The Federal Prop. 8 Trial / Gay Marriage Catch-All

Here are my hang-ups with the whole anti-gay marriage crowd: First, how could a group that is so vehemently against gay couples having families call themselves pro-family? I know that it's meant to imply the the other side must be "anti-family" but in reality, they are the only ones who seem to be overtly against families in any respect.

Second, how could anybody profess that something with a 50% failure rate is sacrosanct and should be maintained? I mean, the lady who married her house lives in California! Who do they think they're fooling?

Just ignorant f*ckers trying to use government to force their ignorance on society... in my state's case, it comes in the form of Constitutionally enshrined hatred.

Edit: I'll let NOFX re-enforce my feelings (NSFW).

Dysplastic wrote:
Robear wrote:

It deals with the argument that to *not* do this will be economically harmful, and variants of that. It speaks to the possible effects of the decision on the state's economy.

I understand that, but isn't that a policy issue, as opposed to a legal issue? I wasn't under the impression that doing things that were bad for the economy was illegal or unconstitutional.

What country do you live..oh. Canada.

Just to chime in. Economics and social dynamics play a huge role in federal decisions. Two big issues-mandatory representation of defendants and the 70's moratorium on executions were stalled for decades prior because of sound economic arguments and social dynamics.

Dysplastic wrote:
Robear wrote:

It deals with the argument that to *not* do this will be economically harmful, and variants of that. It speaks to the possible effects of the decision on the state's economy.

I understand that, but isn't that a policy issue, as opposed to a legal issue? I wasn't under the impression that doing things that were bad for the economy was illegal or unconstitutional.

I don't think he's trying to say it should be made on economic grounds, per se. If you read the other testimony he's trying to show the court any other reason he can find to vote against Prop 8 than anti-gay prejudice. He has to.

That's because if he can't come up with other reasons, the courts have a huge problem with doing things just because people don't like them today. Defendents haven't had much luck with doing things for religous reasons only lately, either. There's some discussion about this farther up-thread.

momgamer wrote:

I don't think he's trying to say it should be made on economic grounds, per se. If you read the other testimony he's trying to show the court any other reason he can find to vote against Prop 8 than anti-gay prejudice. He has to.

Wouldn't people who vote against Prop 8 be pro-gay? I'm confused now.

Dysplastic wrote:
momgamer wrote:

I don't think he's trying to say it should be made on economic grounds, per se. If you read the other testimony he's trying to show the court any other reason he can find to vote against Prop 8 than anti-gay prejudice. He has to.

Wouldn't people who vote against Prop 8 be pro-gay? I'm confused now.

She just got it backwards. Do what you said and switch "against" with "for" and it makes sense.

momgamer wrote:

I don't think he's trying to say it should be made on economic grounds, per se. If you read the other testimony he's trying to show the court any other reason he can find to vote for Prop 8 than anti-gay prejudice. He has to.

Phoenix Rev wrote:

Day 6
Part 28 - Cross Examination of Mayor Sanders
Attorney for Prop. 8 brings up a paper by their star witness, Blankenhorn, that says that the purpose of marriage is to ensure that children would be raised by those who's sexual union brought them into the world. Sanders says that is still based on prejudice and that as a cop he saw plenty of biological parents that were terrible parents.

I know the struggle that gays face for equality second-hand. Not being gay, I can't know it first-hand, but my wife and I have many friends who we see is affected by this. But the statement above made by the defense insults even me and my wife. Since we can't have children, we're looking to adopt from foster care. If these zealots had their way, even our marriage would be nullified. I'm a big fan of Dan Savage and he has periodic rants on his Savage Love podcast. One of the things he always says is that first they are working to take (or limit) the rights of gays, and once they accomplish that, the rights of everyone else will be next. I'm thinking that he is right in this.

I might add, that these defendants are not very good at looking in their own back yard. If the purpose of marriage is to ensure the upbringing of biological children, then, according to their religious beliefs, Mary and Joseph should not have been married and Joseph had no business raising Jesus, as Jesus was not his biological child.

Nevin73 wrote:

I might add, that these defendants are not very good at looking in their own back yard. If the purpose of marriage is to ensure the upbringing of biological children, then, according to their religious beliefs, Mary and Joseph should not have been married and Joseph had no business raising Jesus, as Jesus was not his biological child.

