficult to prove, and B) already accounted for in our legal system with differing degrees of crimes and their associated sentencing guidelines.

    I have a hard time finding an analog to hate crimes laws, i.e. where legislation on the motive of a crime has a direct impact on the sentence.

  • 25. Eric Thut  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:49 am

    the only group that may be universally condemmed more then G/Ls are atheist, but then again, thanks to more specific constitutional language, it is harder to pass laws specifically denying that group rights.

  • 26. Kevin  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I agree, sort of. I've always considered hate crimes to be a type of terrorism.

  • 27. Sara  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:52 am

    I don't know if anyone else is following the Alliance Defense Media tweets, but the are at once hilarious, frightening, and really sad. I mean, most of the time, they aren't even cherry-picking the testimonies, they are just outright lying about what is said.

  • 28. Gaby Tako  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:52 am

    How startling to read this summation of how the LGBTQ communities are treated in the political sphere – how often we lose rights, how often we are targets of community character assissination – how unlike any other minority we are mischaracterized and how little power we actually have. If it isn't a wake up call to arms and to really reaching out to establishing broader alliances I don't know what is.

  • 29. FishyFred  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:53 am

    I meant to say that we WOULD punish based on intent in the event of a hate crimes law.

    My point is that this sort of thinking that groups should be protected is not the sort of thinking that I find compelling. As a rule, groups do not have rights. Individuals do. It is the same concept.

  • 30. Lies  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:54 am

    This is obviously tragic, but it cracks me UP that they used the example of a box turtle. Something is seriously wrong with these people. Oh wait, we already knew that. But still. Wow.

  • 31. Roberta K  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Exactly — the issue with lynchings in the Old South wasn't just to punish one particular person found guilty in the court of public opinion, but to tell the n—–rs that "if you don't stay in your place, this'll happen to you too."

  • 32. Roberta K  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Oh, meant to put the "n" word in quotes — hope no one's offended.

    *slinks off into corner*

  • 33. Desert Verdin  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:58 am

    And it shows quite clearly that they do not understand the concept of consent.

  • 34. Lies  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:58 am

    That's true. I read The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, a while back, and apparently 79% of Americans said they would still vote for an otherwise ideally qualified individual, even if they found out he/she was gay (which IMHO is a rather optimistic percentage, but hey). If he/she were an atheist, however, only 49% would still vote for him/her.

    I love how that doesn't make any sense either.

  • 35. PM, in the UK  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Quite some nailing of the Democrat party Dr. Segura delivered there, but of course all true – it just looks very stark indeed on paper/screen.

  • 36. Desert Verdin  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:02 am

    I love (as in can't frickin' believe) that they point to Brokeback Mountain to show lack of discrimination against us.

    Obviously none of them saw the movie nor know that it's about two men madly in love who, because they fear societal reprisal, choose not to live their lives together. And then one of them is savagely beaten to death when he is found out to enjoy sex with men.

    O the irony.

  • 37. Alan E.  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Not every gay man is Will from Will and Grace.

    AMEN!

  • 38. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I think there is room for reasonable people to disagree over the wisdom of hate crimes legislation. Indeed, they are already crimes as FishyFred points out, and motives are already taken into account during sentencing. Some crimes we do have statutory degrees (e.g. murder), but even then the degrees tend to be vague, rather than calling out specific possible motives. So in that sense, hate crime legislation that references specific minorities/demographics seems at first blush to be a mistake — why not just, you know, have judges sentence people more harshly if their crime was motivated by hate?

    I think the answer to this — and not incidentally what changed my own mind about hate crime legislation — is that there are some jurisdictions where a hateful anti-gay motive might actually make judges/juries apt to sentence more leniently. (*cough*Alabama) I still think that municipal hate crime legislation is iffy, but federal hate crime legislation is actually very important — it means that if a podunk prosecutor and/or podunk judge are inclined to look the other way when Billy Bob and the rest of the good ol' boys get drunk and go beat up some fags outside The Tool Shed… the feds can intervene and make sure that justice is done.

    In other words, federal hate crime legislation specifically identifies a motive where there is a high likelihood of failure to prosecute in some jurisdictions, and federalizes the crime in order to address this problem. I find that a compelling argument.

