Monday, January 18, 2010

Prop8 on trial: the end of week 1

(See my earlier posts here and here for the beginning of the case). On Thursday (Day 4), we moved on with the case.

Expert Witness # 4: Edmund Egan, the chief economist in the Office of the Controller for the City of San Francisco. Stated that marriage inequality costs the city. Not only in loss of revenue from weddings, but also health insurance, and taxes. Cross tried to disprove this, nitpicking over numbers, and made the breathless claim that if fewer straights marry, might negate the effect.

Seems to me it would be pretty easy to get the numbers from MA about rates of marriage pre- and post-equality.

Expert Witness #5 Prof Ilan Meyer, Columbia, a social psychologist testifying about the harm of "minority stress", and the negative effects on GLBT people of always having to hide who they are, of making that snap decision about coming out. Do you mention you have a wife, not a husband, when carrying out the minutiae of everyday life? Do you guard pronouns? I think every GLBT person saw themselves in this testimony, I know reading it I wanted to say "That's it!" The cross appeared to try to state that DPs make it all better. This Quote from his testimony is pretty good:
“Young children do not aspire to be domestic partners; most young people desire and have a respected goal of attaining marriage…

Domestic partnerships do not have the same social meaning as marriage. I don’t know if it has any social meaning at all. It has legal value, but that’s not what I talk about with stigma.

Prop. 8 sends a message that it’s very highly valued by our constitution to reject gay people.”

Expert Witness #6: They spent a lot of time with this one: Prof Michael Lamb of Cambridge University on parenting. THis witness focused on evidence that GLBT parents have well adjusted and healthy children, not really different than straight parents. The cross focused on papers of the witness from 30 years ago stressing the importance of a father. THe witness returned that science and data have disproven earlier work, which led to a discussion of when science is wrong.

The subtext of the Pro8 side being, if you were wrong before, why aren't you wrong now? And that all science is based on politics. And then, the Prop8 attorney argued, since men can't breast feed, and women (on average) make less than need one of each. WTF?!?! Lamb pointed out that the Prop8 side were selectively citing out of date literature. The livebloggers commented that this was like the Scopes monkey trial, where science was on trial.

In any case, sure, data say that 2 hetero parents are better than one, when you compare a married couple to a single parent. The Prop8 side are trying to say that means 2 hetero parents are better, period. What has this to do with GLBT parents raising children? First, the fact is we ARE already raising children, regardless. And despite the opposition's best efforts to claim otherwise, studies say that our kids are doing just fine, thanks.

Second, if married couples are better off for kids welfare, then isn't it better if we are married?

With all this to-and-fro-ing you would think this proposition was about gay adoption.

Oh, and then he finishes up the cross with saying the kids are doing okay without marriage, so marriage doesn't matter! Wow. No consistency at all. Update, Margaret Talbot of the New Yorker also is shaking her head at this.

In the middle of this, the Prop8 defenders say their witnesses are withdrawing because they don't want to be recorded because they are afraid. After hearing how GLBT people are attacked violently? Some nerve! Perhaps instead they don't want to be associated with a band of biased luddites with indefensible anti-intellectual views. OR maybe they don't want to be cross-examined by Boies et al and made to look foolish. Since they withdrew AFTER the SCOTUS issued a stay, preventing broadcast, it does seem a little odd. But they claim that even a private recording is problematic. Maybe they'd like to stop the stenographer, too. I'm sure they'd like to stop the tweeters and livebloggers.

Expert Witness #7: Helen Zia, author. She's testifying as a married lesbian. The Prop8 defenders say that's of "limited relevance". Hmmmm...

Her testimony is painfully familiar:

“I feel constantly aware that my sexual orientation could for whatever reason provoke violence toward me or my loved ones. As I walk through life, especially when with my wife, I feel very aware of whether we hold hands in public, show affection. ....Even in my own neighborhood I feel fear.....“Prop. 8 messages were that I am an abomination, that my relationship to Leah is wrong. When we were out on street on Oakland working to get no votes, people would come up to me and say, excuse my language Your Honor, “you fucking dyke.” ....“Said essentially we are so offensive, we are not worthy of same rights of every hetero to be married, that we’d end human race. What do you do when someone is going to end human race, harm your children, what do you want to do? You want to stamp them out. It all made me feel endangered.
So while the Other Guys bleat that they are endangered, because of graffiti on a sign, let's remember who are the victims of violence. Again, quoting LGBTPOV (go to that link for the citations):

In LA County, for instance, hate crimes generally dropped 4% but they increased against LGBT people, prompted in part by Prop 8. According to the LA County Commission on Human Relations, there were 134 sexual-orientation hate crimes reported in 2008, up from 111 in 2007 – and were more likely to be violent than hate crimes motivated by race or religion.
In Santa Clara County, violent crimes against gays and lesbians accounted for more than half of the hate crimes last year – a huge leap from the 15% reported in 2007, the San Jose Mercury News reported last March.
Deputy District Attorney Jay Boyarsky said:

“My belief from having done this work for many years is that surges in types of hate incidents are linked to the headlines and controversies of the day.  Marriage equality and Proposition 8 have been in the news, and we have seen an increase in gay-bashing.”
So, who is REALLY injured by this case?

Tuesday, the plaintiffs' case (our side) continues.

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I do hope this will have effect, if not immediately, then soon!