HRC Blog

Prop 8 Trial – Day Eight, Plaintiffs Expected to Call Last Witness

Yesterday saw the admission of some damaging testimony from the pro-Prop 8 defendants’ own experts, as well as a powerful personal story and more expert testimony about the widespread discrimination facing LGBT people.  First, after objections by the defendants, Judge Walker allowed into evidence deposition testimony from defense experts Drs. Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young, religious studies professors at McGill University and perennial conservative expert witnesses.  In these depositions, Nathanson and Young acknowledged that homosexuality is normal, that marriage is a good thing for same-sex couples  and that religion has been used to justify discrimination against other groups.  The deposition transcripts are available from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) here and here. Second, plaintiffs’ witness Ryan Kendall testified powerfully about being forced into reparative therapy to change his sexual orientation by his family and how damaging that pointless process was.  Lastly, we heard from Stanford University professor Gary Segura, a political scientist, who testified about the inequalities facing LGBT people in participating in the political process and detailed the strong and unprecedented involvement of large religious organizations in the campaign supporting Proposition 8. Perhaps the most interesting evidence presented so far were documents that detailed the coordination involved between the Catholic and Mormon churches and the Yes on 8 campaign.  A letter from the Yes side's leader thanked the Catholics for their "unusual" support and the Mormons for their "financial, organizational, and managerial contributions."  The Courage Campaign points to testimony about correspondence between the Yes campaign and the LDS church that the witness characterized as seeking "plausible deniability or respectable distance" so as not to show that church is directly involved.** For all the details, you can now read the daily trial transcripts courtesy of AFER here.  And, of course, Shannon Minter continues to provide excellent daily wrap-ups on Pam’s House Blend.              Today, we are slated to hear from the last plaintiffs’ witnesses, Dr. Gregory Herek, a social psychology professor at the University of California at Davis and an expert on sexual orientation discrimination, and Prop 8 supporter William Tam, whose deposition comments regarding pedophilia drew a lot of attention last week.  Remember the #prop 8 hashtag on Twitter and the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker site for frequent updates during the day, and check back with us tomorrow morning for a wrap-up of today’s proceedings. **An earlier version of this post incorrectly attributed the "plausible deniability or respectable distance" phrase to the actual letter between the campaign and the LDS church.  In fact that was the characterization of the document by the witness Professor Segura (see transcript page 1628- [pdf])

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