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Prop 8 Trial: Day 8 Recap & Day 9 Preview

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Boy, was yesterday a doozy in the case against Prop 8, which banned gay marriage in California. Yesterday, one of the official sponsors of the initiative was brought up to the stand as well as another expert from the plaintiff's side. Here's a little recap, per the plaintiff legal team:

  • As an Official Proponent of Prop. 8, William Tam is responsible for putting the initiative on the ballot and taking over its defense in court by intervening in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. On the stand today, he confirmed that he “supervised the preparation of the appropriate language of Proposition 8.”
  • David Boies questioned Tam about several statements against marriage equality, including a pro-Prop. 8 email that stated: “They lose no time in pushing the gay agenda — after legalizing same-sex marriage, they want to legalize prostitution. What will be next? On their agenda list is: legalize having sex with children;" that "The San Francisco City Government is under the rule of homosexuals” and that gay men were twelve times more likely to molest children.
  • The court has previously viewed Yes on Prop. 8 ads urging voters to “protect our children.” Now it’s apparent that this message was working in concert with the type of discriminatory communications we heard today from an Official Proponent of Prop. 8. "That [Same-sex marriage] would lead to incest. That would lead to polygamy. If this is a civil right, what would prevent other groups form asking for the same right,” Tam testified in court today.
  • Tam was also questioned in court about a media interview he gave regarding his work to pass Prop. 8 in which he said: “We hope to convince Asian-Americans that gay marriage will encourage more children to experiment with the gay lifestyle and that the lifestyle comes with all kinds of disease.”
  • Tam also testified to working with, the lead pro-Prop. 8 campaign committee, on signature gathering, messaging, rallies, debates, weekly grassroots conferences and in signing a "statement of unity" between himself and the campaign, which laid out a formal campaign structure including him and his organization, the Traditional Family Coalition. He also noted that he spent the majority of his working hours on passing Prop. 8 from January to November 2008.
  • Today also continued the cross-examination of plaintiff expert Dr. Gary Segura, who testified yesterday about the relative political power of gays and lesbians as a class of citizens, and their level of political vulnerability.

And for today....

  • Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. a Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis will take the stand. He will testify about the nature of sexual orientation; how mainstream mental health professionals and behavioral scientists regard homosexuality; the 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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