BIG NEWS OF THE DAY. The movie is gonna be out really soon! See, you may recall that this whole trial was gonna be on YouTube, which would’ve enabled you to forgo actual reading in favor of sitting on your ass, sucking on pixie sticks/your girlfriend and watching a little video. Or, really, lots of little videos. Anyhow, intrepid filmmaker John Ireland had an idea! He would take the transcripts and make his own damn movie. It’s currently in production, but they’ve released a little sneak peak of what we can expect. I have been anticipating this with a burning desire rivaling only my anticipation of Jim and Pam finally getting together on The Office!
Here it is:
Last Time on Judgment Daze: Mayor Jerry Sanders used to be anti-gay marriage, but then he changed his mind b/c of his cutie lesbian daughter Lisa who means no harm! M.V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D reminded us why we didn’t take econ while making a lot of fantastic! points! About how numbers don’t lie and children are happier when their parents have money honey. The other side took a long time asking a bunch of questions about numbers, also did not take econ, everyone got tired, the end. We learned that even Republicans can still love gay people, you will not melt/die and voting for Prop 8 did in fact make you a homophobe, even if you totally have a neighbor with a lisp and once you collected his mail for him while he was on vacation!
Also, did you know there’s a handy guide available for you to the names & faces of these mofos over at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker? Well, there is.
But I’m a Defense Witness
We begin today with h8er James Campbell, defending The Wrong Side, who clearly woke up on the wrong side of his heterosexual bed this morning. He’s saying that Ryan Kendall, the nice young man who’s come all the way to court today to talk about Anti-Gay Camp, has “irrelevant testimony” as the topic of forced conversion therapy (I’m sorry, “some sort of involuntary forced conversion therapy,” as if they’ve never heard of it before) should be covered by “an expert or not at all” and that his testimony isn’t more relevant than if the defendants found a person who could say they had a “positive” experience (translation: sufficiently brainwashed).
Campbell says a doctor told him that Kendall’s not reliable ’cause emotions and memories change. The Judge points out, “isn’t this an issue that the proponents themselves have raised in opening the case?” and then reads the guy his own opening deposition, the Judge wins, we all get to hear from dear Ryan. The h8er gives us a sneak preview by letting us know that “Bottom line, sexual orientation DOES change,” and he’s going to prove it. Hokay, good luck with that one!
We’re starting out pretty fabulously with a video of a dude who was apparently supposed to be a DEFENSE witness (translation: h8er) but dropped out, probably because all of his testimony would have been like this:
Boies: Does the Catholic Church today say that homosexuality is immoral?
h8er: Yes. They say it is immoral and outside of the order of God. That’s what the Catholic Church teaches.
Boies: How does it describe homosexual behavior?
Boies: As a perversion, abomination, deviant behavior and a manifestation of a depraved nature?
Boies: What is the proportion of those who voted yes on Prop. 8 who were motivated by religious reasons?
h8er: About half.
Boies: Would you agree that over the past fifty years, religion and society have been hostile to homosexuals? And that this has led to discrimination and violence against homosexuals?
h8er: Yes to all.
We could go on, but really, why would we need to? You’ve seen Boys Don’t Cry. We are, I think, watching the video of another defense witness, Dr. Young (where did the conversion therapy guy go? anyone? whatever) (TOO BAD WE DON’T HAVE THE VIDEO) who actually gives a fairly decent little rundown of cultural attitudes towards gays all over the world, mentioning India’s hijra community, the Verdash in certain American Indian tribes, and small communities of lesbians among Chinese silk workers. After I’m done here, I’m going to move to that community and make some silk.
This is super interesting, but I am a little confused about why we are talking about it instead of conversion therapy/marriage/stuff relating to this trial. We confirm the existence and definition of the term “gay bashing,” which I suppose for some people is news, and then we go ahead and establish some more basic facts about gay people and their marriages:
Boies: Are children advantaged by increasing the durability of the relationship of the couple raising them?
Boies: Is durability for gay people enhanced by allowing them to marry?
Boies: Is increasing the durability of gay couples’ relationship beneficial to children?
Boies: Is it the case that love and commitment are the reasons that most people give for wanting to get married?
Young: Today, probably yes.