  • 39. Bry  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I'm afraid to >> I think I might punch the screen, can you provide a link though please? lol

  • 40. Robyn Elaine Serven  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:08 am

    As a transwoman, I would dispute that.

  • 41. Warren  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:08 am

    That was an excellent book. God is not Great is also good, though Hitchens makes points grounded more in philosophy than science, which in some ways are even more powerful. He correctly calls out the immorality at the hear of Christianity, that someone else (Jesus) can be responsible for your transgressions. This is an insulting and immoral position he argues.

  • 42. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:08 am

    I'm loving the fact that the psychological and political effects of the closet are being discussed in a federal courtroom. More people need to hear this; it is surprisingly easy to miss if you haven't lived it.

  • 43. Ray Harwick  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:09 am

    Dr. Segura's testimony is the Atomic Bomb of evidence of animus.

    Wow! Just freaking WooooooooWWWWW!

  • 44. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:10 am

    FishyFred — just wanted to direct you back up to my response to your comment about hate crimes legislation above. I share some of the same reservations that you do about such legislation, but I have an argument in favor of federal hate crimes legislation that you may not have heard before. For whatever that's worth. Cheers!

  • 45. Mykelb  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:10 am

    More like a "parroty", just spewing back what NOM, CWFA, AFA, AFI, Mass Resistance and the other Haters say about us.

  • 46. sugarbritches  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Holy crap. Powerful stuff!

  • 47. David Kimble  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Great point, Desert Verdin – I was just thinking the same thing myself….hmmm!

  • 48. Warren  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I am. They are quite ridiculous, but they show how blind our opponents are to logic, reason and fact. they have their verses from Leviticus and anything that contradicts them must be false. Like the 'Answers in Genesis' people who openly state that any evidence (i.e. all of it) that contradicts the story that says the Earth is 6,000 years old is wrong. I enjoyed the 'paper' they published refuting radio active isotope dating. The author was in such knots that an 8th grader could probably have ripped it apart.

  • 49. Sara  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Absolutely: http://twitter.com/ADFmedia

    Or–Here are a bunch or tweeter (both for and against): http://twitter.com/JeDiNews/prop8trial

  • 50. Bry  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Heads up everybody according to the twitterverse there are some more documents, sermons apparantly, that the Prop8 side is vehemently opposing to have on record.

    Increased probability of juicyness

  • 51. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Good point, I'm not sure that in the studies showing atheists as the "least trusted group in America" whether the T was split out from LGBT and measured separately. I am guessing not… (Although there's only a single openly atheist congressperson, there are no transexual congresspeople, and only a single federal appointee — and look at the stink that raised!)

  • 52. Warren  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:16 am

    'Dems say they support homos, but Democrats passed DADT and DOMA. Current president has refused an order from the chief judge of the ninth circuit to provide domestic partner benefits to court employees. Also, filed briefs that support DOMA and has done nothing to repeal DOMA or DADT. This is not a reliable ally.'

    BINGO! We should run a few gay friendly republicans in November, it seems we could build moderate coalitions around the country. Tom Campbell in CA would be a good start. He's pro marriage while Feinstein and Boxer aren't (though they were bogglingly anti-8). Let's send our own wake-up call!

    Rick probably has some issues with this strategy, but it would send the dems a message.

  • 53. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:17 am

    As a bisexual man, so would I. You've got it worse though.

    Perhaps the point is that atheism is often condemned in public, whereas transanything is rarely even mentioned at all, unless someone's making a joke?

  • 54. jerek  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Made me choke up:
    Current president has refused an order from the chief judge of the ninth circuit to provide domestic partner benefits to court employees. Also, filed briefs that support DOMA and has done nothing to repeal DOMA or DADT. This is not a reliable ally.
    Thank you. Now could you cc the white house, please.

  • 55. Carl  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:18 am

    This is so depressing.. but very valid.

    When will people realize it's not a choice? The only choice a homosexual person makes is whether to accept it within him/herself or choose to remain closeted because of the fear of rejection from friends and family. The hate and discrimination these parents so easily divulge at their dinner tables is the same hate their children will feel they have for them.

  • 56. Daniel L  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:19 am

    This is not a reliable ally. Well spoken!

  • 57. jerek  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:19 am

    beat me to it!

