Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prop 8 Defense Team Scores Major Points on Day 2 of Trial

Our stellar team of defense lawyers had another strong day undercutting the arguments of the plaintiffs’ experts in the federal court challenge to Proposition 8 (Perry v Schwarzenegger). As our General Counsel Andy Pugno reported earlier in the day the cross examination of Harvard Professor Nancy Cott was “a disaster” for the plaintiffs’ case.

Under cross examination by David Thompson, one of our defense litigators, Professor Cott first had to concede that she is not a neutral, independent expert as she had been presented for people to believe. In fact, Thompson got her to admit that she is an advocate for gay marriage and has testified in favor of same-sex marriage before legislatures, contributed to groups advocating for gay marriage and signed onto legal briefs in court cases seeking to legalize gay marriage. One of the groups that she has financially supported has openly encouraged polyamory as an alternative to traditional marriage. Polyamorous relationships are those involving three or more people who have a sexual relationship within a ‘group marriage.’

From a legal perspective, Cott made a particularly damaging concession that the public interest in promoting the raising of children by both a mother and father is a purpose that is promoted by traditional marriage. She also undermined the plaintiff’s characterization of marriage as a purely private decision when she conceded marriage is a highly public relationship in which society has great interest.

Professor George Chauncey of Yale University was the next plaintiff expert. He delivered interesting testimony about the history of discrimination that homosexuals have felt in America. His testimony included examples of gays and lesbians being jailed for engaging in homosexual sex, losing their jobs and being denied access to public accommodations because of their homosexuality. What Professor Chauncey didn’t explain, however, was what relevance past discrimination has to do with the constitutionality of Proposition 8. As the day was coming to a close, David Thompson began his cross examination and elicited an admission that, like Professor Cott, Chauncey is a gay marriage supporter who has contributed to several groups advocating the legalization of same-sex marriage. Tomorrow, Thompson is expected to question Professor Chauncey over his views that the messaging of the campaign is simply a continuation of past discrimination against homosexuals.

We have many days to go in the trial over traditional marriage. Today was a very good day. Several of our supporters in the courtroom asked our attorneys to dinner, in order to thank them for their efforts! Unfortunately, each of them declined because they needed to return to their temporary offices in San Francisco to immerse themselves in preparation for tomorrow’s hearing.

I hope that our communications over the past two days have given you a sense of the monumental effort being put forth to defend your vote and preserve traditional marriage. Please continue to support us with your prayers and financial sacrifice.


Ron Prentice, Executive Director

Also see:

Protect Marriage Blog