Day 11 of Prop 8 Gay Marriage Trial: Same-Sex Parents Just Don’t Understand

Guess what? We found a picture of Kenneth Miller! Oh, of course per ushe, much thanks to prop8trialtracker, without whom this recap would not be possible.

Part One:

The End of Miller Time

Hellloooooooo gorgeous! How are you? Are you ready for more of our terrible/AWESOME make-you-laugh-then-cry-then-laugh-harder Professional Frenemy Kenneth Miller? Good, because that’s what’s happening. When I was a babyqueer I used to play Little League baseball (on a boy’s team, obvs) and we had a “Slaughter Rule,” which was that if the other team was more than like seven runs ahead you could just give up. I would be lying if I said I were not hoping a little bit that that might just happen today, and everyone could leave the courthouse and go to Panera. Let’s find out!

We are going pretty easy on the guy to start; Boies is pretty much just saying numbers and asking Miller to confirm that these numbers exist, which seems like it should be doable. “32% of population that attended church weekly voted yes on Prop. 8 84% of the time. Consistent with your understanding?” Yes. Duh.

Remember when Miller was all up in our grills about how gays are Super Powerful Like Superman because farm workers’ unions are on our side? Yeah, it turns out that when asked how labor unions tended to vote on Prop 8, he doesn’t know. Okay, Jesus, this is getting ridiculous. He is like a giant baby!

Boies: Let’s go through them. Why would psychologists support same-sex marriage?
Miller: No.
Boies: Psychiatrists?
Miller: No.

Are you allowed to do that? I mean, I get that you can plead the fifth or whatever, but can you just refuse to answer questions because you’re mad that they make you look dumb? I feel like if I couldn’t do that in sixth grade algebra, he should not be allowed to do that in a court of law. [Or I guess it could be just the transcription, maybe he’s answering “I don’t know” to these questions? Either way, I am unimpressed.]

Now Boies brings out a Gallup poll that gave people an imaginary political candidate and asked if they would vote for him/her if they were [insert characteristic here] – Catholic, Jewish, black, hispanic, old, etc. Guess what? Gays have the lowest amount of support, with 55% saying that they would vote for a gay candidate who was otherwise well-qualified.

Miller notes that “this is very close to the 72 year old,” who had 57%.

So basically, there’s a few people that would rather have a gay person than an almost-dead person in office. Unless that person is John McCain, I guess?

Also, does this explain my constant back pain and love of Cream of Wheat? That’s probably an issue for another trial.[/caption%5D

Miller says he “can’t recall” if he looked at this poll, or any documents from HRC, or really anything. Does this guy have, like, a condition? Like amnesia? The fact that Boies clearly has to use VERY SMALL WORDS to get coherent answers from this guy makes the transcript very tedious to read.

Boies: You believe? You have found out that this is the case in the course of your investigation?
Miller: Yes, there is discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Boies: Have you found out if that number is large or small?

I will answer that one for you! It is large!

Boies brings out a report from the California Safe Schools Coalition which says “that bullying for actual or perceived sexual orientation pervasive. 7.5% report such bullying. Translates into 200,000.”

As you may have read in the Daily Fix, discrimination against queer and especially trans kids in American schools is RIDIC. Guys, finding facts for the daily fix is not hard, our sources often include “Tila Tequila’s twitter account” and “livejournals of people we like,” but the supposed expert on contemporary discrimination against gays somehow did not have the resources to find this out.

At this point Boies is literally just giving him each article that he wants to talk about so Miller can read it over for himself first; we are past the point of assuming that he might even have seen before any of the material he is an “expert” on. THIS IS MAKING ME SO ANGRY, this man gets to be a professor whereas I will probably not even be able to get a job in sixth months even though I sound WAY LESS STUPID THAN THIS:

Boies: (Interrupts M a few times to “Listen to the question”) Do you believe that there is an anti-gay stereotype even without marriage?
Miller: I don’t know.
Boies: Do you think the stereotype about children caused some people to vote for Prop. 8? You came in here saying that you were an expert saying that you had done research about gay and lesbian political power.
Miller: Yes.

Also, wait, apparently Miller just wrote a book in 2009 about voter initiatives in which he says “minorities are often disadvantaged by initiatives due to prejudice.” Like, he just wrote it. After Proposition 8 happened. Whose idea was it to have him be a defense witness? Why did he agree to it? Did they confuse him with some other Kenneth Miller who isn’t an idiot and apparently believes the opposite of what he was called to testify? Oh wait, hold up –

[Trial interrupted by a heavy-set guy who starts to scream epithets and is escorted out of courtroom, as if proving Mr. Boies’s point.]

This is amazing, not in the least because the man escorted from the courtroom clearly held his shit together during the stuff about dudes marrying horses and just now lost it.

Miller’s in a really tight spot where Boies is asking him over and over if the information in the book he just published putting down voter initiatives is “inaccurate” – if he says it is, then it makes him look like a completely non-credible witness who either makes up the stuff in his books or is wrong about them.

If he says it’s not, then the loony tunes testimony he’s given for the last two days is worth even less than it was before. Which will you choose, Miller? The red pill or the blue pill? HOW FAR DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE? Ok, looks like he’s going with the latter. He’s pretty much just nodding and mumbling to every statement Boies is reading out of his book, and I imagine softly weeping. I bet the Prop 8 attorney is super excited about the redirect for this one. Ok, one more quote from Miller’s book: “In contrast, the direct initiative system by bypassing checks and balances, … targets minorities disproportionately including ethnic, racial and homos…What is going on here? Did the h8ers read this book and were like “Oh, um, maybe they won’t find it?” What is happeningggggg

BOIES reads from another article. “The popular view that courts should be lenient in judicial review for initiatives is 180 degrees off. … “When courts review initiatives, they need to be more vigilant, not less.” “Courts are the only institutional filter, the check of first and last resort” in imitative process. The courts project against “majoritarian” rule. Did you believe this when you wrote it?