  • 58. Andrew  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Aren't there two federal appointees? One transman and one transwoman?

  • 59. Warren  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:20 am

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/01/20/cindy-mcca

    Cindy McCain is now more publicly pro-gay than Michelle Obama or her husband (Michelle's not Cindy's husband though clearly she is more pro-gay than both of them ;-) )

  • 60. sugarbritches  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:25 am

    It is testimony such as that of Dr. Segura, and of a couple of last week's witnesses, that makes me think we actually have a chance here to make some real progress. I certainly hope so.

  • 61. StaceyB  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Something that was said by Segura, but blogged on FDL, really struck me.
    "THERE IS SIMPLY NO OTHER MEMBER OF SOCIETY WHO IS LESS SAFE IN AMERICA THAN A LESBIAN OR GAY MAN. NONE."

    He came to this conclusion through his numbers research and the evident rise in hate crimes against Gays& Lesbians.
    That's horrifying that still, today, even after Matthew Shepard and all the publicity that we're still not safe here in America. I never felt "unsafe" before in my until one episode at a former place of employment where a manager actually got in my face, in front of a packed store and screamed: "I'm NOT GAY…SO LEAVE ME ALONE!"
    It shocked and scared the hell out of me because before this happened, I had never even MET this manager! It as so "out of the blue" and unprovoked that I suddenly became all too aware of the hatred that my being lesbian would illicit. Thankfully, (this was a second job) it was a company that had a "diversity hiring clause" and her attack, which was witnessed by several other employees and patrons, sheltered me and protected me. She, the manager, was immediately fired the next morning when the GM found out what had transpired. I was lucky, but I made me think.
    What if I hadn't been working for a company that actually had a "Diversity hiring clause?" "
    I'd be the one fired…and I didn't DO ANYTHING!
    Just the fact that this manager knew I was gay…that's all it took.
    What's really worse is that I wasn't even "out" at work. Because it was a second job, I didn't feel it was necessary to "come out" to anyone…until this happened.

  • 62. Katie  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:27 am

    General reaction to basically this witness's entire testimony:

    Oh. Burn.

    Wouldn't want to be the fundies right now. :)

  • 63. Sara  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:31 am

    I know. Don't get me started. It makes me crazy. In fact this entire trial is making me crazy. Throughout the day I am laughing, crying, and despairing. I especially think it is interesting that the No-8 side are all liveblogging everything–making as thorough a transcript as possible (even the stuff that is maybe not so good for us), while the Yes-8 side are all liveblogging these little bits and pieces that are 50% straight-out lies.

    Arg! The blood just boils.

  • 64. Sara  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:32 am

    Ug. Sorry. Note to self: check grammar and spelling prior to pressing Submit.

  • 65. Ann S.  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:32 am

    Video and transcript of depos of the two pulled witnesses:
    http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/news/katheri
    http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/news/paul-na

  • 66. PM, in the UK  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Thank you, Trial Tracker folks, for somehow explaining the legal wrangling at the end which somehow makes sense to me.
    *tip of the hat*

  • 67. Ozymandias  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:36 am

    There's another side to this that you're not seeing, FishyFred. Hate crime laws do one other VERY important thing – it requires local law enforcement to notify the Feds any time a hate crime is committed.

    Why is that important? The LGBT community has had a very contentious relationship with law enforcement across the country – it's been established in a lot of cases (sadly, often far after the fact) that local police either downplayed the importance of an anti-Gay crime, or even worse – refused to act on it at all. Hate Crime laws require the FBI to step in if it becomes apparent that local police are not living up to their responsibilities to protect the LGBT community.

    THAT is another reason why the hate crime laws are important – it forces local law enforcement agencies to live up to their responsibilities, or be taken off the case.

  • 68. Arthur  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:39 am

    Skyline Church post sermons on their website, if the Prop 8 ones were posted aren't they 'public?'

  • 69. PM, in the UK  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Well it was horribly expressed there, but you get the sentiment. ^_^

  • 70. Ray Harwick  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:41 am

    "AIDS crisis undermined political power because gays were trying to stay alive. That’s all they could do."

    How WELL I recall!!!!! George Herbert Walker Bush, during the height of the AIDS crisis, make the remark, "Gays? They're only about one issue."

