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Prop 8 Trial: Day 9 Recap & Day 10 Preview

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The case against Prop 8, which banned gay marriage in California, continues today in a federal district court. The plaintiffs (pro gay marriage) are expected to rest their case with documents and videos that reinforce points made during the first two weeks of trial. As for Friday, here's what happened and what each side is saying, per the plaintiff legal team and the defendants:

  • From the Plaintiffs (e-mail): "Taking the stand on Friday was Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. a Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis. He testified about the nature of sexual orientation; that mainstream mental health professionals and behavioral scientists do not regard homosexuality as an illness or disorder, and that "change therapies" have been scientifically discounted, and can be extremely harmful. He endured more than five hours of cross examination without wavering from his testimony."
  • From the Defendants (blog): "Initially, Herek gave his professional opinion that sexual orientation is an unchangeable trait for gays and lesbians... However, under hours of piercing cross examination by Prop 8 defense attorney Howard Neilson, Jr., Herek admitted that the evidence that homosexuality is genetically wired is “weak,” that “we don’t understand or know the origin of sexual orientation in men or women,” and that “no one knows what causes homosexuality.” In fact, he said there are at least 3 different ways of defining sexual orientation, and conceded that there is actually no scientifically unambiguous definition of homosexuality. He also explained that the number of categories of sexual orientation (straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, etc.) has expanded and continues to grow as certain groups find new ways to describe their sexual orientation.