Day 2 of the Prop 8 Trial: History Lessons

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The second day of Perry v. Schwarzenegger has come to its end, and if you have followed the transcripts, it felt more like being in a Queer Studies class than a trial. The morning was a lesson on the history of marriage courtesy of Professor Nancy Cott of Harvard. Then, in the afternoon, Dr. George Chauncey of Yale outlined the history of the discrimination of gays and lesbians. It’s no wonder the opponents of marriage equality don’t want their followers to see these proceedings! They might learn something!

If you have the time, check out the transcripts below. There are some typos and spelling errors, but cut these guys a break! They are typing furiously so we can follow the proceedings in the absence of video coverage. Hopefully, the Supreme Court relieves their absurd burden soon. I’ve also included some other links of interest.

Rick Jacobs (Prop 8 Trial Tracker): Complete Transcript Summary, Mid-Morning Reflections, Day 2 Wrap-Up

Teddy Partridge (FireDogLake): Morning Part 1, Morning Part 2, Afternoon

Shannon Minter (NCLR): Day 2 Recap

Box Turtle Bulletin: Why Bill Tam Pulled Out of the Trial

CNN’s Lisa Bloom: Prop 8 is simply unconstitutional

Other News Updates on Towleroad, including the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Sacramento Bee

Because we haven’t seen a post since mid-day, I expect Andy Pugno will have another twisted look at the proceedings for the sake of Prop 8’s deluded followers. I’ll parse through it later if it comes up.

I really think Rick Jacobs effectively sums up how the two sides are approaching the case in his wrap-up today:

The Prop. 8 side wants to show that marriage has always (in the US) been a Christian institution between a man and a woman, that heterosexual marriage is really good for kids and that in fact homosexual marriage will “hurt” kids and will degrade the institution. Ultimately, they are trying to show that it will lead to less stability as people abandon the institution of marriage.

They are having a hard time with that because so far the evidence shows that by seeking access to marriage, groups previously excluded, such as slaves, interracial couples, certain classes of “foreigners” and in some cases women, have actually strengthened the institution by obtaining access.

Shannon Minter questions the tactics of the defendants:

Overall, Thompson’s cross-examination strategy did not succeed in undermining Professor Cott’s testimony, and toward the end Judge Walker encouraged Thompson to speed it up.  From a legal strategy perspective, it’s not clear why the defense chose to spend so much time asking Professor Cott about books and articles she had written, when all of those materials had already been put into evidence.  While that approach might occasionally win some points in a jury trial, in this case the judge will decide the facts.  In a nonjury case, it’s sufficient (and usually preferred) for the lawyers simply to read from articles and other documents that are in evidence in their closing arguments to the judge.  Given that reality, the cross-examination of Prof. Cott seemed mostly to be a waste of time that did very little, if any, good for the defenders of Prop 8.

It’s frustrating to see how the defendants try twist the facts, but it’s important to remember how much support we have. Friend of the blog, Sean Chapin, captured this lovely video from the Day 1 Rally. Melanie DeMore performs a classic anthem of the gay rights movement with tears in her eyes. Enjoy:

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