  • 71. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Nowhere near as hate-filled as the Sacramento Bee, though …

  • 72. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:42 am

    at a former place of employment where a manager actually got in my face, in front of a packed store and screamed: “I’m NOT GAY…SO LEAVE ME ALONE!”
    It shocked and scared the hell out of me because before this happened, I had never even MET this manager!

    Sometimes I go around announcing that I have no problem with people who listen to New Country, as long as they don't try to recruit me into a New Country band, or push New Country on my children, or have New Country songs played in schools.

    Then people look at me like I'm crazy. I can never figure out why…

    Also, as a heterosexual man, whenever I am introduced to a heterosexual woman that I am not attracted to, I make sure to get this right out on the table: "I've got no problem with you lady, as long as you don't try to have sex with me." For some reason, this seems to get me fired a lot…

  • 73. Lies  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Wow, I must look out for God is not Great, it sounds interesting.

    I'm personally a bit on the fence about whether there can be a higher power or not – I'm not sure I really care – but I'm sure there was a man Jesus at some point who went around preaching, and I think that if that man were alive today, he'd be right here on this website with us. Let the Yes on 8 people think about that one!

  • 74. B  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Which was a great, important point James. Thanks for making it.

  • 75. Lies  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:50 am

    "It’s also why we have to build a huge grassroots effort with straight folks as well as gay folks, to demand equality now and to mean it. "

    I agree with this. I believe that if we stand truly united, both LGBT and LGBT supporters, we CAN wield political power. If approximately 5-10% of all people are LGBT (I have no idea if that's accurate, but you know what I mean), then how many millions of gay people are there in the US alone? Add all progressive straight people to that, and we can be a substantial, important group. But we have to stand together. That's why I love this website. It truly gives me a sense of community.

  • 76. James Sweet  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Exactly what changed my mind about federal hate crimes legislation, as I described above.

    I still share FishyFred's reservations about municipal hate crime legislation (i.e. if you are in a city liberal enough to pass a law against anti-gay hate crime, you probably don't have to worry about enforcement or lenient sentencing… heh…)

  • 77. Ben  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Certainly not downplaying your experience, StaceyB, but you should try being in the military sometime. After being unceremoniously kicked out three and a half years ago, I still get a ~$400 bill from those folks every month for the 2.5 years of college tuition they paid for but I was unable to meet service obligations because of DADT.

  • 78. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:56 am

    I have to tell you this: I concur. I also understand, though, that this requires a whole lot of folks to be "out" who might not be comfortable doing so for whatever reason.

    I have been threatened with physical violence, cyberstalked, harassed — all for being a straight ally. I have the police department on speed dial because of this. These people are not joking around with their violence against LGBT people and their supporters. Just like they were against African-Americans and their allies in the 1960s.

    122 people were murdered last year because they were transgendered. No other motive. That's a 33 percent increase from the year before. Every time anti-LGBT legislation passes, violent crimes against LGBT people increase.

    I understand that the only way this works is if we all work together — just like Montgomery and Selma. I also understand that some people just cannot be "out" in a public way, for whatever reason. Words cannot express how much I wish it weren't so. I have a far greater understanding of *why* that is based on what I've been through since 2004 when I first started working on this issue.

  • 79. Choinski  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:59 am

    If anything, I always looked upon Will & Grace as the gay 'Amos & Andy'. We were all supposed to be thrilled that show was on the air, yet most of the on-screen romance portayed was hetero and and the humor was heavily skewed to stereotype.

  • 80. M S  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:59 am

    I would love to agree with you, FishyFred, but I hesitate on the basis of what is also already true of our criminal justice system: Murder is murder, but WHO you murder makes a big difference as to how harshly you are judged/sentenced. Killing a cop is bad, killing a pregnant woman worse, and killing the President of the United States is a whole different category of crime altogether. Meanwhile, soldiers kill both enemy combatants on purpose and innocent bystander-type civilians by accident, sometimes in the same operation, and face no charges whatsoever– and maybe even earning themselves medals or other decorations– unless… their actions somehow qualify as war crimes, which is a distinction that will take decades to figure out, much less publicize or prosecute.

