Hey all, sorry for less posting today. Life goes on! But hey, Andy Pugno’s back for more mid-day spin on the case. Here we go!
If there’s one thing Andy Pugno’s good at it, it’s generalizing. Despite the fact the witnesses have all testified on very different issues, Pugno hopes to diminish their contributions by lumping them together.
This morning’s testimony by an expert witness on the economic impact of legalizing same-sex marriage continued the plaintiffs’ trend of putting experts on the stand who are heavily biased in favor of homosexual marriage and whose testimony is largely – if not wholly – irrelevant to the constitutionality of Prop 8.
Except that it totally is. The defense is going to have to prove that there is a solid rationale for Proposition 8 aside from discriminating against gays and lesbians. (Nobody’s ever been able to convince me there is, but Pugno’s team is sure going to try.) Dr. Egan’s testimony demonstrates that Proposition 8 actually comes at an economic sacrifice. That means that Protect Marriage will have to demonstrate that not only is there a compelling rationale, but it’s compelling enough to warrant such an economic sacrifice. In tough economic times, that raises the bar pretty high, methinks.
Dr. Edmund Egan, San Francisco County’s chief economist, gave his opinion about the potential economic benefits of legalizing same-sex marriage for San Francisco. He gave his opinion that the City and County of San Francisco would enjoy significant economic benefits from invalidating Prop 8 due to an increase in gay weddings and the attendant sales and hotel tax revenues, a decrease in reliance upon public mental health services and health care, and increased wealth accumulation by the homosexual community in the region. In short: California should legalize same-sex marriage so that San Francisco can save money and receive a windfall of taxpayer dollars. I wonder what the rest of California thinks about that.
Umm… gosh! I don’t know! Maybe the rest of California thinks, “Hey, maybe we can save money too.” Pugno uses a lot of insinuation and implication in his posts to play to his audience, but I don’t get this one at all. I mean, maybe people are so against even having gay people in their communities that they don’t want their “dirty” money? If that’s true, then remind me how this isn’t all about discrimination?
Throughout his testimony, Dr. Egan admitted that his expert report failed to predict any long-term benefits of allowing same-sex marriage and that much of it was based on research conducted elsewhere that he had not independently authenticated. More alarming for the plaintiffs and positive for us was his admission that “the majority of my report isn’t quantifiable.” In other words, this expert had no way to prove his conclusions! When asked by reporters why the plaintiffs called Dr. Egan as a witness, I truly could not answer. It clearly wasn’t because it advanced their cause.
Well, he did have evidence of economic gain. And he is an expert in making economic predictions… that’s his job. Let’s also point out that the reason he can’t “prove his conclusions” is because Prop 8 passed! If you expect same-sex marriage to bring in money, you have to actually have same-sex marriage to see whether it brings in money. Protect Marriage relishes this bizarre circular reasoning. And, I suppose it’s Pugno’s job to diminish the testimony of the plaintiffs, regardless of how disrespectful (or stupid) it makes him sound.
As with their previous witnesses, this made for arguably interesting testimony, but it has nothing to do with the reason we are in court: to weigh the constitutionality of Prop 8. We simply heard more opinions by a witness who admits that he believes that same-sex marriage should be legalized. For whatever reason, the plaintiffs are presenting witnesses whose testimony has, in the words of defense attorney David Boies, little constitutional relevance, but rather makes only a political argument that Judge Walker should invalidate the wishes of the seven million people who voted to continue marriage as between a man and a woman.
Well, actually, everything Pugno said in that is true, except that the constitutionality of Prop 8 depends on proving it’s in the interest of the state. I’d say multi-million-dollar setbacks are not in the interest of a bankrupt state, but I’m no expert. Pugno’s dash of “will of the people” nonsense was cute.
On the issue of protecting our witnesses and our right to a fair trial by preventing the televising of the trial over YouTube – on which the United States Supreme Court sided with us yesterday – it has been suggested that we have made much ado about nothing since I am holding on-camera interviews and some of our witnesses took a public stand during the campaign. Let me provide an example that underscores our contention that there is a real concern for our witnesses’ safety: some of our selected witnesses would absolutely refuse to testify if the trial had been televised based on fears of reprisal. This punctuates our position that televising the trial would have prevented us from mounting the most vigorous defense possible. Thankfully, these witnesses have agreed to participate due to the high court’s decision in our favor.
This is hilarious! Pugno is basically admitting that the defense’s witnesses are cowards. Even though the witnesses have no problem being openly identified, they’re just afraid of being on TV. (I guess it doesn’t matter if the entire blogosphere is writing about their life stories.) It almost makes you wonder if Protect Marriage and the Alliance Defense Fund intimidated their witnesses into being afraid so that they could paint a picture for themselves as losing witnesses. It’s quite a joke, and I think it’s sad they’re getting away with it.
I’m sure we’ll see more from Protect Marriage about this afternoon’s testimony. I’m sure they won’t spin stigma and internalized homophobia in any offensive ways at all. (Maybe I should invest in that new punctuation mark for sarcasm.)
Check out the Perry v. Schwarzenegger archive for a running collection of my coverage.