Miller: It’s compound statement. Which part?
Boies: All of it. You wrote it!
Miller: I did not agree with all of it.

Maybe his alter ego Jane Cordovez wrote those other parts. Let’s go with that. Ok, we talk some more about papers Miller wrote that pretty clearly contradict the Rah Rah Voter Initiatives stance he had earlier, he sounds dumb, blah blah blah. Boies asks him if gays have won any other important pieces of legislature besides hate crime laws, and he responds with, “Well, that’s the one I examined.” Uh huh.

Boies: All federal legislation is passed by congress! It’s the only one you know!
Miller: Yes.
Boies: Do you know the official name of the hate crimes bill?
Miller:Matthew Shepard Bill? (Sheepishly)
Boies: Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Bill. Do you know who Byrd was?
Miller: Someone killed…

Ohmigod you guys, I really just want to copy/paste like the whole transcript in here, I feel like it’s already funnier than anything I could say about it. Boies points out that James Byrd was African-American and so implies that this means the black community supported this bill; Miller tries to argue that yes, well, hate crimes against blacks and African-Americans were already illegal. ALL CRIMES ARE ILLEGAL. YES, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE. THAT IS WHAT “CRIME” MEANS. Sweet Jesus.

Oh man, maybe I should not find this part funny, but I really do: Boies asks about Megan’s Law, and asks if Miller agrees that its purpose is to protect little girls, which obvs he does. And then he asks if the existence of this law “shows the political power of little girls.” Is it me or is that kind of funny?

Anyways, this works, and Miller is like well, no, it shows the power of those who care about them. Boies is trying to make the point that laws that help queers aren’t a measure of how much sway we have in the government, but the extent to which some people are beginning to realize that it’s objectively wrong that we live as second-class citizens.

We talk about hate crimes some more, and Miller admits he doesn’t know what what proportion of hate crimes are perpetrated against queers, or even how many of us there are? “It’s difficult to know the percentage of the population.” Miller takes a stab at it – “I estimate it’s 5%, but could go one way or another.” Is that the number of queers or number of hate crimes? We will never know, and it would be wrong either way.

Now Boies is doing a thorough takedown of Miller’s “gays-are-powerful” theory and a recap of Segura’s awesome testimony from the other day – religious organizations in general don’t support gay marriage or even gays, and religion is a huge institution in America, espesh Catholicism, Evangelicals, and Southern Baptists (it is maybe worth mentioning that Miller says he doesn’t know the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality. UM, WUT) and DUH churches put way more money into passing Prop 8 than we were able to put into defeating it, Mormon volunteers came in from outside the state of California to provide time and money to the Yes on 8 effort…[/caption%5D

Miller is like a deer in the headlights for all of it. I’m not sure whether he genuinely didn’t know this stuff because he’s just spent the last few months at home watching King of the Hill, or whether he somehow thought we would never figure it out. Either way, he’s getting a 10 minute break because the cross has been like 3 hours so far. Let’s take this moment to hear Rick Jacobs’ thoughts from the scene of the crime:

This is very, very sad. It’s boring in a way, but not like what the goof balls on the Prop. 8 side tried to do in their cross. They never, ever could get a witness on our side in a contradiction or even question. So they resorted to reading in over and over and over again articles and sections of books just so they could have them in the record. This witness has been so bent by his own contradictions and lack of knowledge and expertise that he has no shape whatsoever. And this is THEIR expert!!… Remember that never, ever in our history have we had this opportunity to air the vitriolic reasons that Prop. 8 was passed, that homosexuality has been condemned by institutions for decades and hundreds of years. So of course we are a suspect class and the courts are our only line of defense.]

So upon close examination, it appears that roughly 23% of the material Miller “based his research on” was stuff Miller was able to find himself using Google or his library card, and the rest was basically provided by Prop 8 lawyers. Kind of embarrassing, amirite? We’re back to talking about religion, and Miller is trying his hardest not to say the sentence “Religion is why Prop 8 passed” but he’s being so squirrely and ridiculous that he’s pretty much admitted it. It’s like Boies can get him to say anything, it’s magic. “What’s your PIN? Where do you hide your valuable baseball cards?” And Judge Walker is totally with him on it!

Boies: As political scientist, do you believe that a religious majority should not be allowed to impose its views on a minority?
Thompson: Objection.
Judge Walker: Overruled.

If we were to make a Prop 8 Trial drinking game – which I am not condoning, b/c binge drinking is bad for you and some of you are like 17 – I would take a shot every time Judge Walker overrules a h8er objection, and also I would not be able to write these recaps because I would fall out of my chair.

Boies: As you sit here now, can you think of a time when a religious majority used its power to impose its view and that was good?
Miller: Abolitionists.
Boies: Were abolitionists a majority?
Miller: I don’t know.
Boies: They were not.
Judge Walker: Counsel is attempting to understand the witness’s views. If the witness would answer the questions directly, there would not be a need for these other questions.

JUDGE WALKER FTW. Let’s order t-shirts you guys. There’s a few minutes where we argue, I think, over what role the state Attorney General plays in voter initiatives like this – I’m sorry, guys, I mostly don’t know what this means, you don’t know how long it took me to even figure out that AG meant Attorney General.

Oh, hey, I guess we’re in the redirect now? That came out of nowhere. Whatever, I’m excited for this, if I were Thompson I would have been hitting the flask in my suit pocket all morning.

