Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Re-Enactment, Day 3 Chapter 2

The Defense-Intervenor's Attorney David Thompson completes his cross-examination of the Plaintiffs' expert witness Professor George Chauncey on discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the history in the United States. The SF City and County Attorney Therese Stewart, redirects the witness.

As the day opens, Attorney David Thompson confronts Chauncey with all manner of evidence, including his own work that things have not changed for the better for gays and lesbians in the United States and trying to get him to concede on the stand that gay men and lesbians have amassed significant political power in the US. Chauncey stoutly tries and succeeds to limit the effect of his prior statements by insisting that the improvements are incomplete due to political polarisation. THANK YOU, CLINTON. THANK YOU, ROVE. THANK YOU, BUSH. He also asserts that the process of integrating gays into American social life slowed or stopped in 2004, when a bunch of states passed Proposition-8-like initiatives to utterly ban gay and lesbian marriage, and sometimes civil unions, explicitly in their state constitutions. Chauncey resists and insists that such these ballot question setbacks and other forms of antigay discrimination is based on a view that same-sex relationships are unequal and inferior. Thompson makes the big mistake of not restricting Chauncey to simply saying yes or no.

Chauncey scored a very important point against the D-I Team, disputing their claim that being taught about same-sex marriage is bad for children. As revealed during the trial's first day, the Yes On 8 Campaign included a TV commercial relating how a Massachusetts grade school now includes fairy tales that end with the prince marrying the prince. Cross-examining gay plaintiff Paul Katami on Day One, defense lawyer Raum backed him up into a corner and managed to get him to waffle on whether or not parents could legitimately object to that, cleverly conflating the meaning of “morality,” and implying that any mention of homosexual marriage is tantamount to sex education! Again, Thompson makes the strategic error of trying to back Professor Chauncey into the same corner! Describing the Massachusetts fairy tale ad: “Is it reasonable for parents who morally disapprove of homosexuality to want to wait until the fifth or sixth grade for those sorts of issues to be taught in public school?”

Instead of being derailed by the red herring about sex, Chauncey immediately sees through the question: “Well, would you say that people who morally disapprove of racial equality or racial marriage should be able to insist that no books showing black and white people as equal or black and white people in relationships should be kept out of the schools?”

And then Chauncey drives the point home, skewering the old magical thinking that exposure of children to even the mention of LGBT people will automatically make the little tykes gay: “And in this case the child is simply being exposed to the existence of gay people. And I take note that the parents don't express concern just about marriage, but about homosexuality at all.”

On Therese Stewart's redirect, Chauncey reiterates that the Proposition 8 ballot question itself said nothing about children or what parents can teach them or what they’re taught in school. He clarified that there have long been people whose attractions today might lead them to be identified as gay; that there had been African Americans who questioned integration as a goal; that the progress made by lesbigay people in quarters such as academia has been only partial; that the majority of religious institutions and their congregants still oppose same-sex couples’ marrying and even “homosexuality”; that such religious views can be affected by anti-gay stereotypes, which were dredged up by Yes on 8 and other antigay campaigns before and since. He further stressed that these sorts of campaigns invariably reduce LGBT people to the sex act, essentially turning us into animals and "unnatural" ones at that!: "It focuses entirely -- it suggests the focus on homosexuality entirely as a matter of sexuality, not love, not relationships. This is actually a book about two princes falling in love and it's a fairy tale. It doesn't talk about sex. It's another fairy tale that seems appropriate to that age."

This is critical! Reducing us gay men and lesbians to absolutely nothing but sex and then invoking the sexual innocence of children has been a very effective strategy for the opponents of gay marriage, who prey on the magical thinking of misinformed people! Chauncey reveals what is really going on: libel, slander, and defamation of character in a smear campaign worthy of Goebbels! Would Thompson say that people who disapprove of interracial marriage should be allowed to pull their children out of school when they study the civil rights movement? HAHAHA.

Many thanks to to MarriageTrial.com.

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