Ha!

Vector wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:
momgamer wrote:

I don't think he's trying to say it should be made on economic grounds, per se. If you read the other testimony he's trying to show the court any other reason he can find to vote against Prop 8 than anti-gay prejudice. He has to.

Wouldn't people who vote against Prop 8 be pro-gay? I'm confused now.

She just got it backwards. Do what you said and switch "against" with "for" and it makes sense.

momgamer wrote:

I don't think he's trying to say it should be made on economic grounds, per se. If you read the other testimony he's trying to show the court any other reason he can find to vote for Prop 8 than anti-gay prejudice. He has to.

He's right. The point was if they want to win this case, the lawyer has to prove it should be stopped for more reasons than he and his cohorts doesn't like gays.

I am an insufficiently caffeinated lifeform today. I'm going to go fix that before I say anymore of theDumb. :blush:

momgamer wrote:

He's right. The point was if they want to win this case, the lawyer has to prove it should be stopped for more reasons than he and his cohorts doesn't like gays.

I see. So the plaintiffs are just pre-empting the defence by trying to give as many reasons why its good?

Phoenix Rev wrote:

(Let me interject here that Rubb Ed and I spent about $3500 on our wedding including the reception we held at a restaurant. For the sake of argument, let's say that each year 18,000 couples marry. At $3500 per couple spent on a wedding, that is $63 million that is not being spent. Everyone I know said that our wedding expenses were at the low end, which they were, so the dollar amount would be much greater. I don't know of a single state or city that would beg for a $63 million dollar influx of cash to the local economy each year.)

When my sisters-in-law got married for the last time it was about $15,000. Two bridezillas each going for the most extravagant event they could muster. Now, this was their legal marriage which was technically their fifth wedding to each other; and I'm proud to say that I am the only person outside of the happy couple who was at all five of the ceremonies. Their 1st wedding was a ceremony on a float during the Gay Pride parade, 2nd wedding was a "commitment ceremony" after signing all their Domestic Partnership paperwork, 3rd wedding was a court service ceremony after Gavin Newsom had legalized it in San Francisco, 4th wedding was actually performed by Gavin Newsom in City Hall after the state had legalized marriage and then the 5th ceremony was the biggest party you have ever seen; they were really going all out. That kind of money simply can't be ignored. Remember that for 3 of those 5 weddings there were fees paid directly to California State and the City of San Francisco; the other two weddings involved consumer money spent in the city, and thus sales and use taxes and fees. I remember the San Francisco clerk's office saying that the influx of marriage license fees and court ceremony money had a significant impact on the city's budget.

It may not be a legal argument; but the economic impact on the Federal, State, and local governments shouldn't be ignored.

God, this is depressing.

About the only thing I can say is that, with the invention of the Internet, the process of discovering more about the LGBT community has become easier, especially for folks who aren't in or near big cities. Doesn't make the actual process much easier, but at least there's easier access to information that lets them know they're not the only ones feeling the way they feel.

I couldn't find it being mentioned here, but the Courage Campaign has been sued by ProtectMarriage dot com for the use of the logo (these were yanked from google images:

Protect marriage:
IMAGE(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_SCfwBkF65oY/SRZUdkm6IfI/AAAAAAAAGj0/ye1crMBJnVE/s320/Protect+Marriage+IL+Logo+2nd+try.jpg)

Courage Campaign's prop 8 Tracker:

IMAGE(http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/-/prop8tracker_thumb.jpg)

note that The Prop8 trial tracker had the audacity to put a skirt on both stick figures.

"Prop8Trialtracker wrote:

We continue to be entertained by the Prop 8 attorneys simultaneously admitting that the two images of gay parents and straight parents are “substantially indistinguishable,” and yet failing to grasp that that the difference between the logos illuminates the core difference between their views and ours.

Seth wrote:

I couldn't find it being mentioned here, but the Courage Campaign has been sued by ProtectMarriage dot com for the use of the logo (these were yanked from google images:

Protect marriage:
IMAGE(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_SCfwBkF65oY/SRZUdkm6IfI/AAAAAAAAGj0/ye1crMBJnVE/s320/Protect+Marriage+IL+Logo+2nd+try.jpg)

Courage Campaign's prop 8 Tracker:

IMAGE(http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/-/prop8tracker_thumb.jpg)

note that The Prop8 trial tracker had the audacity to put a skirt on both stick figures.