Thompson (T): Please relay your methodology for understanding progressive the religious involvement in Prop. 8?
Miller: I did extensive reading. The Pew website provides important information.

Oh, now you’ve done “extensive reading?” Yeah, why don’t you tell us all about that. Ok, Thompson asks about CA initiatives in 1970s that had the potential to tap into a strain of anti-minority sentiment against gays and lesbians, and Miller confirms that they didn’t pass – I’m sorry, but people still thought blacklight posters were cool in the 1970s, is that really the most relevant time period to be looking at?

Apparently they found a document from Segura that says 74% of queers are “not in favor of marriage.” I am guessing that that actually means “not in favor of marrying horses,” or “not getting married anytime soon because I’m 15 and a member of my high school GSA.” Thompson reads a statement from some church which is, tellingly, not specified, saying that God loves all people regardless of sexual preference. Right soooo…

Also then they try to play a 30-second ad about Mormons or something but Thompson can’t get it to work, this is hilarious, he’s like that substitute teacher that you used to try to make cry.

Ok, now Thompson wants to talk about how Miller’s thinking has “evolved” (I thought you people believed in intelligent design or something?) since the early 2000s. I guess I respect your going for the gold on this one, bro, but he just wrote a book in 2009 that said voter initiatives allowed for the majority to impose their opinion on a minority. I just don’t think there’s much you can do about that.

“I decided a long time after thinking about this, that marriage is different. People should have input on the definition of marriage, not invidious discrimination. It’s okay for people to come to a consensus on it and courts should not impose themselves upon it.”

He’s a quick thinker after all!

Well! Thank you for sharing your feelings on this subject! Is there anything else you need to talk about? Maybe your mother? Have you had any more of those dreams? Thompson is trying to play a PSA about how gay marriage will mean your kids will have anal sex in school or something, we object and Walker sustains us like the rock star he is, because if there is anything Miller actually is competent on, and that’s debatable, it is defo not messaging or the media. I guess that was pretty much their last idea, the defense says it rests. I would want to get this guy off the stand ASAP too.

There’s a transition period where the Judge asks Miller a few questions himself – he asks Miller to confirm his statement that “it is never appropriate for the judiciary to intervene in the initiative process,” and then wonders aloud about his statement from earlier in the same day when he said “it is sometimes appropriate for the courts to intervene.” We end up with this:

Judge Walker: So it is appropriate for judiciary to intervene?
Miller: Yes.

Okay! Sounds like a good time for a LUNCHBREAK to me! Miller is done, and the defense only has maybe two but probs only one more witness, which is good because I am getting carpal tunnel.

Part Two:


Please, you guys, bear with me on this one. I know we’re all tired. I am very tired, I fell asleep on someone’s couch today without even taking my winter coat off. But we need to make ourselves an americano and power through this, because the next witness for the defense is Dr. David Blankenhorn, and he’s a crazy. Some quick background on him from Rick Jacobs: “Harvard in 1977 with degree in social studies. 1979 degree of history at University of Warwick. MA with distinction. John Knox fellowship as undergraduate study abroad at University of Warwick. Then spent two years in VISTA program, as community organizer in Boston and then continue my work as community organizer in Massachusetts and Virginia.” Some less quick background information on him from other sources:

+ Here is an article Salon wrote on him in October of 2008, which identifies him as that guy you may have heard of (I haven’t) who wrote an opinion piece that said “It’s perfectly natural to be a liberal Democrat but against gay marriage, because I am.” He was, unsurprisingly, lauded by a bunch of conservatives who had to change their underwear after reading him. In fact, they were so f*cking enamored, a collection of ultra-conservative Republican foundations have given Blankenhorn over $4.5 million. As Salon says, “There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Blankenhorn taking millions of dollars for IAV and $317,225 annually for himself and his wife from ultra-conservative Republicans. But it certainly tends to undermine the notion that he’s a “liberal Democrat” who also happens to oppose marriage by same-sex couples.”

+ Have you ever heard of Americans For Truth? Basically, if anyone has ever called you a “homosexual activist,” they probably spent a lot of time on this website. Again unsurprisingly, they just absolutely shit themselves over his book The Future of Marriage. Also, if you feel like getting upset, here is their reaction when one time Blankenhorn said something that might imply queers are people, including but not limited to an astoundingly long list of reasons why they hate us.

+ Here you can see a bunch of inspiring video clips in which Blankenhorn does speaking engagements and answers “tough questions” from his audience. Like “Why are you a dillhole? Do your children hate you? ” Also, HERE IS WHAT HIS FACE LOOKS LIKE:

+ If you haven’t vomited yet, feel free to peruse this article from USA Today in which Maggie Gallagher gushes over him and he makes a stupid face in a picture with his kids. Also, this quote: “My impression of this guy is he’s really devoted his life to family issues and would probably do that if no one paid him at all,” says Jonathan Rauch, a senior writer at National Journal magazine. I know we like Jonathan Rauch, but I just have to say: do you know how much work interns do even though no one pays them at all? Or volunteers in hospitals, or Haiti, or housewives? THEY ALL DESERVE MORE RESPECT THAN THIS GUY.

Okay, is that enough for you? Are you enraged? Good. I will buy the whole internet a round of drinks if Boies can make this guy cry. READY GO.

Ok, ok, he’s sworn in, he has authored two books, Fatherless America (does that sound like a Ginsberg poem to anyone else? No?) (I’ll settle for immortality, not thru the body, not thru the eyes, Star-Spangled high mountains…) and The Future of Marriage in 2007. He interviewed some fathers.

