Today was another day in which the gay side made lots of brilliant points because we are RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT and the other side is wrong! Hurrah! Welcome to the land of the gay agenda, where we relish in our Bias towards Being Right.
Also we have a legal beagle who is going to break things down for you this weekend while you're planning your Martin Luther King Jr Day Party, so look forward to that -- the legal beagle, and your MLK Day Party. I always liked having a half-day on MLK day because I thought it was really magical when we all held hands and sang "We Shall Overcome" in the gym with all the older kids too. It's no Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I love it nonetheless.
Speaking of pirating, per always we'd like to thank our dear friends (it's a one-way thing, where we feel very close to their words & thoughts, but to them, we are nothing, just a blip in the night sky) at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker, who btw got slapped with a Cease & Desist, demanding that Prop 8 Trial Tracker take down their logo which is a parody of the Protect Marriage's logo. Basically they're just being babies.
Last Time on Judgment Daze: Ed Egan deftly wielded his calculator & intelligence to prove that gay marriage would make the economy explode with wealth & happiness. Then Ilan Meyer arrived to tell the world why we are all so f*cking depressed and drunk and smoking like chimneys and making imaginary friends on the internet; because of social stigma! No but really, he made a super compelling case, it was perfect. He made many important points about how much healthier & happier the GLBTs would be in a world with less legal bigotry. Also I personally have this fantasy about a lot of the mean people cedeeding from the Union, though I've been told not to say that out loud on the internet. We'll have to delete this if I ever testify against Prop 8, as clearly a love note I wrote to my 6th grade boyfriend in 1992 would probably be admissible as evidence of pre-existing bias and therefore inability to conduct a professional scientific study. You'll see what I mean today.
Part One: Blinding Them With Science
Today's journey of discovery begins with Dr. Michael Lamb, who was a social psychologist at Cambridge and before that at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he headed developmental psychology team - we are told he speaks with "one of those fancy British accents," how fun! Like Kate Winslet in Titanic!
Michael has "studied factors that affect children’s development and adjustment, meaning the factors that allow them act effectively in their environment." He says there is "a huge volume" of literature on LGBT parents now, which is super, maybe he'll talk about it! The lawyer asks "What makes a good parent?" and there's a collective anticipatory held breath in the courtroom while we all wait to see whether he'll answer "One penis and one vagina!" But no, he says:
Lamb: Good parents guide, set boundaries, provide love and care for kids. Then their children are more likely to be well adjusted. What makes for effective parent is same whether mother or father.
How weird, he didn't even mention genitalia in there. Huh.
Just to get this on the table too, we talk about the Obama quote that "children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of schools, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.” Don't worry though guys, Lamb is all over this one.
Lamb: First, the quote does not compare to what -- 9 or 20 times more likely than what? Most likely this refers to kids from heterosexual homes, not compared with gay homes. There's no context. It suggests it's the absence of the father that causes these outcomes. Research shows that the absence of the father is not crucial. Children are more likely to have some of these problems when they’ve suffered separation from a parent, when there has been significant parental conflict and/or economic deprivation. It's important for a researcher to ask why these differences exist rather than to just put up stats. It doesn't acknowledge the fact that the majority of children who grow up without fathers are perfectly well adjusted.
We talk about statistics on children of GLBTs (they're okay!), whether they grow up to be homos (no!), whether homos are pedophiles (no, will you ever f*cking let this one go!) Mostly this whole segment has been the No on 8 lawyer bringing up popular anti-gay parenting myths and having Lamb debunk them - I have no idea what they're even going to be able to say in cross-examination, because it looks like Lamb has already discredited every study they could bring up.
For instance, when it is pointed out that "psychologist Dr. Joe Nicolosi... argues that kids raised by homosexuals are traumatizes emotionally and socially," Lamb politely explains that that's because Nicolosi is a f*cking conversion therapist. When faced with the statement from David Popenoe that "We should disavow the notion that “mummies can make good daddies’ just as we should disavow the notion of radical feminists that “daddies can make good mummies”… The two sexes are different to the core," Lamb responds that "Popenoe is retired, [and the] only one in field who shares above [view] is Dr. Blankenhorn." And seriously, his name is Blankenhorn, don't take that guy seriously. Good job Dr. Lamb! Two thumbs up for you!
Part Two: Hey Did I Hear Someone Say Monkey Trial?
Cross-examination time! The liveblog prefaces this section by saying "You GOTTA read this sh*t. You gotta. It’s both sad and very, very funny." SEE EVEN RICK JACOBS AT PROP 8 TRIAL TRACKER SWEARS SOMETIMES.
