Both sides in the legal battle over
California's gay marriage ban filed final briefs Friday, signaling
closing arguments are closer at hand in the high-profile trial
considering the constitutionality of the measure, the San
Francisco Chronicle reported.
In their filing, proponents of
Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban narrowly approved by California
voters in 2008, maintain that voters approved the measure because
they believe allowing gay men and lesbians to marry would hurt
children, an argument advanced by the campaign to approve Proposition
8. The measure trumped a state Supreme Court ruling that legalized
gay marriage in California for a brief time.
“Californians voted for Proposition 8
because they thought it would strengthen the institution of marriage
[and] … because they thought it would benefit children,” lawyers
for ProtectMarriage.com, the chief sponsor of the measure, said.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R.
Walker cleared his San Francisco courtroom after hearing two and a
half weeks worth of testimony in January without a ruling, saying he
wanted to review the evidence before listening to closing arguments.
Lawyers in favor of gay marriage –
led by the constitutional team of Ted Olson and David Boies –
argued that proponents of Proposition 8 approved the measure out of
animus towards gay men and lesbians, stripping such couples of their
The trial began with the emotional
testimony of a gay and a lesbian couple who have been denied the
right to marry in California because of Proposition 8. Jeffrey
Zarrillo said he loved Paul Katami “probably more than I love
myself.” And Sandra Stiers testified that she was a plaintiff in
the case because she wanted to marry her partner of ten years, Chris
As the trial progressed, plaintiffs'
lawyers trounced the defense as they strung together weeks' worth of
testimony from 17 witnesses, including plaintiffs. In contrast,
Proposition 8 lawyers controlled the courtroom for only two days,
offering testimony from only two expert witnesses.
And in the cross-examining, one of
those witnesses cracked under the pressure of Boies' persistent
Boies devastated David Blankenhorn,
founder and president of the conservative think tank Institute for
American Values, who admitted that legalizing gay marriage would
“improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their
children,” that homophobia is a “real presence” in our society
and that gay marriage in the United States would make the country
Witnesses for the plaintiffs included
the testimony of Letitia A. Peplau, a social psychologist at the
University of California, Los Angeles, who testified that her
research showed that “on average the level of quality is the same”
as measured by closeness, love and stability between gay and straight
Michael Lamb, head of Cambridge
University's Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, said
he concluded that “The evidence makes clear that having a gay or
lesbian parent does not make children more likely to be maladjusted”
after reviewing the data of about 100 studies on the subject. And
that gender is not an important measure of good parenting.
“What makes for an effective parent
is the same whether or not you are talking about a mother or a
father,” Lamb said.
Attorneys for the Proposition 8
campaign attempted to portray plaintiffs' witnesses as “committed
liberals” who are prepared to advance the gay rights movement.
In their filing Friday, plaintiffs'
lawyers cited their witnesses' testimony in concluding that allowing
committed gay couples to marry “strengthens the institution of
marriage for both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.”
No matter how Judge Walker rules, the
decision is widely expected to be appealed all the way to the Supreme
Court, whose ruling could affect gay marriage bans throughout the