I’m gonna predict that this testimony is supposed to disprove all the former experts that said same-gender parents (i.e. potentially fatherless homes) are A-OK for kids. Can I just say right now, along with everyone else who had a shitty dad, that that’s stupid and then we can move on? Riese would like to add that she has a book called Fatherless Daughters but it’s about how to cope when your Dad dies, which is sort of kind and helpful, unlike David’s book, which is just a lot of whining about things to appease his political base and make the rest of us feel sad and underserved. HOWEVER what if you have two fathers? Isn’t that perfect?

No, we have to do this testimony anyway.

Defense points out that Team Totally Right’s expert Michael Lamb reviewed the book “decently.” (I think I remember the exact point in Lamb’s testimony where he said he tried really hard to be polite in his review. AHAHA) Ok, now he’s talking about all the time he took to “learn about marriage as a cross-cultural institution…”

I think it’s important at this point for everyone reading this to be clear on Blankenhorn’s actual qualifications. It’s true that he has a degree in social studies from Harvard, but from what they’ve mentioned I don’t see that he has actual experience on marriage or families – it seems like most of his ‘experience’ with this comes from working as a “community organizer.”

His claim to fame is that he’s the president of the Institute for Family Values, which is a “non-partisan” think tank that commissions research on fatherhood, marriage, family structure, and family well-being. This does not make him a total layperson, but we should be clear that he is not a researcher. Good? Good. For instance, when he talks about the process of writing The Future of Marriage, he says he “consulted my own accumulated body, having read, written and spoken about the issue over the past twenty years.” So… it’s about his feelings. Boies is clearly having the same train of thought, and takes this time to confirm in front of the courtroom that Blankenhorn’s actual degrees are in comparative labor history. Only one article on fatherhood was peer-reviewed, and that was co-published with someone else. Just to be perfectly clear on this:

Boies: Do you understand that fields of anthropology, psychology, and psychiatry are important for this subject?
BLANKENHORN: No. You can go through the list because I have told you what my degrees are.
Boies: Have you taught at college…
BLANKENHORN: No college or university has never employed me ever.
Boies: In the three cases in which you testified, were they about same sex marriage?
Boies: In preparation for your testimony did you do a scientific study of same-sex marriage?
BLANKENHORN: Not for this preparation for this testimony.

Other facts: Blankenhorn has not looked at any countries or jurisdictions in which same-sex marriage is now legal, and wants to stop the trial for a minute while he explains his “definition of the word study.” Namely, it is that he has “talked to people and read about it. I did not come up with expert findings on those subjects.” Yes, I would say that that is true. The h8er is trying that thing where he just reads declarative statements and has the witness say yes or no – to be fair, after Kenneth “I Just Wet My Pants” Miller, I wouldn’t want my witness answering questions with full sentences either. The judge is Not Happy with this though, so Blankenhorn gets to answer a full question. What we get is this:

“Claude Levi Strauss has said that across society, we have interest, in so far as we can make it so, the union of the man and woman who created the child are also social and legal parents. Thre’s only one institution that brings together the social, biological and legal. We think of it as the gift we give to children. You as a child are being given this gift of being able to know and br known by the two people who brought you into the world.”

Can we take a vote? Does or does not this man collect Precious Moments ceramic dolls in a glass case at home. DOES HE OR DOES HE NOT. YES HE DOES.

I’m quoting directly here – “reads quotes from books by people he says are scholars.” I’m on the edge of my seat. Um, this particular book is from 1951, he says it has “probably the most famous definition of marriage in history.” First of all, really? Second of all, didn’t they think the female orgasm was caused by riding horses in 1951? From a book written in 1979: “Here I shall argue that while all this is true, marriage is the socially sanctioned pair bond for the avowed social purpose of procreation.” Um, sure! Thank you for telling us how you feel on that! I guess I’m just a little annoyed we have to waste time on this. Every other expert, even Miller who did a shitty job, used actual numbers about actual things to try to make their case. This is the norm, even in “soft” sciences like sociology. Studies still exist on this stuff! If you could prove anything by just reading it out of a book you liked – well, I don’t know. The point is you can’t do that. We talk for a while about how Smart and Great the guys (and they’re all guys) who wrote these books are, and agree that they are very nice men.

BLANKENHORN: My conclusion is that this is the correct view of society, that this is what marriage is.
h8er: Is there an opposing view?
BLANKENHORN: Yes there is. There is a well-developed and relatively newer view that marriage is not this, that marriage is fundamentally a private, adult commitment.

What do you even say to that? “Um, yes?” Maybe I’m just naive – are there people who do not think marriage is a “private adult commitment?” I’m at a loss, so here are Rick Jacobs’ thoughts on the matter:

This guy is really, really earnest. He reminds me of one of those southern ministers. He does not come off as an intellectual, which is useful for them. He’s the face of what they want out there. He’s smooth and likeable. He uses big words and term and then quickly defines them for all of the world. He’s what they have. And he’s not a Harvard professor or a slick lawyer. That’s what this is all about for them. They want this part of the PR machine out there. They want to say, ‘you know (wink), our whole lives we have all known that marriage is all about kids. This new gay thing is fine for them, but it’s just not marriage.’

He goes on to say that calling it the “institution” of marriage is odd, because marriage is “a private arrangement for parties in love.” Funny, that’s why I said I should be able to marry Scarlett Johanssen, but you didn’t seem to agree with me then.