Anyways. We start off by having the h8er attack all of Lamb's research because he says he's politically and ideologically biased. Why is he biased? Because - get this - his studies get money from the government. Basically, this guy is trying to say that our government is bribing these results out of him - that Congress is just really f*cking invested in proving that dykes make good moms and protecting our families. Really? There's someone out there who thinks this is a priority of the American government? They can call me as a witness for this, dear Lord. Okay, okay, so that line of questioning didn't work - now he's trying to discredit, I think, the idea of science altogether?
Prop. 8: You would agree that the sci community is littered with theories that are discarded, such as phrenology.
Lamb: Not an expert on history of psych. Some people believed it. Point out that many were not scientists. [Lots of laughter.]
I'm writing that one down. PHRENOLOGY NOT REAL. Good to know! Moving on! There's a hilarious part where all of the documents Prop 8 wants to use as evidence are upside down, like literally, and so we have to take a break while they turn all of them over. LA LA LA ok, we are back to talking about how men and women are Inherently Different - for instance, as the h8er says, "Men go to prison, [are] alcoholics, violent." Also, this exchange happens:
Prop 8: More men are like Homer Simpson than not?
Lamb: I cannot say that. Some worse.
Prop. 8: did not know any could be worse.
Lamb: Testified earlier that finding has not held up in subsequent research.
Prop. 8: So science was wrong?
Yes, this is really happening. Maybe they'll start talking about global warming next.
No, wait, we don't, we start talking about "moral development," which as Lamb politely tries to point out, is not really a word that means anything. He suggests we use more concrete terms like "delinquency" and "encounters with the police" and "just let me raise my f*cking kids please." Hear hear!
The h8er is pushing really hard on this boys-need-a-father thing - he's rephrased the question "Do boys need a father as a role model?" a dozen different ways, and Lamb keeps answering that perhaps some boys do better with a father figure under some circumstances, but refuses to generalize. Maybe because, I don't know, families are complex, and reducing them to a set of chromosomes is a little reductive and simplistic. Or maybe because sometimes fathers die, and no one is putting those mothers on trial. Oh man, I can't believe how snotty they're being in questioning, this is so annoying:
Prop. 8: Is there rich and empirical literature in your field showing that mothers are irrelevant in a child’s psychological well-being?
Lamb: Need to define “mother” in that context. Person who raises but who was bio mother? Child needs good relationship with mother if she’s involved. We know the gender of that person is not crucial to child’s development.
Can we just end the trial here now, are we done? No, apparently not. Now we're talking about genetics? Are they afraid that if they ever find the "gay gene" it will make our kids genetically predisposed to listen to the Gossip and wear teal skinny jeans?
Now there is some kind of break where the h8er goes on about how two of their witnesses have withdrawn because "they were extremely concerned about their personal safety so they did not want to appear with any recordings whatsoever." (It's interesting to note, though, that Mr. Tam (who wanted to withdraw from the case for the same reason) has apparently been in the courtroom all day today.)
I am torn about whether these people are so f*cking ignorant that they don't realize they blocked us from talking about hate crimes and are now 'concerned' for their own safety, or whether they do know this and just don't care. Also, oh man, this next part is even more frustrating.
The h8er shows a study that concludes that "children growing up with continuously married parents are less likely to suffer from cognitive disabilities," and smugly asks Dr. Lamb what he thinks about that. Lamb patiently points out that this was a study of hetero couples, and according to the apeshit crazy logic Prop 8 has been using this whole time, that makes it completely irrelevant. And while Lamb didn't say this, we will: Yes, it's possible that children with continuously married parents are better off, so why don't you let us f*cking do it already. Aaaaaaand it turns out the study the h8er just quoted is from the Institute for American Values. I don't even know what to say. In complete disregard of the way they tried to discredit Lamb like 5 minutes ago, the h8er says it doesn't matter that these people are clearly ideologically biased because, you know, they're scientists!
Ok, now we enter some stage of court proceedings where the judge asks the witness direct questions - this seems completely crazy to me, Riese probably should have gotten someone to do this who knows something about the law. The point is, this just happened:
Judge: No reason to protect children from lesbians and gays... We’ve all read the reports of priestly abuse in Catholic Church. How do you square your statement with that?
Lamb intrepidly responds with "Data shows that individuals who have same sex orientation are no more likely to abuse children than heteros are. They do abuse children just as heteros do. I'm not familiar with church issues completely, but I know that in Ireland a huge report says that heteros in the church abused children. I don’t want to convey the fact that homos never abuse children; but it's no more likely than heteros." I guess this is okay, but honestly I kind of wish he could have just said "Because pedophilia is not the same as homosexuality, what is WRONG with you people, are you f*cking mentally infirm?" Or perhaps mention that maybe if homosexuality wasn't repressed by the church, there might (in some cases) be a healthier outlet for these guys? (see:: this) Whatever, I guess he's an adult.