Ok, I’m just going to say this – if the central argument of this trial is that there is no rational basis for denying our right to marry and the only possible foundation for this decision is anti-gay animus (and, um, it is) – we should just be done now. I get it, you get it, we all get it, we’re ready for the DVD extras. Like, I’m done, I’m ready to wrap this up. Even the defense’s own expert witnesses are aware that this is in fact fine, there is really no problem here, we can all just go home? Does this seem crazy to anyone else?
Well, not as crazy as things are about to get!!!
On Not Praying the Gay Away
The man of the hour is here! Ryan Kendall grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was born in 1983, which means he is young and therefore He went to an Evangelical Christian Academy (ECA). [Remembers] parents talking about homosexuals being evil and seeking special rights. “I did not know what it was, but I was scared by [the] term.” When asked his sexual orientation, he declares “I am a gay man!” Yes you are!
We don’t have a picture of him, so we decided to cast our own little movie.
Some fun background info from Ry-Ry:
“I always knew I was different. I looked up the word when I was about 12 and I knew it was me, but I kept it a secret ’cause I was scared. Boys called me names in seventh grade: homo, faggot, queer or just gay. I wore glasses. They played monkey in the middle or keep away until they broke my glasses… I hated to go to school. I remember getting in the car crying and telling my parents what was going on. They took me out of that school. When I was 13, I wrote to myself that I was gay, and my parents found it and they read it. They flipped out, they were very upset, yelling at me. I don’t remember a lot of what they said, but it was pretty scary the level of their reaction. I remember my mother telling me I was going to burn in hell.“
See, defense, this is why it’s relevant. Because this is how bad it gets!
Ryan also talks about his first experiences with Christian conversion therapy and a therapist he went to a few times when he was 13. If you think this sounds like a special guest episode of We Have to Stop Now, you’re wrong! It’s WAY worse. Apparently, Ryan’s therapist told him homosexuality was “inconsistent” with church teachings, and that his parents thought it was bad.
“Therapy did not make me feel better. I was always a good kid and I wanted to make my parents proud. Suddenly, they took me to this guy who told me I was a bad person and my parents said I was a bad person. I felt terrible. The therapy did not work. I was still gay.“
Well, there goes redemption, Ryan! Prepare your gay feet for hellfire!
Surprisingly, Kendall did not find conversion therapy to be a positive experience. If this part of the trial is about proving the relationship between religion and anti-gay sentiment, I’d say it’s pretty f*cking effective.
And the beat goes on:
“My mother told me she hated me, that I was disgusting, repulsive. She wished she’d had an abortion rather than having a gay son. She said she wished I’d had Down’s syndrome or been born retarded.”
That is kind of a really strange thing to say, right?
Kendall turned himself in to a state social worker when he was sixteen, afraid he would kill himself if he wasn’t taken out of the combination of abusive home environment/crazy-talk gay camp. After years of struggles with drugs and keeping himself alive by going to the emergency room when his healthcare ran out, he’s finally found himself a solid job, and is more or less back on his feet. What does he get for all this? Cross-examined by a homophobe!
The cross-examination is mostly this weak-ass shit where the h8er tries to get Kendall to admit that the only reason therapy didn’t work on him was that he went “unwillingly,” and that if he had wanted to change it would have worked, like a gay lightbulb. Kendall isn’t trying to hear that.
“During the group session, Nicolosi introduced us to a guy named Kelly who claimed to be cured. When Nicolosi stepped out of the room, Kelly told me he was going to a gay bar that night, that he was just pretending for his family and therapy.“
I hope Kelly’s mom doesn’t read this! Anyways, the h8er has clearly got nothing, I feel so good about this! Like that scene in But I’m A Cheerleader where they’re going through the obstacle course or whatever and the two gay boys hold hands, you know the one. Don’t stop believing.
Why not? Because we have the internet, where a simple search for “But I’m a Cheerleader” can garner you this fabulous comic from a girl who makes comics:
Like School BUT BETTER
Now we’re examining Dr. Segura, who was at Stanford for 18 months at Stanford Center for American Democracy. He describes himself as “a student of political representation… [I] look at mass opinions and actions in society, see how they subsequently connect to policy makers.” He’s being submitted as an expert witness on “political power and powerlessness of gays and lesbians.” I would totally take that seminar! This is going to be great! His main points are:
1. Gays and lesbians are not able to protect their interests because they do not possess meaningful political power.
2. They are not subject to political exclusion and suffer political disabilities greater than other groups that have received suspect class protection.