He talks about marriage in other cultures, how it’s not always based on love between adults but could be based on kinship or political arrangements, but how marriage is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS about children. I guess I’m biased, but is that really a good thing? Even if you can somehow prove that marriage was always based on procreation (which I don’t believe you can), I don’t think that makes it a good thing all on its own. He talks for a while about how our cultural concept of marriage has nothing at all to do with religion, honestly! And then, oh God, the big one:

I do not believe that anti same sex marriage is a symptom of homophobia. Homophobia is present in our society and many others around the world. I regret and deplore it and wish it to go away. I have sought to look at the evolution of marriage in societies as I have sought to understand how marriage became universal in its reach and impact and how those custodians of the institution have sought to state the reasons, the goals of these institutions, what the thing was trying to do and why it matters so much. I am not able to find any evidence that animus toward gay and lesbian people or hatefulness of homosexual persons is why they justified their participation in the marital institutions. I am not saying that no such evidence exists. If such evidence exists, I want to know it. I’m telling you I have looked for it and I cannot find it.

OH MY GOD THIS MAKES ME SO ANGRY. It’s not like we haven’t heard this argument before – “It’s not that I hate gay people, it’s just that I LOVE CHILDREN SO MUCH.” It’s just that I can’t stand to think there are people who really believe it, who think that it’s okay that they do this to us, who think that no one is to blame for how hard our families have to work just to be together.

The truth is that you can’t hurt someone this much and it wasn’t an accident, you knew what you were doing. You may’ve been misinformed by people who said we’d hurt your children & families but the truth is you knew what it meant when you filled out the bubble. That’s why this guy is supposed to work, because he is a paradox — someone who’s smart enough to know better, but still doesn’t know better.

It just doesn’t make sense because if you like us, if you really like us, then you can’t possibly like Prop 8. Since you’re so hung up on children, let’s play this game: you don’t trust us to raise your children and you don’t even know us. That’s really mean, you know? Do you say that to your gay friends? If you have any?

This is not like a car accident, you did not let your eyes close because you were sleepy and your car drifted onto the sidewalk. You knew what you were doing. You may have been misinformed by people who said we would hurt your children and your families and I’m sorry, that wasn’t your fault, but the truth is that you knew exactly what it meant when you filled in that bubble on the ballot.

“If you didn’t know that was homophobic, it’s because you didn’t want to know.”

You did that. You knew what it was. And you knew us, your librarians and your supermarket cashiers and your black-sheep cousins and your neighbors. You did it anyway.

If you didn’t know that was homophobic, it’s because you didn’t want to know. If David Blankenhorn wants to know that anti-gay animus exists, he can look here. He can look at any of us. Because I’m telling you right now, he hasn’t looked hard enough yet.

Blah blah blah, parents are wonderful, blah blah, marriage is good for children – I’m sorry, I should be recapping this better, but I hate this man, and everything he’s saying has already been disproven by people who know more than him.

He’s talking about how much better off children are with two biological parents than with one, but we already went over DAYS ago how these studies are based on divorced heteros, and none of this data is applicable to a loving queer family. We talk about the “deinstitutionalization” of marriage – I thought it wasn’t an institution, bro? He compares it to… a baseball team? People become “less loyal” to it.

I think he is saying marriage is like the Kansas City Royals. This argument does not elucidate very much for me other than that straight people are clearly bad at playing baseball, maybe some softball-playing dykes could help out. It almost looks like Blankenhorn agrees, because he says this nexThompson:

“Heterosexuals did the deinstitutionalizing. (He laughs sort of). Did not just come up a few years ago when we started discussing same-sex marriage. Scholars are telling us that process of weakening will be accelerated significantly by same sex marriage.”

I don’t even know what to say to this. Yes? You’re right, you guys are f*cking up marriage. The divorce rate in America in the era of DOMA is about 50%, just like always. Do you know what the divorce rate for queers is? LOWER THAN 50%. Statistically speaking, this can literally only improve.

You people have kids you don’t mean to, kids you don’t even want, you have kids just to make up for that vacation to Greece you never got to take. We don’t do this, we adopt your kids, the ones you gave away! I think what you people need is an RFamily Vacation, a labotomy, and some tights.

We’re making the institution of marriage something it hasn’t been for decades – something intentional, something that means something, a thing you fight for instead of something you do with your football player boyfriend to commemorate your high school graduation.

You want people to fix marriage? Who better to do it than the people who have been sleeping on its cold doorstep for years because they want so badly to be let in? Who will value the experience and sanctify it more than them?


What is wrong with you people?

BLANKENHORN: I think a likely consequence is acceleration or devaluation of marriage, fragility, divorce, one-parent homes.

Apparently a lot of things. And just in case you were worried this was not going to go to the absolute extreme end of insulting and illogical – well, you can stop worrying.

BLANKENHORN: When Canada passed same sex marriage, struck words, “natural parent” and replaced with “legal parent” which increases likelihood of children being raised in family forms other than her own two natural parents. Also possibility, I there, could be the possibility of the public willingness to consider family forms such as polygamy. I think polygamous marriages are not in the interest of women or society. There’s already that in our society. The concept that marriage is between two people is already weakest attribute. It seems likely that over time that this aspect of the institution as well will come under criticism and call for reform.

h8er: Why would redefining marriage as adult-centric increase the possibility of polygamy being accepted?
BLANKENHORN: Because “man” and “woman” reinforce the idea of the institution to “two.” If you knock out one of pillars, it becomes less defensible.

…what? I’m sorry, this literally makes zero sense. You can only handle the idea of “two things” if they are two different things? It’s like Noah’s Ark up in here, and I’m confused!

There are no pillars. Marriages do not have pillars, they just have people. I hate to go all “polygamous Mormons,” because of all the things you could say about the LDS church that honestly isn’t a very true accusation to make at this point in time, but Mormons are REALLY OPPOSED to gay marriage, and in the time those books you love were from, they were all polygamous and shit.