    So, yes, a crime ought to be a crime, no matter who the victim or the perpetrator is. And yes, sentencing guidelines ought to reflect the gravity of the crime as well as a given society's abhorrence for it and/or its need to be protected from its perpetrators. But that's exactly it. Creating legislation that adds specific considerations to the sentencing guidelines based on the relationship between victim and perpetrator is not ridiculous– it's paying attention.

  • 81. Ozymandias  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:00 am

    "Judge: I guess he did not respond rapidly in this case! (Huge gales of laughter)."

    *sputter* *cough* Coffee up the nose!! *cough* *hack*

    Oh my God – this testimony is just devastating. To see just how deeply ingrained the animus is toward us is sobering – but I am so thankful to see it nonetheless!

    You guys rock!

  • 82. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:01 am

    The use of the word "Terrorism" and the phrase "War on Terrorism" both are calculated to inflame and fan the fires of the gullible public,
    I am NOT supporting Terrorism, simply saying that if the public/orGovernment stated that the Church is supporting a War of Terrorism against Queers-it just wouldn't have the weight that it has when it brings to the mind some OTHER wierdo to the average Joe-a dark skinned dude in a turban.

    Yes it is Terrorism. It is Hate. Both are immoral and (fortunately) there are laws naming both-and yes, both take a heavier scrutiny under the law.

  • 83. Raven  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Another day of this trial, another hero found. Thank you Prof. Segura!

  • 84. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:05 am

    I seem to remember an awful lot of worried people in the very early 60's-and some pretty hateful things said (check out MadMen if you don't remember those days…lol) about a…whisper…Catholic! running for POTUS!!! OMG!

  • 85. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Not to get off on their illogic, but-why do they call themselves Christian and claim to be followers of a man who said "I bring you a new covenanent" (effectively saying "forget that old trashy book and learn new ways") and then cherry pick from the book that their supposed hero told them to dispose of???

    My DP and I decided last night that the problem with these people is they don't want to think. They want to be told how to think. It is easier, and it hurts their little minds to try to wrap around and arguement and win-they have to be told what to say.

  • 86. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Ok-we need the Sisters out there to be handing out drool towels now!
    This is all just too good to be true, eh?

  • 87. CajunBoyLgb  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Hi Robyn from a fellow Kossack!

    Absolutely 100% agree with you. The wheels of change for trans people run excruciatingly slowly. But as I've said before: You and your trans brothers and sisters are probably the bravest of all of us, and unlike some in the civil rights war, we LGBQ folk won't rest until you have full equality as well.

  • 88. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:19 am

    The fundies are thinking…"did I hear they are constructing new quarters down there somewhere…oh oh…"

  • 89. Patrick Regan  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:21 am

    I agree. I wish they had a small blurb about Prof. Segura in the Key name & players section of the site.

    *Pat nudges the site admins* *wink*

  • 90. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Hey James C is on the list as a witness for the defense!

  • 91. Nick  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:23 am

    I am so glad I don't have close neighbours-I am rather loud when I yell, and laugh at the proceedings…

  • 92. couragecampaign  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Hey Patrick,

    We will get something up when we can. Been a little crazy round the virtual Courage office today with the lawsuit and all.

    -Julia

  • 93. Matthew S.  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:25 am

    And these people were going to be DEFENSE witnesses?? No wonder they backed out.

  • 94. ron  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:26 am

    When this becomes a movie I hope its in 3D

  • 95. Eric Thut  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Fiona – thank you for standing up for our LGBT brothers and sisters and sorry for the threats you have endured. At a gay friendly straight guy in Kansas City I have never felt that pressure, but it could be that they are less likely to threaten a guy whi is north of 250# ;)

    I know i can and should do more to support the LGBT community but often don't know what that is. Kind of like when I want to help stand up against racism/sexism but feel that as a straight white dude I worry that my involvement may be questioned or not welcomed whole-heartedly. I think an organized and carefully thought out campaign of requesting specific actions for the straight communtiy would be welcomed by many people in my situation. Just tell us whose ass you want us to kick and we will be there by your side.

  • 96. Carl  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Looooove this. Just cause we're gay, doesn't mean we'll hit on you. Maybe if you lost 50 pounds, 14 years from your face, and put on some deodorant and some pants that fit…

    Then maybe. But only after you buy me a drink.