"Prop8Trialtracker wrote:

We continue to be entertained by the Prop 8 attorneys simultaneously admitting that the two images of gay parents and straight parents are “substantially indistinguishable,” and yet failing to grasp that that the difference between the logos illuminates the core difference between their views and ours.

It's not a skirt, it's a KILT!

Hey Seth, that's actually right in the front page of Rubb Ed's link.

This comment is really interesting -

My friend Steve Hildebrand, who was Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama, asked if I could think of one politician who wakes up even once a year and thinks about pressure from the gays that he or she cannot withstand. The answer is clearly no.

It blatantly points out that political power is, more often than not, a measure of possible threat certain groups can levy against others. While I've always held the belief that full on cheerful embrace of gays is unrealistic as a society, if we can at least move the societal norm from "barely checked discomfort" to at least "nonaggressive indifference" that would be just swell. But the above points out that such indifference is really not going to get anyone anywhere.

Vector wrote:

Hey Seth, that's actually right in the front page of Rubb Ed's link.

No it wasn't, I had to click on the home page of Rubb's link to get to the story!

(which is more effort than I expect of readers)

Seth wrote:
Vector wrote:

Hey Seth, that's actually right in the front page of Rubb Ed's link.

No it wasn't, I had to click on the home page of Rubb's link to get to the story!

(which is more effort than I expect of readers)

That's what I meant by front page.

Day 7 –

Part 33 – Opening Motions
Right off the bat, the morning starts off with a flurry of motions regarding discovery and the addition of witnesses. The documents under the magistrate’s seal are being considered by the magistrate himself for opening, but Judge Walker says if the magistrate doesn’t make his decision by noon, he will make a ruling.

Plaintiffs want to depose Ron Prentice again. Judge Walker says he has already been deposed and any questions can be answered on the stand. Plaintiffs say the testimony may be lengthy. Judge Walker says that is the way it will be then.

Part 34 – Testimony of Mr. Campbell
The trial is now turning to a very important phase. The question that is going before the court is whether or not being gay is a choice. Plaintiffs want to call Mr. Campbell, who went through gay conversion therapy and wants to testify for the plaintiffs. Defense is opposed saying his testimony is irrelevant. Judge says defense brought up the issue of people being able to change their sexual orientation in their opening statement, but the defense attorney says, “But not forced conversion.” Judge reads from the opening statement and says he will allow the testimony.

The court receives notice that the magistrate is able to hear the case of the sealed documents and Judge Walker asks each team to send one attorney to the magistrate’s court for hearing.

Part 35 – Depositions Viewed in Court
The plaintiffs put up the deposition of a Mr. Nathanson who was to be a defense witness, but withdrew at the same time as Tam.

In the deposition he is asked about the position on gay marriage by various medical associations. He says they favor it. He is then asked about the position of the Catholic and Southern Baptist Churches. He says they oppose it. He is specifically asked if the teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention includes hostility toward gay people. Nathanson says yes. He is asked the percentage of people who voted for Prop. 8 based on religious convictions and he says half. He is asked if over the past 50 years religion and society have been hostile to gay people. He says yes. He is asked if the attitudes by religion and society toward gays has been harmful to gays and he says yes. (Remember, Nathanson was to be a pro-Prop. 8 witness.)

He is asked the percentage of Roman Catholics who believe that homosexuality is a “disorder.” He says, “not more than half.” He agrees that the religions that favored Prop. 8 provided many more volunteers than the religions that opposed Prop. 8. He is asked if the teaching that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination leads to gay bashing. He says yes. He is asked if religion was used to justify hostility and prejudice against blacks and women. He says yes.

The next deposition is of a pro-Prop. 8 witness by the name of Dr. Young. She is asked if there are any cultures that accept homosexual relationships. She states the Hidra Indians, the Lakota Indians, several subcultures in West Africa, and amongst silk workers in China. She also notes that there were formal gay relationships in ancient Rome that were akin to marriage.
Young is asked if bigotry and prejudice in U.S. is substantially religious-based. She says yes. She is then asked if the Catholic Church holds the view that homosexuality is wrong. She says yes. She is asked if people get married due to love and commitment. She says yes and admits there are no studies to the contrary. She is asked about arranged marriages and she says they are in decline but have not been overtaken by love relationships. She notes that where arranged marriages have declined, the divorce rate has increased. She says gays and women have been victims of persecution by religious groups and that it should not be allowed. (Again, this is a witness for the pro-Prop. 8 people. Ouch.)