How is this something you can actually say in a court of law? How is this an “expert?”

Now we get to hear his thoughts about domestic partnerships! Oh boy. He says simultaneously he was afraid they would “open up a smorgasboard of relationships,” but also tries to act like he’s on our side by saying he thought they were “invidious, demeaning to same sex people… back of the bus, discriminatory and unfair.” You know, why don’t you let us decide that one, buddy? Don’t worry, though, now his thinking has changed into something much more sophisticated.

“My thinking now is that the core principle that we can hold out for our understanding is that marriage is larger than the sum of its legal incidence. When we say the word ‘marriage,’ it’s a big institution that performs a very large contribution to society and it’s much larger than its legal incidence. Marriage is not a creature of law. We look to law to recognize and support marriage, to give it support. Look at legal incidents of domestic partnerships and legal incidents of marriage — they’re comparable, but it’s not the same as marriage. The purpose of marriage is to bring together a biological male and a biological female, to bring together two generators of child, to make it as likely as possible that they will be parents of a child. That’s the lodestar. The Domestic Partnership is a differently purposed institution, particularly with respect to marriage. This ‘lodestar notion’ that animates the Domestic Partnership is different. It’s discriminatory not to call two things that are the same by the same name. I had to work that out with myself in the mirror… it means a lot to me personally. I have been able to understand as an advocate for customary marriage.”

I’m sorry, but WHAT THE F*CK. I’m glad you got your issues out, bro. Seriously, I’m really happy for you. I got you this trophy that says “Most In Touch With Their Feelings.” Jesus Christ, I hope Boies makes his eyes bleed. AND MAYBE HE’S ABOUT TO, because cross just started.’

Part Three:

Never Forget to Source Your Source

Boies: Did you understand that the research shows that there is a causal relationship between father/mother family and a worse outcome for children?
Boies: Did you read the entire chapter?
BLANKENHORN: I read the whole book.
Boies: Do you remember the next page that says that single family homes are not a cause of poor outcomes?

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already. In other news, it turns out that in all his research about How F*cking Great Biological Parents Are, Blankenhorn actually lumped adoptive parents in with all the bio ones. So… his data set wasn’t actually biological parents, but “parents who love their children.” Yeah, I bet that will give you pretty positive outcomes. Those of us who have had to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to adopt would know.

Boies: Are you aware of any study that shows that children of gays and lesbians have different worse outcomes than straight?
Boies: It is not okay for you to volunteer any information. You can give speeches when your counsel has you.

I recognize that, based on the actual content of this trial, this is ironic, but: I would 100% marry David Boies. That is all.

Judge Walker: Counsel is entitled to an answer to his question. There’s a question and then an answer. That’s the way the process works.

Also I would marry Judge Walker. I would marry either of them. Not both, you pervs!

Blankenhorn just said that “I believe that adoption of same sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children.” Um, yes, it would. I guess I’m glad you understand that? Boies asks him in a little more detail about his “research” from the “scholars” he “referenced” “earlier” – the witness does not seem excited.

Boies: Have any of the scholars you have relied on asserted that allowing same sex marriage would lower the rate of hetero marriage.
BLANKENHORN: The safest answer is I don’t know, but I believe the answer is that some of them have.
Boies:: In that case, I’ll ask you which ones?
BLANKENHORN: I thought you might. That’s why I was careful walking into it. (Harrumphs.)

I really want to copy/paste the whole thing here again, because it’s hilarious how vague and uncomfortable Blankenhorn is, but I’ll just let you know that he can think of two names of people who have said that “the deinstitutionalization of marriage will lead to less hetero marriage.” When pressed, we learn that neither of these scholars actually mention gay marriage in any way shape or form. It appears that the witness is going to cry about this like a little baby.

“I am trying to the best of my ability. I came all the way from NY to be here to answer your questions to the best of my ability. I believe that Popenoe asserts that deinstitutionalization of marriage will lead to lower marriage rates, but I do not know if he mentioned same sex marriage.”

Someone get Dr. Phil on the line, this is his ish and not ours.

“It never occurred to me that everything I would say regarding my views had to be documented. I have studied this for twenty years. Maybe I made a mistake, but it never occurred to me that all of the views that I state had to tie to documents at end of book. If it did, this would have had many more scores of documents listed.”

Oh man, I wish this was on youtube SO HARD, this is better than that one of the puppy that can’t roll itself back over. Do you know the one I mean? You know the one I mean.

Prop 8 Trial Tracker says: This last statement is really rather stunning coming from a witness who was put on the stand as an expert. He essentially admitted that he doesn’t know how real academics work, or how a bibliography works, or really the subject matter that he is supposed to be testifying upon.

This next part is fun too, we’re going through the list of sources that Blankenhorn actually DID cite, and trying to figure out whether any of them actually discuss same-sex marriage explicitly. Can you guess the answer? (The answer is no.) The witness is getting pretty bellig, like you are trying to convince him it’s time to have a bottle of water and come home from the frat party, Rick Jacobs speculates that he might be planning to say that Boies bullied him at the stand later on, but I can’t believe that because 1) Boies is OG and knows better, and 2) I think Judge Walker hates this guy. Or maybe I’m projecting. Either way, the questioning is sort of winding down, like when you’re having a fight and you’re both still mad but also exhausted and want to stop (ok, I’m definitely projecting now,) and the judge tactfully suggests that this process might be helped if everyone had a good night’s sleep. I agree, although I am mostly talking about me.