3. The opinions of the Proponents expert Dr. Kenneth Miller are fundamentally flawed and incorrect.
Basically, this section is going to be where We Talk About The Majority Voting On The Rights Of The Minority, so sit up, get some coffee, take notes, this is important. We’re going all the way back to Madison in the Federalist Papers, and it turns out even he was concerned about “factions,” or a lack of plurality leading to one group making unfair majority decisions. “[It’s] certain that society responds to majority rule, but there are limitations, such as a majority having the power to take voting rights away from a minority.”
Remember this for the next time your Stars ‘n’ Bars uncle is talking shit at the dinner table about how “the founding fathers wanted marriage to be between one man and one woman, in God we trust, etc.” Oh hell no! Madison wanted you to stay the f*ck home and not vote on my marriage!
He brings up Annise Parker (good move, they were probably going to talk about that in cross) —
— and the terrible irony that even though she was democratically elected mayor of Houston as an out lesbian, she was also democratically denied marriage rights, so now the mayor herself can’t marry her partner of 19 years! How’s that for summing up our community’s complicated relationship to the political machine?
Okay this is the part where he says a lot of stuff that is really good to hear said like this and that you maybe haven’t even already heard before…
According to Segura, the most important measure for determining a group’s political power is to look at markers that are important for that group and how well represented they are in the country’s laws. For instance, did you know that there have been no new protection or hate crime laws in Wyoming since Matthew Shepard’s murder? I would say that’s a marker that’s pretty f*cking important to us. Wondering what else we don’t have?
“No federal level housing and employment anti discrimination.
No federal level protection except for hate crimes.
Gays and lesbians are excluded from the military.
Gays and lesbians are prevented by DOMA from getting federal benefits/protections.
Eisenhower started the policy of overt discrimination which was only lifted in the 70’s. Well.
At the same time, though, he points out that we can’t necessarily look at anti-discrimination laws as markers of political power – because you know what? They’re in response to systemic discrimination.
“[There is] no group in American society, including undocumented aliens who are a distant second, that has been targeted by [more] ballot measures than [gays and lesbians]. Since 1970s, over 200. We lost 70%, we lost all same sex marriage initiatives.”
This is, um, way more depressing than I thought it would be. Ready for more? “500th of 1% of local officeholders are gay. 1% of legislators are gay. Only 6 in history have ever served in Congress (openly) and only four ever elected as openly gay. Effect is that without g and l at legislative table, voice is not there. ”
I know I know I know this is really upsetting, but here is what I think is the point: Segura is saying that we have so little voice and so little power in the political system that determines what happens in our lives that passing laws like Proposition 8 are like clubbing a baby seal.
He’s making a pretty compelling point that if a large group of straight people decided to pass a bill saying queers can only transport themselves in Amish-style buggies wearing space suits made out of tinfoil, we would have no way to stop it – and I don’t know a lot about the law, but honestly, how is that fair? Isn’t that something we’re supposed to, like, care about in the Home Of The Free and Land Of The Brave? Or, as Segura puts it:
“By not having [gays and lesbians] present in legislature, people can say amazing stuff. Coburn says that gays and lesbians are the greatest threat to American civilization today. Some public officials have compared gay marriage to marrying a box turtle. Cannot imagine any other group that receives such animus in public. When someone in position of authority communicates that this is okay. When two US senators compare gay marriage to bestiality, that is not the fringe, that is the US senate.“
Ohmigod guys, this is so good, srsly just go read it yourself. He’s basically making a fantastic case that queers are like the tiny helpless baby otter being loomed over by the giant evil oil tanker of America – we are so sad and so adorable, why would you ever not let us have weddings?
A few of his points:
+ Obama doesn’t do shit for us
+ On a scale of 1-100, America’s feelings about us were barely a 49, that is a failing grade
+ He says that “Hispanics and African-Americans are held in higher esteem than homosexuals.” That’s not to play a bullshit game of Oppression Olympics, but to say that hey, Latinos and black people have it pretty f*cking hard in America, and to be viewed even more negatively than that is a pretty bad place to be!