Part 36 – Testimony of Ryan Campbell
Campbell is testifying about his experience at a gay conversion center. He says he always knew he was different and realized he was gay when he was young. His parents found a note he wrote about being gay and went into hysterics, calling him names and telling him he was going to burn in Hell. He says his family was very religious which was why he was so shocked at the language his mother used with him. He said he was sent to a Christian therapist for reversal therapy and was told that gays were not Christian and they were bad people. He says he was not a bad person and only wanted to make his parents proud. He says his parents took him to another therapist that told him he was evil and had his parents come into a session and say that he was evil for being gay. But, he says that even after all of that, he was still gay.

He says his parents were referred to Focus on the Family and was put into a program of reversal therapy with a group based out of Encino, CA called NORTH (National Organization for Reversal Therapy). He says he was in the program from ages 14-16. He says his parents started putting notes in his lunchbox saying that gays were evil and he was a bad person and emotionally abused him in other ways. He says his mother was particularly abusive. She told him he was “disgusting” and said she would rather have had an abortion than have a gay son and also said that she would have preferred a Down Syndrome child or a retarded child rather than a gay child.

Campbell says he met with a Dr. Nicolosi either by phone or would fly to CA to meet with him. He says he was continually told that he was a dirty person and evil and bad. Campbell says that even after all of the “treatment” he was still gay.

Campbell says that at age 16 he surrendered himself to the Department of Human Services in Colorado Springs told them everything that had happened. The Department started separation proceedings. He said the next five years were very hard and he turned to drugs to escape.

Campbell says he now works for the Denver PD and has a good job and is active in gay rights advocacy.

Part 37 – Cross Examination of Ryan Campbell
Campbell is asked if he has ever known anyone who has changed their sexual orientation and he says he only knows of people who have publicly stated that. Attorney for Prop. 8 stresses that Campbell was forced to go and did not do so with his own consent. Campbell says that is true and that it was harmful what his parents put him through.

Attorney asks if it is Campbell’s position that no one has ever gone to conversion therapy willingly. Campbell says he doesn’t know everyone who went but the people who did go they did not go willingly.

Part 38 – Re-Direct of Ryan Campbell
Campbell says that when he was at NORTH, Dr. Nicolosi introduced him to a guy named Kelly who claimed to be cured. Campbell says that when the doctor left the building, Kelly said he was still gay and was headed to a gay bar that evening and said he only says he is cured to satisfy the doctor and his family. Campbell says that after he returned from CA, he lived with his family for a few months, but then left and has terminated any contact with his mother.

Part 39 – Testimony of Dr. Gary Segura
Dr. Segura works at the Stanford Center for American Democracy. He says his expertise is in data about the American electorate and political representation. He has 42 publications to his name a new book on Latinos in America that was just released.

Segura is asked if he saw the deposition of witnesses for the defense and offered rebuttals. He says he has and said came to three overall conclusions after watching the depositions: 1) Gays and lesbians are not able to protect their interests because they do not possess meaningful political power, 2) they suffer from political disabilities greater than other groups that have received suspected class protection, and 3) the opinions of Dr. Kenneth Miller are fundamentally flawed and incorrect.

Segura has a back and forth with plaintiffs’ attorney regarding gay and lesbian political power. He says the power is limited and quotes a lot of James Madison on the role of majority vs. minority. He points out that Houston just elected a lesbian mayor but her partner doesn’t quality for health benefits because citizens of Houston voted down a measure to grant benefits to same-sex partners.

Attorney asks Segura to talk about statutory protection for gays and lesbians and Segura puts up a map showing that 29 states do not have any statutory protections for gays and lesbians (such as Arizona). He notes that even though the Matthew Shepard case happened in Wyoming, that state still has no protections for gays and lesbians.

Segura says there are no federal laws protecting gays and lesbians from housing or employment discrimination, DOMA is in force, and gays and lesbians cannot openly serve in the military.

