Protect Marriage, Day 11: We’re Not Watching The Actual Trial, Just Making It Up

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Seriously, their witnesses know squat (see the roundup), but Andy Pugno is so proud and thinks the plaintiffs look so pathetic. What trial has he been watching?

Spaghetti Strategy

Once again, religion was on trial this morning as a lawyer for the challengers to Prop 8 cross-examined political scientist Kenneth Miller. In their desperate attempt to make something of their case stick, the anti-Prop 8 lawyer spent extraordinary time – four hours, in fact – trying to get the witness to concede that the margin of victory for Prop 8 in the November 2008 election was driven solely by “religious” voters.  But Dr. Miller’s testimony provided an impenetrable roadblock, establishing that—while religious views were certainly one of many factors that informed some voters’ support for Prop 8—no exit poll or voter study has shown that religion alone determined the result of the election.

In case you’re curious, “impenetrable roadblock” means unable to answer any of the questions.

And actually, this study shows that religious attendance, party, and ideology were the most significant factors in Prop 8’s passing. So, it’s nice that Andy Pugno is ignorant of this fact, but that doesn’t mean he’s right. In fact, it means he’s wrong! Oh, and just in case you don’t feel like bothering with reading through that whole study, here’s a graph that shows what had the biggest impacts on “Yes” votes. (Click to embiggen.)

But let’s assume for a moment that it could be shown that religious views formed the basis for even most of the voters who supported Prop 8.  So what?  Are we to understand that the votes of California’s faithful shouldn’t be counted?

So just in case there is a study, Pugno wants to make sure we know he doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter to him that religious beliefs were used to take a right away, or that those religious groups conspired to ensure the proposition’s passing, or that those groups all used the same messages of demonization to appeal to their congregations. No, Pugno just wants to ensure people can vote the way their hearts pastors tell them miseducate and frighten them to vote.

In any event, the plaintiff attorneys then changed gears and made another run at proving their claim that gays and lesbians are a “politically powerless” minority in California, entitled to extraordinary protection under the US Constitution.

Andy neglects to mention they did a pretty good job. In fact, he tries to say the opposite.

They hit a wall there, too, when they attacked California’s initiative process.  Their theory: that allowing the people to vote for or against ballot initiatives is unconstitutional because the voters on the losing side don’t get their way.  So, they claim, Prop 8 violates the rights of gays and lesbians because they couldn’t get enough votes to defeat it at the ballot box.  Seriously?  But the notion that gays and lesbians can’t win ballot contests in California fell apart when, on cross-examination by Prop 8 Legal Defense team member David Thompson, it came out that in every election in recent history where voters were asked to pass initiatives to increase discrimination against homosexuals, the people of California rejected them.

Actually, they claimed, using the witness’s own writings, that there is not a proper check on ballot initiatives because they allow the majoritarian will to outweigh the representative authority of the legislature and the jurisdiction of the courts.

Pugno’s right that Prop 6 didn’t pass back in the 70s, but he ignores all the times that voters did vote to discriminate against same-sex relationships. (Remember…? That’s the whole point of the trial? Hellloooo?)

The plaintiffs continue to throw things against the courtroom wall in hopes that something will stick.  The trouble is, their target isn’t the law. They’ve missed the mark in terms of legal arguments and therefore have to rely on strictly emotional appeals for sympathy.

Actually, they’ve made quite a few compelling arguments, and also provided plenty of evidence to combat any “arguments” the defense still plans on making.

Now, let’s see Andy remind us how awesome we are. We should be so lucky!

But no matter how loud the pleas for sympathy become, there is simply no legal basis for the fantastical, unsupportable claim that the homosexual community in California is “politically powerless.” Does Equality California, California’s biggest gay lobby organization, think of itself as powerless? Does the Human Rights Campaign, which featured President Obama at their latest dinner, believe they are politically powerless?  Are we to believe that these groups are politically powerless despite their ability to raise $43 million to oppose Prop 8, and to attract the support of the entire political establishment, Hollywood and the media?  Not with a straight face we can’t.

Is that a pun? You don’t think a group’s politically powerless when despite being a minority with a lot of support, they still lose? Do you even believe that such a thing as “politically powerless” exists?

I loved during Kenneth Miller’s cross-exam when, after he cited the passing of hate crimes protections as evidence of political power, Boies asked, “Would you view the passage of Megan’s Law as demonstrating… the political power of little girls who are raped and killed?” Miller said, “No.”

I have to say, Pugno’s getting very verbose these days. These posts go on forever. Maybe they just seem so long because they are so lacking in substance.

The afternoon brought the testimony of our second witness, David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, who provided his expertise on the institution of marriage, fatherhood and the family structure. He rejected the suggestion by plaintiffs that marriage is purely a private construct between two adults.  Rather, he explained, marriage between a man and woman is a globally recognized and historically public institution.  In fact, it is the only social relationship with a “biological foundation” found in the complementary nature of man and woman and their ability to procreate.  Across all cultures and times, no other human relationship has been more closely connected to the ultimate goal of uniting the biological, social and legal dimensions of parenthood for the raising of children.

Actually, he didn’t have any real expertise. He just had a lot of opinions. He couldn’t cite support for any of them and was astonished he would even be asked to do so. He’s an expert, you know! He shouldn’t have to defend his expertise opinions beliefs.

As held by more than 50 experts in the field, the best environment for a child is to be raised by a biological mother who is married to her biological father.  This is not to say that only a mother and a father can do a good job raising a child.  But marriage serves to promote the ideal.

What field? And are those experts still alive? Most of the studies he was citing were 40-50 years old.

I’d like to take this moment to again voice my utter contempt for these claims as an adoptee. I know nothing about my biological mother or father and I turned out pretty okay. I dare anyone to suggest my parents weren’t and aren’t stellar.

Blankenhorn also testified that allowing same-sex marriage would contribute further to the already-existing “deinstitutionalization” of marriage, which means the process of unraveling the purpose, rules and common understanding of the marriage institution as a whole.  “Deinstitutionalizing” marriage, the witness explains, leads to higher rates of out-of-wedlock birth, more unmarried cohabitation, higher divorce rates, and more children being raised outside the scope of optimal conditions provided by their biological parents.

I thought this was so funny when I was reading the transcripts. Blankenhorn admits that marriage is falling apart all by itself, but that’s just an excuse to not add fuel on the fire by allowing more people to get married (as in us). It’s our fault, but we’re blaming you even though you’ve always been excluded from it. Besides, it’s your fault just for suggesting such a thing as same-sex marriage. You’re ruining it for the rest of us. Yeah, shut up.

Doesn’t marriage mean, in the eyes of the law, whatever the law says it means? Isn’t the “institution” of marriage whatever the law wants it to be? This whole idea of some greater “institution” is just bogus. It’s all rhetoric; no substance.

Outside the courtroom, the plaintiffs’ attorneys sharply criticized the notion that redefining marriage to include homosexual relationships would contribute to the deinstitutionalization of marriage.   That argument, they said, is like saying that extending the right to vote to women “deinstitutionalized” the voting process.

Yeah, and it was a good argument. Look at this snappy retort (i.e. Nuh-uh!):

Nice sound bite, but the analogy fails.  Securing women’s right to vote didn’t do a thing to change the meaning and importance of voting.  By contrast there is no doubt that re-defining marriage to include homosexual relationships would ipso facto divorce the institution itself from its fundamental, biological foundation.  Nice try.

Stop making stuff up. It hurts enough to be discriminated against. Having to watch you make a fool of yourself is just a twist of the knife.

[Brian Leubitz also responded to this post over on the Prop 8 Trial Tracker.]

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