Proponents of California's gay marriage
ban took control of the trial considering the constitutionality of
the measure after plaintiffs rested their case on Monday. The trial
is now in its third week in a San Francisco courtroom.
Witnesses for the defense were under
pressure to chip away at arguments made by the plaintiffs over the
past two weeks. Specifically, that the ban, known as Proposition 8,
was approved out of animus towards gay men and lesbians.
Their first witness, Dr. Kenneth P.
Miller, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in
Southern California, said that while proponents voted twice to define
marriage as a heterosexual union, they did not move to strip away
other laws that recognize gay unions, including domestic
“California voters have not used the
initiative process nor the popular referendum to repeal or limit the
Legislature's other broad expansions of LGBT rights,” Miller
Miller's Claremont McKenna College bio
states he is an expert in the California initiative process.
Defense lawyer David Thompson lobbed at
him the names of prominent California politicians, including Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, Attorney General Jerry Brown,
and Representative John Garamendi, and Miller responded that each was
an ally to the gay and lesbian community.
In a cutting cross examination, David
Boies hit hard, questioning Miller's credentials as an expert witness
on gay and lesbian political clout. He pointed out that Miller has
published only one paper on the subject. Boies asked whether Miller
knew what the Mattachine Society was during an earlier deposition.
Miller agreed he had not.
The trial, the first to be argued in
federal court, will likely end on Tuesday. Chief U.S. District Judge
Vaughn R. Walker's calendar shows he's unavailable starting
Wednesday. Walker has said he will hear closing arguments at a later
date, possibly in February.
Earlier Monday, lawyers for the
plaintiffs submitted their final pieces of evidence. In one video,
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a group that
opposes gay rights, says that if gay marriage is legal, then it must
be taught as moral behavior in public schools. In another video, a
pastor says that “polygamists are going to use that exact same
argument [as gay marriage advocates] and they're going to win.”
And a woman argues in favor of Proposition 8 by saying that
pedophiles would be allowed to marry children if the ban is not