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Prop 8 Trial: Day 7 Recap & Day 8 Preview

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Here we are on day 8 of the federal court case challenging Prop 8, which banned gay marriage in California. Lots has happened outside the case--Cindy McCain siding with the plaintiffs, Prop 8 experts dropping, all which we'll get to soon--but here is a wrap up of yesterday and what's happening today, per the plaintiff's legal team:

  • Ryan Kendall, a gay man who was forced into “conversion therapy” as a teenager, took the stand yesterday. "[Therapy] was a very emotionally abusive environment,” he said. “I remember my mother saying she hated me, that I was repulsive. She said she wished she'd had an abortion …I was incredibly suicidal and depressed. I hated my entire life.” After therapy, "I was just as gay as when I started. I knew I was gay, just like I knew I was short and half Hispanic. I never thought those facts would change.”
  • After Kendall, Gary M. Segura, Ph.D, Professor of American Politics in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University, took the stand. He spoke about the relative political power of gays and lesbians as a class of citizens, and their level of political vulnerability.
    • "Initiatives have been used to roll back legislative gains by gays and lesbians over and over," Segura said."There is no group in America....who've been targeted by ballot initiatives more than gays and lesbians."
    • The gay and lesbian community has lost 33 of the 34 ballot measures across the country dealing with marriage, noted Segura. “Gays and lesbians do not possess a meaningful degree of political power."
    • Also, taped depositions of two of the defense witnesses were shown. Both have dropped out of the case, but plaintiffs showed the tapes to illustrate how even the defense's witnesses are proving Prop 8 to be wrong.

    As for today, here's what's expected:

    • Dr. Gary Segura will continue with a cross examination by the defense, the official proponents of Prop 8.
    • Next up will be William Tam, who as an Official Proponent of Prop. 8 was personally responsible for putting the initiative on the ballot and voluntarily taking over its defense in court by intervening in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Tam tried to be excused from the trial before it began, citing a fear for his and his family's safety. His deposition, shown last week in court, illustrated his discriminatory motivations of Prop. 8.
    • - Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. a Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis, is then expected to take the stand. He will testify about the nature of sexual orientation, how mainstream mental health professionals and behavioral scientists regard homosexuality, benefits conferred by marriage, stereotypes relating to lesbians and gay men, stigma and prejudice directed at lesbians and gay men, the harm to lesbians and gay men and their families as a consequence of being denied the right to marry, and how the institution of domestic partnerships differs from that of marriage and is linked with antigay stigma.
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