+ Religion is probably “the most powerful institution in America,” and he “can’t think of any other group that has such round hatred from religious groups.”
OH SHIT, now he talks about class issues and Will & Grace AT THE SAME TIME:
“The public sees only gays and lesbians in larger cities. The public thinks that all gay men have advanced degrees. But people who are in the closet are likely to be lower status. The public has a misperception of the level of treatment of gays and lesbian, they don’t realize that not every gay man is Will from Will and Grace. Will is an attorney in New York with a large apartment. When people see this, they think gays don’t need protection. It makes public less sympathetic and makes public view numbers of gays and lesbians as smaller, which diminishes their political power.“
Not only are we not attorneys in New York with large apartments, we are mostly not employed at all right now. I guess I’ve never thought of it that way; after all, not all straight people are like Gossip Girl. But I guess that’s what Roseanne is for.
Anyhow um, HELL YES. This man is a golden god. He brings it back to Prop 8 by talking about the “At school today they told me I could marry a princess!” ad. Remember?
and confirms that Proposition 8 only contributed to the mind-boggling amount of tough shit that gays clearly already have to deal with. And oh man, are you ready for this? You’re not ready for this, I don’t think you’re ready for this:
THEY JUST PUT UP A BUNCH OF SLIDES ABOUT THE LDS CHURCH WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE MORMONS NOW FINALLY Segura is saying in court, under oath, as an expert witness, everything that we already knew- that the LDS administration wrote to California Mormon leaders telling them to support Prop 8, that the “LDS church was very active not just on the financial side, but on the grass roots side,” and that the breadth and strength of this organization meant that the queers were completely outmatched. Apparently there was a “rapid response team” of pastors, maybe Mormon ones? And our lawyers are going to get them all up in court! Lunch break first, though, brb.
The Catholic Church Has a Lot of Money
OK LUNCH BREAK IS OVER now we’re looking at a “correspondence” from the Catholic Conference of Bishops, I guess lots of stuff is blacked out like we are in Catch-22 or WWII Germany or something. An excerpt:
“The CCC has played a substantial role in inviting Catholic faithful to put their faith in action by volunteering and donating. Les by the Knights of Columbus national donation of $1.5 million, other million dollar donors, and the countless major donor and with a significant percentage of the 90,000 online donors, the Catholic community has stepped up. Of course this campaign owes an enormous debt to the LDS Church. I will comment specifically at a later time (under separate cover) about their financial, organizational and management contributions to this success of this effort.“
Um, yes, please do. We look at some more documents that prove that the main funding to put Prop 8 on the ballot was from Auxiliary Bishop Corleone, and other Catholics, and Segura says that he’s “never seen a coalition of this sort arrayed against a minority group.”
Doesn’t the Catholic Church have, like, entire cathedrals made out of gold and stuff? Yeah, this was not a fair fight. There’s apparently a super top secret 007 document that they want to read out loud, but the h8ers are objecting all over the place – oh, maybe because this document says that “if [public figures] did not give the same amount of money to yes on 8 as they gave to no on 8, Janssen would publish ads about their lack of support for families.”
Yeah, I wouldn’t want anyone to read that about me either. This is getting pretty ridiculous – the h8ers say this evidence is inadmissible because Janssen was once a member of the LDS church, and that someone else should be left out of the court case entirely because they are “protected” – I feel like this guy is a member of the Straight Mafia – and fortunately, the judge isn’t having any of it. “This was a public campaign, out in the open. The people who were out front on it inevitably subject themselves to public scrutiny and to litigation that follows.” And now it’s clear why they didn’t want this evidence admitted, because it is all about the LDS church and how they hate us!
The Mormons Did It?
Although it generally appears (or was made to appear) that the yes-on-8 movement was orchestrated by the Catholic Church, these documents say that it was “customary within LDS for volunteers to be approached for support, but here it appears that there is an LDS volunteer in every zip code which is an enviable political organization,” and that “Brother Jansen said LDS not to take lead, but to work through Protect Marriage. SLC had a teleconference with 159 of 161 stake leaders in CA. Goal is $5 million at $30 minimum donation per head.” Oh shit, son!