  • 97. Marlene Bomer  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:38 am

    This is also the president who said that atheists are not American and not deserving of civil rights, either!

  • 98. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:40 am

    funny!

  • 99. Bill  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:47 am

    This portion of the trial will be looked back upon as the most important. The most life-changing, game-changing, for LGTB citizens.

  • 100. Pam  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Where is separation of church and state? Why are these churches who organize for political reasons, donate money to political causes and volunteer for political processes allowed to keep their tax exempt status? Can someone explain how that works? 1700 church leaders organized into a political rapid response team and they meet every week with followers to enlist support for their causes including volunteer effort and donations. It's just wrong! Someone needs to organize an effort to blow the whistle on them one by one. Totally dismantle their political network.

  • 101. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Wait a minute you mean they weren't scared of the "Pink Mafia"? LOL

  • 102. Bill  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:56 am

    An unfortunate price of liberty is that innocents will die in the fight for it.

    Yet, not until LGTB citizens AND OUR ALLIES take up civil disobedience will we see real action or true liberty for LGTB citizens.

    I've seen this first hand since the 60's.

    However, there is simply no telling how violent the religious crazies will get with us until we achieve equality. Then we will truly see them for what they really are.

    Right now, what is happening is that there is a generational transition occurring, so more people (under 40's) are coming aboard to support US and are recognizing the religious crazies for what they are – CRAZY.

    But I must admit, I am simply not an advanced enough human being to not take a bit of glee in watching the religious fundamentalists becoming the 'new faggots'
    in terms of how society is beginning to view them.

    These fundamentalists will destroy themselves, eventually. There simply exists no other alternative. The scary part is, how many of us will they take out in the process.

    To them, we ARE evil. We are, in their minds, minions of Satan himself.

    So how, really, do you being to 'change the hearts and minds' of people who possess neither?

  • 103. Mykelb  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:57 am

    "And that’s another crux of this trial. It’s time to rethink how we organize and “do” political power. " I don't believe we (LGBT) have any political power as a group. Anyone who says we do, is a liar. I believe that our Constitution will win out in the end. Politics is just another game people play with our lives. I say "F" politics, SUE!

  • 104. David John Lawrence  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:09 am

    "… the guys from Protect Marriage who are suing Courage for our logo on this blog are sitting behind me in the witness chairs in this upstairs courtroom where we’ve been for two weeks. They are always there. We are always polite to each other, but they seem not to like me or Courage or any of you.]"

    You can be sure that they do not like you, not one little bit. They are sitting there (behind you) to intimidate you. You should have 6-8 friendly people sitting around you *and* them to make clear that they are free to sit wherever they want, but that you and they are surrounded by people who do not hate you (and us).

  • 105. Tom  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:12 am

    If you want animus, go to Townhall.com. Here is a sampling of comments from two older threads about SSM topics:

    "How can we keep allowing someone whom is a degenerate, and lacking any moral code, to run our banking system? How can we trust them to do the right thing when they have rejected the right WAY?"

    "So let's call a spade a spade–homosexuals are not equal in the eye's of Nature so why are we trying to force equality where there is none. Nature discriminates, so it is natural for humans to discriminate."

    "Again it is the COMMIEQRS who promise transparency like they LIE about EVERYTHING then CHEAT you behind closed doors. Closet Queens, all of them."

    "The gays have warped all things good and normal in our society. The gays do now want to abstain from sex, they heavily promote sex. The sign of the rainbow has been twisted from being a sign between God and us after the flood, to a gay symbol. June has been twisted to mean gay pride month and not the month for June brides…"

    "You can get legislators to make all the laws you want you freaking freaks. But nothing is ever going to stop people from looking at you with revulsion and disgust when you are in public."

    "Homosexuals lead lives of the living dead. God have mercy on them."

    "Our once great country is headed for the junk heap of history, driven in great part by sexual perversion. By all means let's hear it for same sex mariage, Hell ain't half full."

  • 106. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Replying to Eric and Bill here, since I ran out of thread, LOL.

    I am very much "out" as an ally. I dealt through legal channels with the cyberstalking (which included the person finding and posting my personal information in a public forum). The Yes on 8 supporter who came to my door to try to physically intimidate me into taking down my "No on 8" sign? He got sent on his way with an earful about the Constitution … and a large dog barking at him that, frankly, he's lucky I didn't let loose. (My dogs are not amused by strangers yelling at their mom, LOL.)

