Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 6: Preview of Witnesses

From the American Foundation of Equal Rights:

The federal trial over the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 will continue Tuesday, January 19 at 8:30 am. The legal team, led by Theodore Olson and David Boies, will continue to illustrate the discrimination and impact of the initiative.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights launched the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case and brought together Olson and Boies to lead the litigation.

This past week ten witnesses, including Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo and five eminent experts, clearly and convincingly demonstrated critical points during its opening week, including the importance of marriage in American society; that Proposition 8 perpetrates irreparable, immeasurable and discriminatory harm for no good reason; and that by denying gay men and lesbians the right to marry, Proposition 8 causes grievous harm to the plaintiffs and other gay men and lesbians throughout California, and adds yet another chapter to the long history of discrimination they have suffered.
Taking the stand tomorrow will be, in order:
  • Jerry Sanders, the current Republican Mayor and former Police Chief of the City of San Diego who is the father of a lesbian daughter. He will testify about his decision, as Mayor, to support the City of San Diego’s participation in an amicus brief advocating against the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and why he concluded supporting marriage equality was and is in the best interest of the local government and community. City Attorney Dennis Herrera will conduct the direct examination of Mayor Sanders. [UTF note: See video below of Sanders' press conference announcing his decision to support marriage equality. Amazing.]
  • M.V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D., a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who will testify about the private harms caused by Prop. 8 and the impact of same-sex marriage on the marriages of different-sex couples
  • Ryan Kendall, a gay man who will testify about the “conversation therapy” he underwent in his youth and how he has been affected by discrimination
Witnesses on Friday included Dr. Michael Lamb, a Professor and Head of the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology at Cambridge University told the court, “We have a substantial body of evidence documenting that a child being raised by same-sex parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.” Dr. Lamb also testified (referring to children of gay and lesbian parents) that: “For a significant number of these children, their adjustment would be promoted were their parents able to get married.”

He was followed by Helen Zia, the last witness of the week. She is an Asian American author and a lesbian. She testified about her experiences with discrimination, the effects of being denied the right to marry and the importance of being able to be married in 2008. "My mother, an immigrant from China, she really doesn’t get what ’partner’ is," Zia said. "Marriage made it very clear that I was family, that we were family, and I was where I belonged."

UTF Note: Also read Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV for further information regarding witnesses.

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