The morning wrapped up and I can’t say it was quite as substantive as yesterday. Dr. Segura was on the stand the entire morning, but the time was eaten up mostly by the defense’s monotonous cross-examination. It was mostly devoted to their scheme of painting gays and lesbians as a powerful threat, so there was a lot of reports of harassment of Yes on 8 folks as well as twisting of history to make it look like things are just peachy for our community. During redirect, Dr. Segura made it clear that while acts of violence do not help a PR campaign, organized resistance like nonviolent protests and boycotts are essential aspects of civil rights struggles. He even pointed out that groups don’t do that unless they’re powerless. (This helps explain why AFA’s Ford, Pepsi, and Gap boycotts are such a joke.)
The defense showed a video of the O’Reilly Factor about a proselytizer who was standing in the Castro encouraging the gays to repent and suffered some harassment. The plaintiffs used that as an opportunity to show another video from after Prop 8 passed, the infamous Gathering Storm ad:
And what did we learn? Dr. Segura’s reaction:
B: The messages in that video, do they relate to the balance of power, with gay and lesbians on the one hand, and groups opposing marriage on the other?
S: Video connotes that gays and lesbians are deeply threatening to the public. References to children, taking religious liberty away, churches discriminated against. Shows gays as a threat.
B: This public message, does it undermine the political power of gays and lesbians?
S: It re-substantiates long-held prejudices, and says LGBT rights come at the expense of other groups. Makes it tougher to gain legal protections.
Before wrapping for lunch, Dr. Segura also pointed out that there is growing political research to show the incredible organizing power of religious organizations, calling such power of resources “breathaking.” I enjoyed the “grand finale,” if you will, of his testimony:
B: Mr. Thompson asked about this document. Read that into the record.
S: Our results show that representative orgs do a poor job of getting minority rights even when the public supports them.
B: Is that consistent with your view?
B: In light of protections to gays and lesbians in the law in CA, and prominent politicians who have been allies to gays and lesbians, do you think gays and lesbians still lack political power.
S: I do. The questions Thompson asked serve as the basis of the skepticism for this claim. We need to look across levels of gov’t and across jurisdictions to judge the level of protections. When the skepticism is expressed, I explore the counter-factual. If I thought gays and lesbians were powerful in political system. I see FBI suggests that gays and lesbians have increased violence against them, 70% of targeted murders. In many states, gays and lesbians can be dismissed without cause for being gay. Small statutory protections have been challenged at the ballot box 150 times and they lose those measures 70% of the time. Dozens of constitutional stripping of protections. I could observe a couple of those things and conclude that gays and lesbians are powerful. To see all of those and conclude that would be political malpractice.
So that’s where things stand with today’s proceedings so far. In the meantime, I want to share a couple other links that demonstrate some of the mainstream coverage the trial is starting to get.
On Huffington Post, Evan Wolfson offers a great perspective on the trial, comparing (and more importantly, contrasting) the current circumstances with 14 years ago when he was counsel for the same issue in Hawaii. He points out that while evidence supporting same-sex couples has grown considerably, the opposition’s arguments haven’t changed at all.
Almost the entire hour on yesterday’s Fresh Air (on NPR) was dedicated to discussing the trial with The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot. You can listen below or click here for the story and transcript.
Another interesting piece worth reading today comes from Dear Redhead blogger Erika Napoletano. It’s an open letter to Mr. Pugno, with quite a bit of supporting evidence that puts things in an interesting perspective. To give you a sense of the tone of the piece, here’s the catchy excerpt:
If you can tell me that heterosexual couples are able to feel and live with love more deeply than two people of the same sex (and substantiate your case) – I’ll suck your dick on national television.
Yeah, go read it. It’s amusing and enlightening.
Here are a few more posts from the folks at Prop 8 Trial Tracker and Firedoglake worth looking at.
» Noting that many preachers are reluctant to testify, FDL contributer Peterr, a pastor himself, imagines what those examinations might look like: Suggestions for Dealing with Reluctant Preachers in the Prop 8 Trial
» P8TT’s Paul Hogarth contemplates Protect Marriage’s motivations for suing the Courage Campaign over the P8TT’s logo: Don’t They Know Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery?
» This morning, P8TT’s Brian Leubitz provided some more analysis of Dr. Segura’s testimony from yesterday and also offered the question of what to expect from Bill Tam’s testimony today: Day 8 Preview: More Circular Logic And William Tam!
Also! We’ve gotten our first sneak peek at the Prop 8 Trial Re-enactment. Check it out!
Check back tonight for more coverage, as well as responses to Protect Marriage’s Andy Pugno!