Monday, June 14, 2010

Gay marriage in California

Yes, I do believe that what happens in California does matter in Uganda...!

Anyway, I am interested in this case. Very interested. A concerned party, I would say. But there is also the fact that there is some very compelling evidence for my viewing 'my' rights as the rights of human beings. Up to and including the right to have a marriage, and a family, however I may define it. And, the definition is mine.

Anyway, here is some interesting analysis of that on going case.

CA gay marriage trial to resume after long break


SAN FRANCISCO — The lawyers in the landmark federal trial over the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban may have to check their dazzling oratory at the courtroom door during next week's closing arguments.

The presiding judge wants them to answer 39 questions before he delivers his verdict.

Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker has already heard 12 days of testimony in the civil rights case, which is expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Walker has absorbed the opposing attorneys' written summaries and amassed a pile of competing briefs from outside interest groups on the limits of federalism and individual freedom.

Now, after a four-and-a-half-month hiatus, he is scheduled on Wednesday to wrap up the trial. Last week, he distilled his thinking about the case to a list of questions_ 12 each to lawyers representing gay rights advocates and the ban's sponsors, and another 15 he wants both sides to address before he later rules.

From former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who will be arguing on behalf of two same-sex couples, Walker wants to know what empirical proof there is that allowing gay men and lesbians to marry would reduce discrimination against them.

The judge expects to hear, too, whether he can find that withholding marriage from gays constitutes unlawful discrimination if voters "genuinely but without evidence" believed there were legitimate reasons to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

His questions for Charles Cooper, a former Justice Department lawyer representing the ban's sponsors, are equally precise.

What evidence have they produced to support their claim that same-sex marriage would have negative consequences to the institution of marriage? Conversely, how does denying marriage to gays and lesbians improve the odds that children born in California will be raised by a married mom and dad?

Sharp inquiry "is very much typical of this judge," observed Olson, who frequently was interrupted by Walker during his opening statement in January. "He has done his homework, he is very much involved in this case."

"It just shows the judge is really grappling with the issues," agreed James Campbell, another lawyer for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that put Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot.
It is also very interesting in view of this statement tacked away almost at the bottom of the article.
Olson and Boies called 17 witnesses compared to two called by Cooper's defense team. The lopsided count has led gay rights supporters to predict the judge will have an easy time striking down the gay marriage ban.

Defense attorneys, meanwhile, have openly complained that they thought Walker's rulings before and during the trial favored the plaintiffs.

"The problem with the defendant's case was not the defendant's lawyers, it was the fact that there is simply no support for the central propositions they were trying to identify," Boies said.

Andy Pugno, a lawyer who served on the Protect Marriage executive committee, acknowledged that the ban's backers faced an uphill battle in addressing one of the key questions that preoccupied Walker — whether there was any proof that sanctioning same-sex marriage harms traditional heterosexual unions.

"The difficulty with that question is it's asking the defense to speculate about a harm that is likely but would occur only if we were to experiment with redefining marriage," Pugno said. "It's hard to disprove something that hasn't happened yet."
I am no lawyer. Am not american. And, I am more or less recently introduced to the concept of America's 'cultural wars'. But, I do appreciate the fact that homophobia is usually defined as a baseless fear. An illogical thing.... I guess that is what is working out to be here....!

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what comes of this.


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