Monday, January 11, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Coverage: Opening Remarks From Ted Olson and Giggling at Opponents' Statements

UPDATE: See Davina's full summary of the first day of trial.

Due to my inability to blog and Davina Kotulski's amazing access to the Prop 8 trial, Davina has kindly granted permission to crosspost her reporting on Unite the Fight. Davina has started a new blog at where her posts can also be found. Check it out. She has provided the following bio for UTF readers:

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., is a psychologist, motivational life coach, author of "Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage" and "Love Warriors: The Rise of The Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail" that will be released in April 2010, and the former Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA.

She has deep roots in the freedom to marry movement that began with organizing “Marriage License Counter” protests. On February 12, 2004, Kotulski and her wife, were the 17th couple married in San Francisco. Kotulski organized the "Marriage Equality Express," an educational bus tour across the United States that culminated in the first national marriage equality rally in Washington, DC on October 11, 2004. She has appeared on CNN, Newsweek, Time and USA Today and in three documentaries: "Freedom to Marry" “Pursuit of Equality,” and “I Will, I Do, We Did”. Davina has published several articles on marriage equality in Bond Magazine, Flawles Magazine, Bay Area Reporter, Outword Magazine, and in an anthology entitled I Do, I Don’t: Queers on Marriage.

Davina received the “Saints Alive Award” from the Metropolitan Community Church and she was “sainted” Saint Activista Davina by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in August 2004.

Marriage Equality Advocates Begin Prop 8 Trial With Early Morning Vigil

My hands are still numb from standing in the cold this morning outside the federal building in San Francisco. Marriage Equality USA sponsored a vigil for marriage equality, hope, and justice. There were over 200 participants holding candles to light the early morning rally attended by numerous clergy from many different denominations, including a former Catholic nun and non-PFLAG Mom, Helen Laird. Helen stood with her son and Tim and spoke of why she believed that all of her children had the right to marry. She said her son Tim was legally married prior to Prop 8, but that the family is waiting to celebrate until marriage equality is again the law of the land in California.

Ksuzanne and her wife, both African-American activists for marriage equality, spoke of the importance of being representatives for the Black Gay community and spoke of how being able to legally marry granted them the right to hospital visitation, a right Ksuzanne unfortunately had to exercise post-Prop 8 when her wife was hospitalized for a life-threatening condition.

Frank and Joe Alfano-Capley spoke of finally being recognized as a legally married couple by the Elevators Union so that Joe can finally get health insurance. While the crowd cheered this wonderful breakthrough, Frank and Joe said it saddened them that the union will not recognize domestic partners and thus another couple with a small child who were unable to marry during the small window when it was legal are still being denied health and other employment related benefits only provided married couples.

Overall the mood of the vigil was positive. Molly McKay, my wonderful wife, spoke of how last year’s garbage has turned to rich compost, an unusual, but accurate metaphor of the outpouring of support for marriage and renewed hope that comes with this new challenge to marriage discrimination. Rev. Roland Stringfellow offered a beautiful evocation for equality and love. There were inspiring performances by Veronica Klaus who sang “I can see clearly now the rain is gone,” and “Here comes the sun.” Melanie Demore, performed “Somewhere over the rainbow” and the civil rights song “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.”

So, now I wait patiently for the trial to start any minute now. Word is that the cameras will not be allowed into the courtroom until after Wednesday. No youtube today.

90 Minutes into the Prop 8 Proceedings

The Prop 8 trial started with introductions from all the attorneys and discussion of the stay of live feed of the trial to other federal court houses and streaming for youtube. A stay has been issued until Wednesday at 4:00 PM. The only place to watch the proceedings is an overflow room in the Federal Building in San Francisco.

Judge Walker reported that he received 138,542 requests for TV coverage of the trial and only 32 requests opposing televised coverage.

Ted Olson, the attorney challenging Prop 8, spoke for the first hour.

He stated “This case is about marriage and equality. Plaintiffs are being denied the right to marry and under the law.”

“The right to marriage is one the most vital personal rights."

“A basic civil right.”

“A constitution right to privacy, association, intimacy and choice…a spiritual and public commitment.”

“Marriage is the most important relationship in life and of fundamental importance of all individuals.”

“Marriage is central to psychological, emotional, and physical health. Marriage is the building block of family, neighborhood, and community in our society.”

“Gays and lesbians have been classified as degenerates, targeted by police, fired from government jobs, arrested for private sexual conduct, and stripped of their rights by popular vote.”

"Domestic partners say that gay people are different, separate and unworthy."

“The roots of discrimination run deep... Prop 8 singles out gays alone…even convicted murders and child abusers in California enjoy the freedom to marry."

Olson said that opponents of Proposition 8 will argue these three points:

1. Marriage is vitally important in American Society.
2. Denying same-sex Prop 8 causes grievous harm against gay and lesbian individuals and adds another chapter of discrimination and suffering
3. Prop 8 perpetrates immeasurable harm for no good reason

The Giggling Has Begun

As soon as the Yes on 8 attorney [Charles Cooper] took the floor and began speaking out against marriage equality for same-sex couples, the giggles in the media overflow room started.

“Marriage is for a child whose mom and dad had a sexual union. Marriage is to take men and women’s procreation and to “channel it into an enduring union.”

Walker asked, "How does same-sex marriage diminish procreation for heterosexual couples?"

“Well, will this institution remain a pro-child institution or will it be a private relationship that provides couples with personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love?”

I prefer the latter. Marriage should be about personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love what a wonderful environment for adults who them choose to bring children into this world into these kinds of self-actualized, loving families.

They lie. They say gay marriage will lower the marriage rate and increase the divorce rate. I remind that Massachusetts which has had same-sex marriage for 6 years reportedly has the lowest divorce rate.

Time for Obama to come out in support of marriage equality.

Prop 8 supporters used a quote of President Obama’s support of civil unions and statement against gay marriage to justify Prop 8.

Judge Walker commented that President Obama also said that if his parents wouldn’t be able to marry under anti-miscegenation laws.

Equality California is calling on people to contact Obama and ask him to come out against Prop 8. (Go here to sign petition)

“Marriage is the sexual embodiment of the man and the woman who form the union. The sexual embodiment forms the institution. Only naturally procreated contact will bring forward life. It’s best when the child is brought into the world that the parents are together," said Cooper.

Earlier in the proceedings, Ted Olson stated that “The quality of a parent is not measured by gender it is measured by the content of the heart.”

Gay marriage leads to group marriage?

Yes, the Yes on 8 attorney proposed that if same-sex marriage was legal, bisexuals will want to “have the right to express their love and achieve personal fulfillment by the state.”

1 comment:

  1. This shit is a circus with out even having the cameras present in the court. If they think people are going to be unaware of the shit they are saying in the court they should take a look at this sire.