    The harassment? I figure it's *nothing* compared to what my LGBT friends deal with every day. My best friend for many years was a gay man (our friendship drifted apart, as does happen). A man to whom I was engaged at one point in my life is now a transwoman — he was afraid to tell me the real reason he broke our engagement (isn't that the saddest thing ever, that he couldn't even feel safe with someone who loved him?). I have many LGBT friends because I was in theatre for many years, and because of MCC. I *know* that I sit in a position of heterosexist privilege just because I was born straight. I can take namecalling and assorted bullshit from people like George.

    What I *cannot* and will not sit still for is people who want to force their religious beliefs into law because they find some particular group of people "icky." I know that the real slippery slope is none of the crap they come up with about marrying their lamps, or pedophilia — it's that *any* group's rights can be put up for grabs. What's next — burning me alive because I'm Wiccan? Taking away my right to vote? Forcibly reversing my tubal ligation and making me have kids I don't want (I suspect that George would think the world of Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale" would be just dandy).

    Civil rights, no matter what some people *seem to think,* are not predicated on the color of your skin or the ethnicity to which you ascribe. They are predicated on your existence. Period.

    /soapbox

  • 107. karen in kalifornia  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:24 am

    The list of prop8 churches and supporters on their website was taken down the day after Prop 8 passed…screen capture anybody?

  • 108. Shira  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I wish that trans people would not get lost in this testimony. Many of the hate crimes that are attributed to the gay community are actually committed against trans folks, and a VERY high percentage of trans folks experience hate crimes. Gay people are at high risk for hate-motivated violence, but let's not forget about our trans brothers and sisters. In the end, it's all motivated by fear of gender non-conformity. What a sad situation.

  • 109. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Oh, yes they are. They most definitely are.

  • 110. JJ  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Segura's testimony is awesome. The statistics are mind blowing. Thank you Courage Campaign. This site is teaching me a lot and is also really validating. You ROCK!

  • 111. fiona64  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Absolutely. I was shocked into tears during my MCC congregation's Day of Remembrance, that 122 people were murdered for being trans last year. We read every single name and how the person died — and if their name was not given, we claimed them as our family because that lack of ID meant that no one came forward to claim the poor person's remains.

    A man to whom I was once engaged is now a transwoman, and I have several trans friends who are infinitely dear to me. It hurts my heart that people cannot safely be who they are because of hatred, fear and bigotry on the part of others.

  • 112. Glenn I  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:56 am

    The discussion of our lack of political power – I had to stop a moment while reading it. I had to close my eyes and take a breath.

    Besides Obama I most lately remember the members of the New York State Senate that took campaign money promising they would support marriage equality then laughed as they voted against it. No, there is no one higher than, say, a city councilmember in a city with a large gay population who wakes up wondering how they're going to survive (politically) the ire of the gays.

    We are really nothing more than beggars in the political arena – if it's easy to give us a hand out then fine, if not, our cups stay empty.

  • 113. truthspew  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Great testimony today. Seguras is definitely mopping the floor with the Prop 8 proponents claims that we're powerful and well represented.

    Check this one out. The dark purple are states that provide the full measure to LGBT, while dark blue is LGB only. Fortunately I live in a state that is dark purple.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LGBT_employment

  • 114. Bill Seaton  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I can't believe I missed all these great comments while I was molting…

  • 115. Steve J  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:01 am

    It seems these Prop 8 people couldn't find their ass with both hands!

  • 116. Liveblogging Day 7: Part &hellip  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

    [...] Liveblogging Day 7: Part II [...]

  • 117. QDN  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    To your point Rick about political power, a few gems from Chairman Mao:

    Despise the enemy strategically, but take him seriously tactically.

    In time of difficulties, we must not lose sight of our achievements.

    Passivity is fatal to us. Our goal is to make the enemy passive.

    "Gay Rights" has been too much about angsty upper-middle class whites than broad coalitions lead by unflagging partisans willing to destroy their enemy, pressure their allies, and discipline their political resources. We need to start appraising the thousands of sham 'religious' leaders, Mormon political actors (trying to curry favor with the christian right), and conservative culture warriors for what they are–a dangerous political body with tremendous capacity.