He is asked about protections in CA. He says there are some protections, but the history of why they were passed were more for making amends for wrongs than the actually political power of the gay and lesbian community. He notes that the initial rounds of housing and employment discrimination bills were vetoed by the CA governor. He also notes that a domestic partnership (DP) does nothing to protect a partner who travels to Las Vegas or New Orleans.

Segura says that Measure 1 in Colorado was stunning in that no other group has been the target of ballot measure as much as gays and lesbians (undocumented workers come in a very distant second). Segura says, “The initiative process has been the Waterloo of gay and lesbian politics.”

He says his research shows a pattern that if the anti-gay marriage forces are losing in the courts or legislatures, they immediately turn to the ballot box to stir up emotions. He says this is particularly troubling in CA because you only need 50% + 1 vote to amend the CA Constitution.

Segura notes that only six legislators in history have every served openly in Congress. He compares that to the percent of gay people in the general population. That is a 500th of one percent. He says that no other group receives as much animus as gays and lesbians. He quotes U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma) as saying that the greatest threat to America is gays and lesbians. Notes two other U.S. senators have compared homosexuality to bestiality. Segura says gays and lesbians are not sufficiently represented in any jurisdiction to affect outcomes.

Segura is questioned about various demographics and says that gays and lesbians are looked down upon more than any other minority group. He says the issue often centers around the fact that people are repulsed by same sex sex. He says that during the civil rights movement, every religious denomination except for the Southern Baptists were in favor of civil rights. He says he cannot think of a more powerful anti-gay force than religion and that fact has particularly helped the evangelical community because they are allying around the one issue and becoming more powerful.

Segura then talks about hate crime statistics and is asked his opinion about the claim by Prop. 8 supporters in a video admitted into evidence that they were actually the ones who were targeted for hate crimes, not gays and lesbians. Segura says he was confused by the claim (aren’t we all?) and says the vandalism was horrible, but that he isn’t sure it was a hate crime.

Segura talks about the affects of living a life in the closet and also mentions the stereotypes of gay men and lesbians. He says most people think gays and lesbians only live in big cities, all have advance degrees and they have lots of disposable income to spend. He says with this perception, people often believe that gays and lesbians don’t need protection.

Segura also says that for the last 25 years there has been a general ban on discussing homosexuality in health classes, no funding for homo-erotic art, and a ban on discussing same sex sex for prevention of disease. He is asked if the Prop. 8 campaign helped contribute to this kind of censorship and he notes the ad where a little girl goes home and says she was told she could marry a princess. Segura says the message Prop. 8 sent was that homosexuality cannot be talked about positively or even neutrally because it is a bad thing.

Attorney for plaintiffs asks if allies aren’t political power. Segura says they are helpful but not always trustworthy. He notes that DADT and DOMA were both passed with a Democratic president in office. He also mentions that Obama has not honored the ruling of the 9th circuit Court of Appeals that requires the federal government to provide DP benefits to one of their court staff.

The topic then turns to the involvement of the LDS church in the Prop. 8 campaign. Plaintiffs introduce document titled, “LDS Church Takes Active Role in Supporting Prop. 8.” Segura says the LDS president sent a letter to all CA LDS leaders telling them to take a stand for Prop. 8, something which is very rare in the LDS Church. Segura says the LDS Church provided funds and volunteers. He also notes that on June 17, 2008, Jim Garlow, the senior pastor at Skyline Church in San Diego manages to get 1700 pastors across the state to participate in a kickoff for an aggressive campaign in favor of Prop. 8. He calls that an enviable number.

Part 40 – More Procedural Motions
Before the lunch break, Judge Walker is approached by attorneys for Garland and McPherson, two pastors who were supposed to be witnesses for the defense, say that they want an order of protection for the sermons and speeches the pastors gave so they cannot be admitted into evidence or displayed in court citing First Amendment protections. Judge Walker refers the motion to the Magistrate.

The court also hears the magistrate’s ruling which is that documents from one of the witness is outside of his deposition so must remain under seal, but the documents of the other three witnesses will be unsealed and allowed to be admitted into evidence if Judge Walker allows.

Part 41 – Continued testimony of Dr. Segura
Attorneys for plaintiffs offer documents that show the heavy involvement of the LDS and Catholic Churches in the Prop. 8 campaign and also the involvement of Mr. Pugno, who is one of the attorneys for the defense.

