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The Federal Prop 8 Trial: Day 3 Recap & Day 4 Preview

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It's the fourth day of the federal Prop 8 trial and more experts brought in by the plaintiffs (two gay couples) will go on the stand. Here's a quick recap of yesterday, thanks to the Courage Campaign's live blog:

  • George Chauncey, PhD, a professor at Yale University and expert on the history of discrimination against gays, continued his testimony from Tuesday afternoon. The most explosive portion came during the redirect examination by plaintiff-intervener San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart brought in a videotaped deposition of Prop 8 proponent William Tam from December 1st, 2009. The defense strenuously opposed it's introduction, but Judge Vaughn Walker let it in because Tam was an official proponent of the measure. In part, Tam said that after legalizing gay marriage, next steps would be legalizing prostitution, then sex with children. More details about this can be found on an earlier LAist post.
  • Another interesting piece of evidence brought in by Stewart were texts from the Vatican. “Allowing children being adopted by gay couples would do violence to these children. Their condition of dependency would stunt their full human development,” it read.
  • In the afternoon, Dr. Letitia Anne Peplau, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, was brought up to testify about the beneficial effects marriage can provide to a person’s health and well-being as well as the social and personal importance that is attached to marriage.
  • "I looked at the marriage and divorce rate in Massachusetts — during the 4 years before marriage equality, and the 4 years after. What’s very clear to me is that there has been no change,…" she said in response to a question about the effects of gay marriage on same-sex couples.
  • The defense challenged Peplau by bringing up a 25-year-old study of hers that stated that sexual exclusivity may be “more the exception than the rule” in gay male relationships and sexual affairs can be a “complement” to a steady relationships. Peplau replied "The article is 25 years old — an “oldie.” I think we’d have a different study today. Back then, nobody was talking about same-sex marriage. Gay relationships were far more secretive, there was much more of a stigma. I’m not retracting what I said of what I found at the time. What we’re talking about is whether statements are accurate today."
  • Prop 8 Proponents called the day a success in their blog.

In no particular order, the following experts could be called up today:

  • Dr. Edmund Egan, Chief Economist for the City and County of San Francisco, on the nature and magnitude of costs incurred by the City and County as a result of the denial of marriage to gays and lesbians.
  • Dr. Ilan H. Meyer, Associate Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, who will testify about the stigma and prejudice gay and lesbians individuals face in society.
  • Helen Zia, a lesbian author who will testify about her sexual orientation, her experiences with discrimination, and the effects of being denied the right to marry her longtime partner.

Read LAist's Guide to the Prop 8 Trial plus recaps for Day 1 and Day 2.