The scary/exciting thing is that they just conferred and pretty much agreed they will be able to finish up by noon tomorrow – I think Blankenhorn is going to be their last witness. This is great because I never want to hear any of these people talk again, but scary because it means a verdict is that much closer, and although I had talked myself up about it a lot, I am actually still just completely and absolutely terrified. Anyways! We still have a little more Blankenhorn tomorrow, it is possible that it will be revealed he is actually a robot when he starts smoking out his ears or something, please tune in! Good night and good luck!

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Okay, I’m only halfway through the article, but this line got me so het up I had to stop and respond to it.

    “He talks about marriage in other cultures, how it’s not always based on love between adults but could be based on kinship or political arrangements, but how marriage is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS about children.”

    BULLSHIT! I present to you, as merely the most obvious refutation among many, ghost marriages:

    • There was an episode of Bones about Chinese Ghost Marriages. Maybe they have little ghost babies? THINK ABOUT THE GHOST BABIES.

    • Yeah I know one of our very first witnesses made that same point. I wish our witnesses and the prop 8 witnesses could just have a battle of the brains/proof.

  2. Pingback: Lez-BeHonest Press » New Music Nicki Minaj & Gucci Mane, 2nd Man in the World Pregnant, Lesbian Fashion, Rihanna’s new man & his violent ass history & more!

  3. “You people have kids you don’t mean to, kids you don’t even want, you have kids just to make up for that vacation to Greece you never got to take. We don’t do this, we adopt your kids, the ones you gave away!”

    Day-um. So many “oh snaps!” to you, Rachel, in this recap. This man would have made me tear out my hair if if I had to deal with recapping his two-faced bullshit. You’re doing awesome. I hope your hair’s okay.

  4. Pingback: Lez-BeHonest Press » New Music Nicki Minaj & Gucci Mane, 2nd Man in the World Pregnant, Lesbian Fashion, Rihanna’s new man & his violent ass history & more!

  5. Although my status as a lesbian is only “honorary”, I feel compelled to publicly declare that I LOVE your Prop 8 trial recaps. Incisive and hilarious, every day! Thanks so much for all your delightful blogging.

  6. Pingback: Day 11 of Prop 8 Gay Marriage Trial: Same-Sex Parents Just Don't … | MyGaySpot

  7. Hey Rach, I am a lawyer and we truly appreciate the recaps! The only thing that blows more than actual court is transcripts. Big up to you! You are a new BFF!

    • ohmygoodness thank you! it means a lot that Real Life Lawyers might read this despite all of the egregious and embarrassing mistakes I am sure I make about actual legal stuff. Also this is beside the point but your gravatar is so so adorable

  8. That pic of the “two moms” is revolting! Both seem to desperately want to be men. Ugly men at that!

    • I believe that’s a complaint for Getty Images, not Autostraddle.
      Next time we’ll stick to Cat Cora and her kids, then would it be ok for us to get married?

      your avatar is fat

      • Dude, if ladies who wear button up shirts and have short hair want to be men, where does that leave Paula Deen? Winona Ryder? My next door neighbor? Halle Berry? No marriage for them, either?

        • I feel that this is like when you’re a toddler and your preschool teacher takes you on a field trip to her house so that you realize she has a life and doesn’t live under her desk in her classroom. “Boys can have long hair and play with dolls, and girls can wear shirts with buttons and want to be a train conductor.”
          Maybe we should take “Gross” on a field trip and show them all the different types of shirts women wear and all the different kinds of haircuts they have.
          …or maybe we should leave “Gross” at home and have our own feild trip where we appreciate the diversity of women through apreciative glances and well meaning objectification.

    • LOL :-)

      i actually had to read him in grad school. reading a pair of jeans would be much more interesting…

  9. I was forced to take a logic class my last year of university in order to finish my degree (which was painful for me because i majored in hippie philosophy not the other kind) and the FIRST thing we learned was all of the different fallacies, the slippery slope argument being one of them (cause it’s a super ridiculous fallacy). And everyone was like “obvs it’s ridiculous, we shouldn’t even be talking about this in a real life college class.” But clearly it’s so not obvs to everyone. I sent that cartoon to my old logic prof just now. And I am sure he will enjoy it. Maybe he will even show it in class.

  10. “The purpose of marriage is to bring together a biological male and a biological female, to bring together two generators of child, to make it as likely as possible that they will be parents of a child.”

    Gr. It makes me angry (well, angrier, it’s not like it was all sunshine before this) that Blankenhorn had to emphasize biological male and biological female in there, like an extra dig at trans people.

  11. BLANKENHORN: No. May I add?
    Boies: It is not okay for you to volunteer any information. You can give speeches when your counsel has you.

    THAT was soooo badass! <3

      • yeah, if this were a movie starring ODB, Boies would have totally pimp slapped Blankenhorn…as it should be

  12. wow…

    “You people have kids you don’t mean to, kids you don’t even want, you have kids just to make up for that vacation to Greece you never got to take. We don’t do this, we adopt your kids, the ones you gave away! […] We’re making the institution of marriage something it hasn’t been for decades – something intentional, something that means something, a thing you fight for instead of something you do with your football player boyfriend to commemorate your high school graduation. You want people to fix marriage? Who better to do it than the people who have been sleeping on its cold doorstep for years because they want so badly to be let in? Who will value the experience and sanctify it more than them?”

    reading that made me start crying right here sitting in the iHop (free wifi!)…

    beautifully put.

  13. “You want people to fix marriage? Who better to do it than the people who have been sleeping on its cold doorstep for years because they want so badly to be let in? Who will value the experience and sanctify it more than them?”

    This. Just this. I am so in agreement that I want to tattoo it on my body and write it all over my Facebook. BRB while I do that.

    I love your recaps, Rachel. Thank you.