There is considerable back and forth about a document that shows the LDS and the Catholic Churches were working in tandem to fund and coordinate efforts to pass Prop. 8. At every step of the way, Prop. 8 attorneys are trying to keep the documents from being admitted or read. Judge Walker overrules them and attorneys for plaintiffs read them into the record. At one point, Pugno says that one of the witnesses pulled the document from a shoebox because he was order to by the courts proving that it was privileged information. (Um... seems to me it proves that the Prop. 8 people never wanted to have these documents see the light of day. Ever.)

Attorney Boutrous reads the shoebox letter which states that the LDS was not to take a lead in the Prop. 8 campaign, but was to work through ProtectMarriage.com and work to garner $50 million through individual donations. Segura says he was shocked at the document because in his studies he has never seen this level of coordination by churches in a political campaign. Segura recites the amount of participation by the Catholic and LDS churches alone. Notes that gays and lesbians do not have that kind of political muscle.

Segura is asked about gays in relations to African Americans and women. Segura notes that there were constitutional protections for both groups, which gays and lesbians don't have.

Segura is then asked about the statements by Dr. Miller (another Prop. 8 witness that dropped out of the case). He says that Miller has absolutely no idea what he was talking about and clearly has no knowledge about the history of gay history. He notes that Miller specifically stated that he would be shocked to find out if the majority of states don't have protections for gays and lesbians. (29 don't; Miller is shocked, I guess.) Miller also says that just because gays and lesbians don't have constitutional and civil protections doesn't mean they don't have political might. He did note that Miller said that ballot initiatives preventing gay marriage were a bad idea.

Part 42 - Cross Examination of Dr. Segura
Attorney Thompson for the defense asks Segura a series of questions about the power of gays and lesbians. Thompson cites the mayor in Houston, articles by columnists talking about the power of gays and lesbians, mentions that five states have gay marriage so that means gays have power, etc. Segura says that is not the case that the occasional win here and there doesn't mean a group has political power. Thompson turns to the power of money. He notes that the No on 8 campaign raised $43 million while the Yes on 8 raised $40 million and asks Segura if that doesn't indicate gays have power (Uh, the gays lost that one, Mr. Thompson.)

Thompson asks Segura about a variety of sources of power for the LGBT community including Pelosi and Obama. Segura says they are unreliable allies. Thompson asks if getting the travel ban on people infected with HIV isn't a source of power for the LGBT community. Segura says no, it isn't, because scientists across the board said the travel ban was silly.

Thompson plays a speech from Obama where he lays out his agenda for gay rights. He asks Segura if Obama isn't a powerful ally. Segura says he is an ally that cannot be counted on. Segura notes that Obama did not follow through with DOMA, DADT and ENDA and the only major accomplishment was the hate crimes legislation. Thompson asks if Sen. Diane Feinstein is an ally. Segura says Feinstein is a very soft ally that can't be counted on. Thompson asks if the ACLU, newspaper editorial boards and the like are allies. Segura gives a very qualified yes. Thompson asks more and more about potential allies. Segura suggests that the only reliable allies gays and lesbians have in CA is Sen. Boxer and the ACLU.

Thompson shows that UNITE, a restaurant union, donated $1.7 million to the No on 8 campaign and $0 to Yes on 8. Wonders if they are a reliable ally. Segura says he doesn't know how the union members actually voted, so he can't say.

Judge Walker asks about timing of witnesses. Plaintiffs say they will wrap up their case on Thursday or Friday. Defense says they will have Dr. Miller ready to testify followed by Dr. Tam. (So, Tam changed his mind, it seems, probably because the magistrate unsealed his documents).

End of Day 7.

While I'm glad that Mayor Sanders did a complete 180 on his feelings about gay marriage, I have to say that I despise people like him and those racists who have zero hour conversions and want to be forgiven for their heinous acts.

The fact that the only time these people realize they were in the wrong is when it directly affects their lives or when they have a vested interest in it is complete and utter bullsh*t.

I guess it's cool that even if it is in their twilight years people can change and realize the error of their past ways, but damn...how about doing a little more thinking at an earlier stage in your life? One foot in the grave or your own offspring coming out of the closet and NOW you have an epiphany? If there IS a God, I hope he gets downright Old Testament on your sorry asses.

