Perry: Days Six and Seven

[UPDATE: Great news!  AFER has made available the trial transcripts from the trial thus far and plans to continue doing so as each day's transcript is available.  They're all available here.  This is great news for transparency and a service to all those who were hoping to be able to watch the trial on YouTube.  It's not the same, but it's a good step.]

Two witnesses testified on Tuesday at the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial over the constitutionality of Proposition 8.  Two more are to testify today, and a spokesman for the American Foundation for Equal Rights confirms that today will not, as attorneys for the Plaintiffs suggested this past week, be the final day for the Plaintiffs’ case.

Jerry Sanders, the current Republican Mayor and former Police Chief of the City of San Diego who is the father of a lesbian daughter, testified.  San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera conducted the direct examination.

From Lisa Keen:

Sanders, the first plaintiffs’ witness on the stand today, told with more detail a story that has become very familiar to the LGBT community. In testimony that was often choked with tears, Sanders described how he came to reverse his own opposition to same-sex marriage after his daughter came out to him and he discussed his plans to veto the city’s participation in a brief in support of same-sex marriage in 2008.

Watch Sanders’ earlier support:

Lee Badgett speaks at a hearing "Not a Rosy Picture: Poverty Among Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Americans," which took place on March 20, 2009. (Iamage from Web site of Rep. Tammy Baldwin.)

Lee Badgett speaks at a briefing organized by the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, "Not a Rosy Picture: Poverty Among Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Americans," which took place on March 20, 2009. (Iamage from Web site of Rep. Tammy Baldwin.)

Also testifying was M.V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D., a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She was discussing the economic harm to LGBT couples resulting from Proposition 8 and other anti-LGBT discrimination.  Badgett has previously spoken about similar issues to those discussed at trial when she participated in a briefing coordinated by the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus in 2009.  (More information about that event — including handouts (pdf) and audio (wma) — can be found here.)

Badgett’s testimony went on for the remainder of the day, with direct examination being conducted by David Boies and the cross-examination being conducted by Charles Cooper.  As Keen described the testimony, Boies scored a hit today.  She wrote:

Boies was questioning a pro-gay marriage expert—economist Lee Badgett—when he asked her to comment on a statement by defendant expert Douglas W. Allen concerning the decline in straight couples marrying in The Netherlands. Charles Cooper, the defense’s lead attorney, objected, noting that the defense had withdrawn Allen as a witness.

But federal Judge Vaughn Walker, who will decide the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, allowed the testimony.

What the defense expert had said—during his deposition in September—was that any trend downward in the number of straight couples marrying in The Netherlands since same-sex marriage became available there in 2001 could be attributed to a larger “secular trend” witnessed by most western countries. In fact, he said, there was “no doubt” about that.

That statement helps undermine the defendants’ claim that allowing same-sex couples to marry hurts the institution of marriage.

Today, AFER reports that the following people are to testify:

  • 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.
  • Gary M. Segura, Ph.D,Professor of American Politics in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He will testify about the relative political power of gays and lesbians as a class of citizens, and their level of political vulnerability.

[UPDATE: As I was covering the Lambda Legal lawsuit filed today on behalf of Karen Golinski, I missed what was a pretty exciting trial day from what it appears.  The coordination between the Yes on 8 campaign and several religious entities was laid bare, as was the pain endured by some of those involved in "conversion therapy."  From Lisa Keen:

Under repeated and vehement objections by the defense attorney Andrew Pugno—objections overruled by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker— Segura testified about the thousands of volunteers that were deployed by the Mormon and Catholic churches in California to campaign for passage of the anti-gay initiative. He said the documents showed that there was “very early involvement of organized religious communities, and really a national political campaign” to pass Proposition 8 in California.

Pugno and other defense attorneys continued to object to various documents—mostly emails—from being introduced into evidence, making various claims, including that some must be shielded to protect the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion for various participants in the Proposition 8 campaign.

But Judge Walker was unconvinced.

The trial will continue on Thursday and Friday.]

Law Dork coverage of the trial:

All Perry coverage at Law Dork can be found here, and my Twitter list of folks tweeting live from the trial can be found here.  Liveblogging of the trial can be found at the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker and at FireDogLake’s Prop 8 Trial Hub.

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About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect, Advocate.com, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.