  14. First of all, love the recap. I’m not going to get anything else done today as I alternate between reading the rest of the series and wiping coffee off of my monitor.

    Secondly, a factual correction:

    Guess what? Gays have the lowest amount of support, with 55% saying that they would vote for a gay candidate who was otherwise well-qualified.

    Not to play dueling victims or anything, but in that poll, gays are second from the bottom, just above atheists.

  15. Blankenhorn sure does talk a lot for someone who doesn’t say much. This recap was wonderful, as usual. Also, I couldn’t stop laughing at this: “Can we take a vote? Does or does not this man collect Precious Moments ceramic dolls in a glass case at home.” LOVE

  16. Pingback: Day 11 of Prop 8 Gay Marriage Trial: Same-Sex Parents Just Don't … | Drakz Free Online Service

  17. I love the slippery slope cartoon! i’m now going to go show it to everyone i know. (by the way, what’s the original source of that cartoon?)

    thanks for another great recap. i’ve been trying my hardest to read the liveblog myself, but whenever i get sick of the blah blah, i come right back over to you, rachel and autostraddle. thank you!

  18. I HATE PROCREATION / ‘FOR THE CHILDREN’ ARGUMENTS SO MUCH. SO SO SO MUCH. I’m annoyed I’m done with my gender/women’s studies classes because all of this is so perfect for discussion.
    Also, Rachel! Thank you for doing this! All I can say is ditto, ditto to absofruitly everything.

  19. Best part of my day, right here. Wonderful recap, as always Rachel!

    Also, I just got back from my Genetics course and he showed a hilarious/awesome comic about people claiming they’ve discovered “the gay gene”. It reminded me of something I would see on Autostraddle. However, as I left class I had the privilege of walking behind a group of students discussing (and I mean seriously discussing) how they found something in the brain that was enlarged in lesbians. And then preceded to talk like Blankenhorn about marriage. Little did they know they had a lesbian walking right behind them who wasn’t afraid to speak her [enlarged] mind. Did I just talk about myself in the third person? I need a nap.

    • Megan, FTW.
      I don’t know about you, but in a way, there’s something amazing about being a lesbian in a conservative environment. Hmm…maybe it’s because I have an excuse to tell people off ALL DAY LONG.

  20. can i just said that when i tried to comment, the name pre-filled out on the form was “betty?”

  21. Ahahaha hoooly shit – I have been LOVING these posts, and I just now figured out that I know you from college! Well, not really “know” so much, but saw you around a bunch. Now I feel all famous! Anyway, you make my day better. :-)

  22. Ok, first off, as someone who has a degree in Anthropology, Levi-Strauss is not exactly the leading anthropologist anymore. Sure he’s important, sure we study him, no he’s not quite as irrelevant as Freud, but maybe quoting studies of him that are pretty frakin’ out of date is a bad idea. This is especially bad when there are more modern studies on what marriage is in different cultures. As we expand our cultural knowledge, we realize that there is no completely cross cultural definition.

    Also, some birds mate for life to produce young, does that qualify them for marriage since it’s all about the children?

    And what about couples who are unable to conceive? Are they not granted the right to marry since they will not be able to have children? Therefore, their marriages might be (shocker) about two consenting adults building a life together and not about the babies.

    Throughout history marriages have occurred to protect power, money, resources, family. Incestuous marriages were quite common in Ancient Egypt because they were part god and had to keep all that godliness and power in the family. These were not for the children. Where is this definition universally accepted?

    For real, if I can break down your argument with a BA, how are you an expert witness? Why on earth would you put incompetent people on the stand if you are trying to up hold legislation? Are you that confidant that God is on your side? It’s kinda like watching Sarah Palin get owned by Katie Couric over and over again.

    Awesome recaps. Thank you!

    • Oh, hey! I am minoring in Anthropology [majoring in Zoology] and I was totally thinking the exact same thing about Levi-Strauss.

      • I know! It’s absolutely ridiculous! You cannot ignore a huge amount of anthropological research to make your point. I would not have passed my thesis defense if I ignored all recent information, and I am by no means an acclaimed expert in my field. Ridiculous!!

  23. Aww, where did my link to the Fandomwank wiki page on “his wife? a horse.” go?

    I was just wondering why people are getting all het up about polygamy. If the idea is “marriage is for the CHILDREN”, and “it takes a whole village to raise a child”, then shouldn’t they approve of the idea of polygamy? Having a whole village for child-rearing and all that.

    ina kuchua kijijie kijima, kumlea mtoto (awimawheya!)
    (and if you understood the above reference, I shall like to talk to you.)

  24. If I had used Blankenhorn’s definition of the word study, “talked to people and read about it. I did not come up with expert findings on those subjects,” when writing my senior thesis (a requirement for graduation) I would have gotten kicked out of college and probably have a better job than I do now.

    That is exactly what I will need when I’m done reading this.

    Why do words that end with T turn into Thompson? I feel like I’m having a terrible whack-a-h8er nightmare.

  26. So…I spend a good portion of my working life scouring the internet for legal happenings of various sorts. Yesterday, I started my search with Google News and “Boston Car Accidents.”

    I expected lots of blogs detailing horrific accidents and occasional articles about changes to laws or policy concerns. And I got some of those. But also on my Search Engine Results Page? This article.

    Now, I love Autostraddle, and certainly I’m happy when it makes surprise appearances in my life. But in this particular case, I’m thinking Google was just a little off the mark.

  27. Having explored this I accepted it was unfathomably useful. I respect both of you or three minutes and energy to add up to this substance. I a little while later wrap up unequivocally contributing a massive pile of energy both surveying and leaving remarks. In any case, so what, it was right now remained mindful of, paying little mind to any trouble!

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