I think that's a little harsh, FSeven -- although in retrospect the concept of divine grace has been a contention among us before. here's where I find fault in your post:

The fact that the only time these people realize they were in the wrong is when it directly affects their lives or when they have a vested interest in it is complete and utter bullsh*t.

I don't see how that's BS at all. Maybe you have a more optmistic view of the human condition than I do, but based on my personal experience and my experience with others, reading about stereotypes in a textbook doesn't do dick; running into direct contradictions of stereotypes in one's personal life is what changes people's minds. I was much, much more of a close minded person 15 years ago than I am now (and I'm still pretty close minded). It wasn't just a steady diet of ramen noodles or liberal lectures at Kalamazoo College that swayed me -- it was meeting people who directly confronted stereotypes that I carried with me that changed me.

I don't think it's fair to blast Mayor Sanders for changing his stance on gay marriage after he found out his daughter was gay. It's certainly much more respectable than Dick Cheney's stance on the issue.

Seth wrote:

I think that's a little harsh, FSeven -- although in retrospect the concept of divine grace has been a contention among us before. here's where I find fault in your post:

The fact that the only time these people realize they were in the wrong is when it directly affects their lives or when they have a vested interest in it is complete and utter bullsh*t.

I don't see how that's BS at all. Maybe you have a more optmistic view of the human condition than I do, but based on my personal experience and my experience with others, reading about stereotypes in a textbook doesn't do dick; running into direct contradictions of stereotypes in one's personal life is what changes people's minds. I was much, much more of a close minded person 15 years ago than I am now (and I'm still pretty close minded). It wasn't just a steady diet of ramen noodles or liberal lectures at Kalamazoo College that swayed me -- it was meeting people who directly confronted stereotypes that I carried with me that changed me.

I have to 100% back Seth's comment here too. I was once pretty narrow-minded in my views on a lot of things, and the watershed moments that started my process of questioning a lot of those views were all about getting to know people personally who were living contradictions of my xenophobic views.

Looks like Day 7 wasn't a good day for Prop 8 team.

P.S. although I don't understand how the text of a sermon can not be admitted as an evidence on the First Amendment grounds. Following that logic, discovery of ANY kind of statement can successfully be thwarted. Or am I not understanding something properly?

Before the lunch break, Judge Walker is approached by attorneys for Garland and McPherson, two pastors who were supposed to be witnesses for the defense, say that they want an order of protection for the sermons and speeches the pastors gave so they cannot be admitted into evidence or displayed in court citing First Amendment protections. Judge Walker refers the motion to the Magistrate.

Someone will need to explain this one to me. Are these pastors effectively saying "you can't repeat what I said because the First Amendment protects me?" No one is prosecuting these pastors for what they said, correct (just using it as a cited example)?

I was partially homophobic until a friend of mine made a move on me in my sleep. While it was a total asshole move on his part, it did make me wonder what the real difference was between that guy making a move on me and a totally unattractive woman making a move on me. Once I started looking at guys as really, really ugly women, my opinion of the entire situation changed.

Bloo Driver wrote:
Before the lunch break, Judge Walker is approached by attorneys for Garland and McPherson, two pastors who were supposed to be witnesses for the defense, say that they want an order of protection for the sermons and speeches the pastors gave so they cannot be admitted into evidence or displayed in court citing First Amendment protections. Judge Walker refers the motion to the Magistrate.

Someone will need to explain this one to me. Are these pastors effectively saying "you can't repeat what I said because the First Amendment protects me?" No one is prosecuting these pastors for what they said, correct (just using it as a cited example)?

Correct. They are not being prosecuted. The plaintiffs are trying to demonstrate that the Prop. 8 campaign was not simply about reserving the term "marriage" for heterosexual couples (which is what the Prop. 8 side is maintaining).

The pastors are grasping at straws and determined to keep their homophobic statements out of the court proceedings.

As a pastor and preacher, my church was open to all and my sermons were public. They were often copied and put into the church bulletin the following week and openly distributed to any person who attend services. To claim that they are private documents and not meant for public consumption is garbage.

