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Day 1 Recap of the Federal Prop 8 Trial

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As the second day of the trial moves forward, let's quickly look back at yesterday's proceedings, based on the Courage Campaign's live blog:

  • Opening statements were made by lawyers on each side. Ted Olson for the plaintiffs talked about the unconstitutionally of Prop 8, which banned same sex marriage in California. The Defendents' lead counsel, Chris Cooper, talked about how marriage is a “Pro-child” institution that is meant between a man and a woman and if gay marriage is legalized, it will be de-institutionalized. Also, the legalization of gay marriage will lead to higher divorce rates and lower rates of marriage, he said, noting an expert will be brought to the stand on the issue.
  • All four plaintiffs--two gay couples--were brought up and questioned about the impact of Prop 8 on their lives. Only the men were cross-examined by the defense, much of it about the impact on children.
  • The most interesting part of the day was when Professor Nancy Cott took the stand. She's the Trumball Professor of American History at Harvard (formerly the Sterling Professor at Yale) and is an expert on the history of marriage in the United States. Perhaps the most enlightening was the talk about slaves, emancipation and how marriage to them was the foundation of their rights.

Today's trial will begin with more testimony from Cott. She is expected to be followed with testimony from George Chauncey, PhD, a professor at Yale University, who will talk about the history of discrimination experienced by gays and lesbians in the United States.