We're done talking about priests now and we're talking about genetics again - "if genetics are not important, why do people spend so much money on in vitro fertilization?" Blah blah blah. I mean, these are not unimportant or uninteresting issues, I just wish we could recognize that they are kind of beside the point in this instance. This feels like it goes on forever - How was your data obtained? Was there a control group? Is it true that your data did not include same-sex non-sexually-exclusive B'hai public transit workers who are latent carriers of sickle-cell anemia? Real quote: "We’re looking at hundreds of studies you’ve done children of gay parents. None takes into account grandparents’ financial capacity to help kids?"
Am I the only one who feels, I don't know, bored? Now he mentions snidely that it can affect kids if parents are depressed, referencing Meyer's testimony yesterday about the negative effects of social stigma. WELL MAYBE YOU COULD STOP OPPRESSING US THEN. Just a thought. It's ok though because now it gets funny again - the h8er keeps trying to bring in other studies that apparently say gay B'hai public transit workers with sickle-cell anemia are bad parents to discredit Lamb and it's clear that Lamb knows way more about them than him - "Well, that came out in a journal where you have to pay to have it published, so." "Actually, there's a general consensus that the methodology on that one was wrong."
He's trying to prove that Lamb didn't compare his gay families to just married hetero families, but to all families! Even those living in sin! Lamb agrees that there's a difference in statistics between (unmarried) lesbian families and married hetero familes, but this is mostly dumb, because as Rick Jacobs says, "Thomas is sort of proving our point, namely if gays and lesbians could marry and live equally with heteros, kids would all do equally well. If there is no stigma, than kids will do well."
Ok, now we're finally on the redirect, and honestly I can't imagine that they need to do more than just high five or hug it out or something at this point. No wait, actually this is clearly going to be awesome, this is the first redirect question:
G: Let’s get in a time machine and go back from before that cross all the way back to when you first said that kids are better off with a father, back before I was born.
Ok ok, they spend this time confirming that the "fatherless child" studies that the h8ers spent so much time freaking out of were all in fact based on hetero families in which the father had left, and didn't even include lesbian families, so are completely pointless. Also, that even though we just spend freaking forever talking about unmarried gay families v. married straight ones, the fact is that the statistics for unmarried gay families and unmarried straight ones are the same, so maybe that means you should just let us marry each other already and then all our children will be happy! We also go back over the studies and books that the other side quoted and establish that in their research they "confused causality with correlation," which even I have taken enough sociology to know is a f*cking dumb thing to do if you're a researcher, and also that many of the interviewers in this research clearly had homophobic biases which influenced their data.
ALSO this is absurd! Are we debating if gays can adopt children here or if they can get married? WHY CAN WE NOT SEPARATE THE IDEA OF PROCREATION FROM MARRIAGE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS F*CKING COUNTRY?
Part Three: IT'S FEELINGS TIME Y'ALL
You guys you guys they're now going to call author Helen Zia to the stand, who will testify regarding "messaging and her own feelings about discrimination." YES. The h8ers obviously freak out about this and try to object to her being called because "That kind of testimony is for experts. Need to provide sample size. One single person cannot do."
TRANSLATION: She is a person, a gay person and they and their feelings are not important to this issue. Luckily they don't get to run things in here because it is a neutral court of law and not the real world, and so the judge rules that "it does appear that the witness can speak to the relevant issues." YES, I WOULD SAY THAT THAT IS TRUE. Anyways! Let's do this! Ms. Zia is "57, from NJ, in CA 18 years, has five siblings, four are alive and her mom is in the bay area. JFK HS in NJ. College at Princeton. Graduated with Bachelors of Arts. Honorary Doctorate of Laws from CUNY School of Law. Writer. Written two books and edited a bunch. “Asian American Dreams: Emergence of an American People” about Asian Americans and civil rights trials and tribs over last forty years. “MY Country Vs. Me” about Wen Ho Lee who was falsely accused of spying at Los Alamos for PRC. I co-wrote. Was exec editor for Ms." And "a lesbian all my life."
Okay, I'm trying to pick out quotes to put here, but honestly it's so hard, this is all so beautiful and so important. I'll try to find a few of the most important things, but please just read it, it's all right here.
"I was like a community organizer in med school. One day, I was called to a meeting and all of my friends in the movement asked me to sit down in middle of semi-circle they had formed... 'they said we’ve noticed that you seem to be working with a lot of women and lesbians. In our community of color, the Asian community, we don’t have lesbians, homosexuals. We would not want to have a homosexual work with us because homosexual said homosexuality is petty, white bourgeois. An African American woman said the same. If you are a homo, we don’t want you. So Helen tell us, are you a lesbian?" I was about 23 then. I looked at people I trusted who had said that. I knew lesbians. I knew that I had attractions to women, but I didn’t have girlfriend, I didn’t have membership card or a toaster oven saying welcome to lesbianism. So I said no, I’m not... [I] kept diaries. I had written down thoughts that maybe I’m a lesbian, like that I find so and so attractive. I have these feelings. After the trial, I was going to leave Boston for Michigan and I was going to drive. I was worried that I’d get into an accident and someone would see that I thought I might be a lesbian, so I burned my diaries in a construction fire."