I would be shocked if the magistrate sealed the documents on First Amendment grounds.

weswilson wrote:

I was partially homophobic until a friend of mine made a move on me in my sleep. While it was a total asshole move on his part, it did make me wonder what the real difference was between that guy making a move on me and a totally unattractive woman making a move on me. Once I started looking at guys as really, really ugly women, my opinion of the entire situation changed.

All porn is Lesbian porn in weswilson's world.

Phoenix Rev wrote:

As a pastor and preacher, my church was open to all and my sermons were public. They were often copied and put into the church bulletin the following week and openly distributed to any person who attend services. To claim that they are private documents and not meant for public consumption is garbage.

That's the part that got me. I had assumed sermons were considered public speech and that there would be no issue admitting them into court. As other said, the pastors are not on trial, it would simply be used toward the credibility of the witnesses. How the 1st ammendment comes into pay I have no idea.

I can see and understand your view Seth. I have a general loathing of most of humanity's inability to use their brain. We have all this pandering about "personal responsibility" in politics and indeed that seems to be the ethos of half this country, yet the very people pushing that view are often the ones who rely on stereotypes and form their opinions about people unlike themselves through a distinct lack of personal experience. Personal responsibility for thee but not for me, if you will.

running into direct contradictions of stereotypes in one's personal life is what changes people's minds.

That's the proof of it. I think it's completely ass backwards for people to judge an entire group of people based on a negative stereotype and only consider changing that through personal experience. It's judging the proverbial book by it's cover, a notion with longstanding theological grounding and a concept that although most of us learn from an early age we seldom actually put into practice. Oh we love to regurgitate it though and aim it at others. I understand that's basic human nature and will never likely change on a grand societal scale and that my view of it is probably idealistic but I just can't grasp the logic of it.

The sad truth is that more often than not, when someone who judges a group of people based on a stereotype has a personal experience that runs contrary to that stereotype, very rarely does one change their entire view of that group of people. Instead, people tend to carve out exceptions to their rules, which again are based on stereotypes and a distinct lack of personal experience. Even more often though, when met with evidence that points to the contrary, instead of changing their own perception they just doubt the evidence. Such as your textbook comment - reading it doesn't do dick. And that's why people, because of 1 action committed by 19 dudes, view anyone who is Muslim or looks Arabic as a terrorist despite the fact that the US has had over 140 acts of terrorism committed by, according to FBI data, white males who self-identified as Christian in the past 40 years yet don't view white Christian males by and large as terrorists. That's why people can view blacks as violent criminals despite the fact that, according to the DoJ, 36 million African-Americans are law abiding citizens and less than 1 million are criminals. Judging the character of a group of people based on the actions of 1 million max of it's members rather than the inactions of the other 36 million? It's a complete lack of personal experience and a total disregard for facts. Yet instead of taking that lack of experience as a basis for not assuming the traits and behavior of a group of people and perhaps using it as motivation to actually find out what these people are like, humans take the lowest common denominator and use that to shoebox groups of people until something comes along which challenges that belief. Again - totally ass backwards in my opinion and while I understand it, is a logic that I can't fathom or even feel that my brain could process properly without at some point having the thought "this is complete bullsh*t".

Perhaps, ironically, I'm basing my feelings on a stereotype - that most people fail to apply common sense or basic logic to these matters or at the very least fail to practice what they preach ("Don't judge a book by it's cover!" and demands for others to accept personal responsibility) - but I've only seen evidence supporting my view.

To be honest Seth, I think I have a rather bleakly Carlin-esque view of humanity. I think we'll wipe ourselves out long before we ever get this stuff right.

And wes...wow...I'm surprised an experience like that wouldn't have further entrenched you in homophobia.

I can see where you're coming from, FSeven, but I think part of the problem is that people don't always realize that a stereotype is a stereotype. If you were raised in an environment that perpetuates a stereotype, and never see any evidence to the contrary, then why would you doubt it? It's like doubting gravity. It's blatantly obvious from the outside looking in, but for the other guy that stereotype is just another fundamental truth. It's true that we should always strive to question our own beliefs, but sometimes it's hard to know which ones to question. We can't spend all day questioning everything we know, so at some point we have to compromise and accept certain statements as fact.

People who see evidence that contradicts a stereotype, and still refuse to question that stereotype are definitely bad people. People who instead choose to reconsider their opinions may not necessarily be good people, but at least they're trying to be.