    The idea that all fundamentalists are the same is, of course, ridiculous. But don't for a second doubt that grandma down on the third pew won't vote against queers if her pastor tells her to. And don't doubt that pastor will take orders from spiritual conference calls, distribute central 'church' literature, and interrupt a service in the house of God to tell his people how to vote. It happens folks.

    If queers want to stop groveling before their straight overlords ("please give me rights, I swear I'm not all those terrible things you say I am") then it's time we name our enemy for what it is–a population that finds strength in hosannas while they beat you with a bat.

    God is great.

  • 118. Lawrence  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    But omg the irony here (at ~12:20) where Obama is used to support the case of lack of power by showing that he has done absolutely nothing to help! Thanks for not helping? :)

  • 119. David  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    There is an analogy to hate crimes criminalization of a persons intent and that would be all conspiracy legislation. At least, to a non-lawyer, it seems like they are also based on intent and not just the original crime.

  • 120. Jeffrey  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Many people think this country was set up as a democracy. It is one of the greatest misconceptions of our government. I am not making a political statement here; it is a factual statement. Read the federalist papers. Madison and most of the other founding fathers abhored democracy as a political system. Remember that the second continental congress met in secret at first with the idea of scrapping the articles of confederation and remaking a new constitution. They believed that the masses would end in anarchy if democracy was introduced, so instead they opted for a republic where representatives made decisions based on their constituencies. In fact, the bill of rights was an idea specifically set up to stop anyone from 'voting away' those rights by mere majority.

    But in so many states there initiatives, and like california, civil rights can be voted away just like that. In the federalist papers they called this kind of thing the tyranny of the majority and they wanted to avoid it at all costs. Gays and lesbians have been truly hurt by the initiative system.

    This trial, and by proxy, this site tracking it, has been fascinating. As a gay man, i am very angry about the lack of rights we have. Also, i feel our country has suffered a huge setback in civil rights in general.

    This trial isn't just about gay rights. Imagine, the most hated minority in america, if we get justice, that will truly give me hope for civil rights and justice in america vs. theocratic/corporate america.

    But i fear that even if we win this case, it will not matter. the US Supreme court will simply overule them. Does anyone think they make decisions based more on law or on political considerations? If that happens, gay marriage wont come to the US for a long time, until the court conservative majority basically dies out.

    Yet, I am in support of this trial happening now, even though we might lose, because our case is just and this debate must be had, out in the open.

    what amazes me is that the people on the other side seem to think that somehow we are going to go away. If they can just get people to understand being gay is evil, then gay people will just disappear somehow.

    I am proud to be part of this, and to know that gay people have consistently lived in the open, up front, no matter what the consequences. In the meanwhile, religious nuts conspire in back board rooms with corporate elites against gay people so that they dont have to deal with their secret 'dirty little secrets.'

    No matter what happens in this trial, or ever in the US regarding gay civil rights, we will know who was in the right , who was in the open, and who was closed off, secretive, and afraid.

    I am not religious, but if there is a day of reckoning, we will all know whose consciences are clean.

    Loving our fellow neighbor is the answer. I know that, and i am sorry if this message is too angry to show that i do. Thank you so much for what you are doing on this site. Love you all

    jeff

  • 121. Tony Douglass in Ca  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I bet its in Google's cache somewhere!!!

  • 122. Rev Scott West  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Here in the midwest, people are acutely aware of what is going on in this country, and the encouragement garnered from Prop 8 helps keep more and more people in the closet.
    It is dangerous and destructive- too many people lose hope and destroy themselves.
    Hate is not a gospel value, never was no matter who spouts it. and as for the Unholy alliance of Rome with the Mormons, I have to ask- Is the Nazi pope wearing majik underwear now?

  • 123. michael  |  January 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Your comment gave me the chills. Spot on Rev. Spot on!

  • 124. James  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    To me it makes no sense that we have to prove we are a class of citizens. If we weren't a class of citizens why would "No group in American society, including undocumented aliens who are a distant second, that has been targeted by ballot measures than g and l. Since 1970s, over 200. Lost 70." why would there be over 200 measures against a non existent class?

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