She goes on to describe other incidents of discrimination; like a speaking invitation at Notre Dame being recanted. She describes something that is so familiar to us in our lives that it seems remarkable other people might not know about it -- how when her girlfriend wants to hold her hand, she pushes her girlfriend away because she doesn't feel safe. She knows her identity could constantly make other people be violent towards her.
Ohmigod you guys, I can't be funny about this. Even if nothing else - even if this doesn't work, even if we all end up crying alone in front of the TV again because Prop 8 still stands after this trial, even if our moms still won't meet our girlfriends and our grandmas still hate our alternative lifestyle haircuts, at least this happened. A courtroom full of people - an overflowed courtroom, with people in other tiny cramped rooms all over California leaning in to watch a tiny TV screen, a courtroom of people who do not necessarily support us or care about us or our families or even want to admit we exist - at least they heard this, were made to hear it. At least Thompson and Patterson and Cooper and every other Yes on 8 supporter in that courtroom was made to sit still and shut up for twenty minutes while someone who's lived through everything they did to her tells them about it.
“The Prop. 8 messages were that I am an abomination and that my relationship to Leah is wrong. When we were out on street on Oakland working to get no votes, people would come up to me and say, excuse my language Your Honor, “you fucking dyke.” To read the literature of the Yes side and see that my marriage to Leah would cause the end of the human race, lead to bestiality, more polygamy. People would look at our literature and say, “No more people. You'll end the human race.”
"We were excited to register as [domestic partners] in 1993. Anti-climactic. We went to window where they issue dog licenses. We walked away with little certificate like a kid gets for perfect attendance. We framed it, but it did not feel like much. We didn't send out notices to friends or have a party.
This next part is to show how much her family is stronger now, just like all the family values people claim to want for us. She describes how her Chinese-born grandmother would always comment that Leah must be such a good friend because she's been around at all our family stuff for seventeen years. But when they got married (in 2004, when it was briefly legal in San Francisco), "Grandma got it."
She said, "Oh, this is your wife," and after we got married, Leah's father would stop by my brother's house in Hawaii and give him fruit from the yard. He never did that for 15 years before we got married... Leah's father died in hospice about two months ago. Her father explained to nurses that "Leah is my daughter, and this is my favorite daughter-in-law."
Leah said, "he said daughter in law."
I said, "He said favorite."
Part Four: The Real Abomination
None of that made me cry, but the fact that they actually get to cross-examine her might. He's going through things she's written "for the homosexual community," as he puts it, and I think trying to undermine the basis of her marriage? He notes that she once wrote that some gay activists see marriage as a bourgeois issue, and quotes her as writing that she "married Ms. Shigimura because [she] wanted to express [her] defiance of the war mongering, hate filled machine in Washington." I don't know, that sounds to me like as good a reason as any.
h8er: Your marriage did not affect your view of marriage as a patriarchal institution. Married Ms. Shigimura because you wanted to express your defiance of the war mongering, hate filled machine in Washington.
Helen: That sounds like something I would write.
[GALES OF LAUGHTER!]
Oh, this is fantastic. Now he talks about how they still had a wedding reception even though the right to marry was repealed in between the wedding and the reception (her reception was scheduled for after San Francisco's law had been repealed), apparently trying to prove that receptions are fun for everyone no matter what, even if your basic human rights have just been denied you! Why can't you queers just have parties for yourselves anyways? Don't you people love those?
But she shuts him down, and goes on to explain the real importance of a legal marriage as opposed to a domestic partnership, because in 2008 when gay marriage was legal she and Leah got married fo'rizzle :
"Difference is between night and day having marriage certificate compared to a domestic partnership. Suddenly within those six months between the time we were married to the time it was invalidated, we had taste of being out of the closet, of not being on the back of the bus. We tasted freedom. Our families related together quite differently. For a brief moment in time, we experienced equality. We could go to the fountain that was not for G and L only and we tasted water there, and it was sweeter there."
YOU GUYS THAT'S IT, THAT'S IT. They don't get to say anything else hateful or spiteful or invalidating of, you know, our lives. Not until Tuesday! Because even h8ers better take a f*cking day off for Dr. King! I don't know about you, but I'm going to ride that sweet, sweet Ms. Helen Zia high for the next three days, and I hope you do the same. Until next time, y'all!