Day 6 of the Prop 8 Trial: Overcoming Prejudice and Not Impacting Marriage

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Before I get to today’s roundup, I have to follow up on my post this morning criticizing another blog’s post on the issue of choice and homosexuality. Since then, Prop 8 on Trial has offered another post correcting a lot of the misinformation and disrespectful language that was present in their previous post. I thank them for making these corrections and for their continued commentary on the trial.

The most distressing part of today’s proceedings was the cross-examination in which defense counsel Charles Cooper demonstrated a complete ineptness for statistics and/or a pathetic scheme to spin the data to his liking. I really appreciated David Dayen’s comment on the matter during his liveblogging on Firedoglake:

Cooper wants to discredit Badgett as a witness. So he’s just playing around with her numbers and strongly suggesting that they aren’t accurate. For example, he just took an unreliable sample of people who went into Massachusetts to get married and extrapolated that to get a lower number than Badgett previously estimated for that action. But Badgett clearly stated that the first five months of the change in law would be different and that there are all kinds of mitigating factors. Essentially, Cooper was saying, “Isn’t it true that my made-up numbers are lower than your numbers?” To which Badgett replied, “yeah, they’re made up.”

Cooper further is intimating that nobody would have voted for or against Prop 8 for fiscal reasons, so Badgett’s testimony is not germane. But that’s not the point of Badgett’s testimony. She’s saying that there’s a clear harm to individuals as well as the government for being denied marriage. The voting inclination has nothing to do with it.

If you’re courageous enough to dig through and try to make sense of Cooper’s tactics, more power to you! Here’s a roundup of today’s links!

ZFb: Everything You Need To Know About Today’s Prop 8 Proceedings In One Little Post, Protect Marriage, Day 6: Body Blows and Flying Cards

P8TT: Complete Transcript Summary, Why Jerry Sanders’ Testimony Mattered …, Brief Thought on Lee Badgett’s Testimony, Netherlands Obsession (GREAT look at the defense’s tactics), The Unspoken Word: DOMA, Data from the Netherlands

Firedoglake: Morning 1, Morning 2, Afternoon 1, Afternoon 2

Shannon Minter (NCLR): Day 6 Recap

San Jose Mercury: Prop. 8 trial Day 6: Live coverage from the courtroom

Los Angeles Times: San Diego mayor cites ‘prejudice’ in earlier opposition to gay marriage, Same-sex couples prefer marriage to domestic partnerships, economist testifies

San Diego 6: Mayor Sanders Testifies in Gay Marriage Trial (Includes multiple videos!)

Keen News Service: Mid-day report: second Tuesday morning Prop 8 trial

New York Times: Maureen Dowd: The Trials of Gavin Newsom (A look at the origins of same-sex marriage in California)

The New Yorker: A Conservative Voice for Gay Marriage (This piece is about Mayor Sanders.)

Good As You: Seriously, Maggie: You and sleep — how? (You should see how insensitive Maggie Gallagher is!)

LGBT POV: Yusef Robb: Day 7 of the Prop 8 trial (What to expect tomorrow!)

To sum up, here’s an excerpt from Shannon Minter’s analysis of today’s proceedings about the cross-examination tactics:

Charles Cooper cross-examined Professor Badgett for nearly three hours, by far the longest examination of the day.  In a pattern that has now become familiar in this trial, Cooper spent most of his time trying to poke holes in various minor details of Professor Badgett’s analysis, without challenging her larger conclusions. Cooper’s examination fell especially flat when he put charts in front of Badgett that he claimed showed marriage equality in the Netherlands had led to lower rates of marriage, larger numbers of unmarried couples raising children, and larger numbers of single parents raising children.  Professor Badgett did not agree with his characterizations, saying that these changes seemed to reflect long-term trends that were not affected in any way by permitting same-sex couples to marry, and stating that a longer range of dates needed to be studied before drawing any conclusions.  On redirect, plaintiffs’ attorney David Boies skillfully exploited the weakness of Cooper’s charts, putting up much longer-term data that made clear that there has been no significant change at all in long-term trends in rates of marriage and unmarried parenting in the Netherlands since same-sex couples have been permitted to marry.  Moreover, in Massachusetts, the data showed that marriage rates have actually increased since the arrival of marriage equality in 2004, and divorce rates there have decreased more than in the United States as a whole.

I hope we don’t have to sit through anything that excruciating again, but I’m not optimistic.

On a lighter note, a project is underwear to produce video reenactments of the trial! These should be a fun way to follow the trial in the absence of real video footage. The first round of videos are expected tomorrow!

That’s all for today. Check back tomorrow for more updates, or as always, visit the Perry v. Schwarzenegger archive!

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