As Perry v. Schwarzenegger progresses, I want to make sure to highlight the spin coming from Proposition 8’s defendants. This afternoon, Andy Pugno released a statement spinning the testimony of historian Nancy Cott this morning. You’ll note that the summaries on Protect Marriage avoid detail as much as possible and are also closed to comments. Take a look:
This morning’s testimony by the plaintiffs’ expert witness on the history of marriage, Professor Nancy Cott, attempted to describe the history of marriage in our nation without acknowledging the obvious: that it has universally understood to be between a man and a woman.
First, I have to call Pugno on being so pretentious as to just disregard the testimony of an expert witness, though of course, I’m sure we’ll do the same thing for the defense’s witnesses. But that’s actually not what Cott testified. In fact, she spent a lot of time talking about polygamy and how it was only Christianity that imposed monogamous values over the past couple hundred years. But for the folks who will only get their coverage from Protect Marriage’s site, I’m sure Pugno wants to make sure they don’t actually learn anything. Their minds would probably be blown if they actually read the full testimony that devoted bloggers have been furiously typing all day.
Anyways, let’s see what else he had to say.
She was able to avoid this reality by choosing her words carefully, but then on cross examination by David Thompson, one of our legal team attorneys, reality came crashing down on her like a ton of bricks. In fact, the witness did great damage to the plaintiffs’ own case, making key admissions in our favor.
This is hardly true. Thompson asked rapid-fire yes/no questions and did not let Cott speak at any length. When the plaintiffs’ lawyer followed-up, she was able to clarify most of her points. None the less, here’s how he tries to spin her testimony:
For example, she conceded that the consequences of same-sex marriage are impossible to know. She also admitted on the stand 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.
This is all burden of proof stuff. When I challenge religious beliefs, this is why. Pugno is trying to suggest that because there has not been proof of consequences, that means the proof just hasn’t been found yet. He’s trying to put the cart before the horse, but he has to—it’s the crux of his argument: gay marriage is bad.
What Cott admitted on the stand about “traditional marriage” is that many perceive it that way. Almost all of her testimony spoke to the flexibility of marriage, and how every time it has changed, it has changed for the better. Further, the plaintiffs wouldn’t be advocating for a government-sanctioned right if society’s respect for same-sex relationships weren’t important. Pugno’s good at twisting the fact for his base, but I don’t think any of these arguments are going to fly with Judge Walker. He’s sharp.
On a separate note, the presentation of Prof. Cott as a scholarly observer fell apart when she admitted to being an entrenched and committed advocate for changing the law to allow same-sex marriage. Whether filing legal briefs, lobbying to pass legislation or supporting organizations that advocate the deconstruction of marriage, she was solidly revealed as an irretrievably biased witness.
I know many think this hurts Cott’s testimony. Of course she’s saying things that support the plaintiff’s case; why else would they have called her? But regardless of her bias, she’s still an expert on the issues at hand. It doesn’t matter what her bias is, the facts she shares are still facts. If anything, her admission that she supports same-sex marriage should hurt the defendants. They claim to speak for “traditional marriage,” and here is an expert on the tradition of marriage who doesn’t side with them. But hey, pat yourself on the back wherever you think you can, I guess… and just keep dreaming!
Meanwhile, we are still waiting on a permanent decision from the United States Supreme Court following their temporary ruling that suspended the televising of the trial.
We continue to believe that we cannot get a fair and impartial trial if our witnesses are subjected to worldwide exposure of their personal beliefs and morals.
This never gets old. I still find it astounding that they are essentially admitting that their witnesses are going to make them look evil. They don’t want everyone to see them for what they are. Always be suspicious of people who have things to hide.
Stay tuned for another roundup of today’s proceedings as well as another deconstruction of another statement I’m sure we’ll get from Pugno. Given that the afternoon focused on the history of discrimination against gays and lesbians, I can only imagine how offensive his next comment will be.