Segura sums up by saying that both these religious organizations are being “cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that the church is directly involved. We might look at religious belief as source of opposition and think that some folks would vote their religious conscience, but we would not know that this sort of direct church power is engaged. I’ve never seen this level of coordination in a political campaign.”
Also, OMG, can someone set these h8ers straight? This is getting ridiculous, and clearly the judge feels the same way.
Pugno: I object because the document will be revealing.
Judge: Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.
We talk for a while about the plight of queers as opposed to other groups (mainly women in the 1970s and black people in America) which honestly makes me a little nervous because do we have to make this a contest, but I see his point, and it’s an important one.
A major tenet of the h8er’s argument has been that we’re making up all this stuff about “stigma” and “discrimination” and “homophobia” and “I was stabbed in the eye outside a gay bar,” because it’s not really that bad, and anti-gay sentiment doesn’t really exist, so we can be done with this trial and go home to our heteronormative families now. It turns out, though, that things are actually pretty f*cking bad! So!
It’s time for the cross now, and so far it is just more of the same. Did you donate to No on 8? Yes. Is the definition of “gay” complicated? Yes.
It gets more interesting when the h8er tries to push him into a concrete definition of “political power” – have you ever tried doing that? Defining “power?” Try it now, but make sure you sit down first. Basically Thompson the h8er is trying to define “power” in this context as “ever having been granted a civil right, ever” – yes it’s true there is a gay speaker-elect, yes we have domestic partnerships in some states, yes it’s true that California grants many same-sex protections. He asks variations of this literally dozens of times.
Listen, I’m sorry, can I interrupt for a minute?
Pakistan has had a female prime minister – Benazir Bhutto ruled an entire country from 1988-1990 and then a second time from 1993-1996. Would you say women as a group have a lot of political power in Pakistan, or in Southeast/Central Asia? I’m just wondering.
OMG this is so frustrating, YES it might be true that HRC makes more money than the NAACP, maybe that just means we should donate more to the NAACP. When was the last time you donated to the NAACP, Thompson? Yeah, that’s what I thought. He’s saying that HRC has money because gays are wealthy and well-off – could it possibly be that HRC is getting a lot of donations because we are desperate, and some of us are willing to buy the store-brand breakfast cereal so that someday our children can be treated like human beings?
This goes on for a really long time, with Thompson saying that the fact that there was a letter-writing campaign to end the HIV travel ban is proof that we are part of a vast secret cabal that actually controls Washington. I don’t know, this isn’t worth reading. Can we have another lunch break?
Oh Lord HAHAHA he is now playing Obama’s speech at the HRC event to try to prove that Obama Is Our Friend. Let me tell you, we have already had some feelings about that, friend. We are all over that one. Other gems from this cross-section: “There are some problems with the definition on “bisexual.” “…newspapers are too fond of the word “ferverent,” and also this:
Thompson: Let’s talk about violence?
Segura: It’s usually frowned upon.
I wish they would play Lady Gaga’s HRC performance ’cause it would be more relevant. Well I will play it for you:
This whole thing is so bizarre! The opposition is naming every piece of gay legislation that has ever passed one by one to try to prove we don’t live a hard-knock life, and while it’s frustrating it’s also oddly reassuring after Segura’s kind of bleak assessment of things.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW I FEEL.
Did you know that UNITE HERE gave $100,000 to No on 8? Did you know that they represent “hotel and restaurant workers as well as needle trades?” You learn something new every day, I have no idea what is going on. Oh man he just tried to name a pro-equality Latino mayor to try to prove that every ethnicity ever is down with the homos, but he had to stop and ask Segura how to pronounce “Villaraigosa,” this is hilarious.
Wait, I think maybe that was it? Was that it? This next part is unclear, I am not sure what is happening. I think maybe they are going to finish cross-examining Segura tomorrow? Or maybe this was our last day of hearing inspiring/hilarious/awesome testimony from queers and their allies, maybe tomorrow it’s the h8ers turn?
The big exciting news is that I guess the illustrious Dr. Tam is in fact going to go on, we can ask him where he got his data on gay child prostitution! GET EXCITED. GOODNIGHT. WE LOVE YOU.