Well, it’s super official now that we are never gonna see this stuff on YouTube. Maybe someone could just put together a bunch of stills of Chauncey, the lawyer guys and etc., to the tune of “I Was Married” and throw it up on YouTube so that if I google “Shane & Carmen” “Prop 8 Trial” I’ll end up stuck in someone’s masturbatory opus to an event I was hoping to see ACTED OUT not IN PICTURES that’s why I am on YouTube duh. Oh where was I, YES THE TRIAL!
Firstly, Dustin Lance Black, who wrote that movie MILK, has some feelings at the Huffington Post, where he says that We Cannot Wait.
Also per ushe, big up to Prop 8 Trial Tracker, who are keeping track of this shit so we can keep track of this shit. And also to bobster1985 from flickr, ’cause sometimes we steal queer vintage photos from his incredible, incredible, super-fantastic collection.
Last Time on “Judgment Daze”: On January 12th, the h8ers got demolished by Nancy Cott and her historical wisdom, who gave the run-down on the herstory of marriage and how the point is not to make babies, Sarah Palin, and how marriage has a history of racism. Yalie genius Chauncey took the stand to look at how Prop 8 is part of a historical trend demonizing gays & lesbians. We took a moment to reflect on Anita Bryant. We felt overall hopeful at the end.
DAY THREE: January 13th, 2010
PART ONE – In Which the H8er Tries to Prove That Everyone Went Crazy Five Years Ago, Homos Are Just a Fad Like Slap Bracelets, Except Different ‘Cause Everyone Loves Us Now, We’re Fine Or Something.
So the questioning of Mr. Chauncey, history professor extraordinaire, resumed first thing in the morning. The h8ers began by trying to show that public opinion about gay people has changed rapidly since 2004, which means I guess that Prop 8 is now borne out of love for homos instead of documented intolerance of them?
They also tried to establish that gay people are SO HIP RIGHT NOW in pop culture, etc. I mean, you saw Queer Eye, right? Who needs rights when you have Shane?
As Paul Hogarth, our fearless liveblog leader of the day, puts it: “Based on the line of questioning, they’re clearly trying to show how “radical” treating same-sex couples equally [is]— that it’s a recent phenomenon. It’s a bit surreal listening to it, because anyone must ask — why is quick change towards acceptance bad thing?” Or an excuse to delay rights? PUMP THE BRAKES. Thompson then asks Chauncey about changing public perceptions at Yale, where he works.
Chauncey: “I would hardly call Yale a bellwether of public opinion in the United States.”
Thompson: “Thank heavens.”
I think Thompson is saying that ’cause of all the liberalism over there at Yale. Just recently I went there and saw a play about Andy Warhol and Valerie Solanis and there was a lot of drugs, homosexuals, tight pants and etc. Very bad for children, and New Haven may seem safe but DON’T WALK ALONE AT NIGHT.
Also, current contender for Why Are They Allowed To Ask That This Shit Is Crazy award of the day: “It is true that Americans believe that homosexuals are more likely to get AIDS than heterosexuals, correct?”
Ok ok ok now shit gets real. As quoted directly from Hogarth’s liveblog: “Now Thompson is getting absurd. He is asking Chauncey a whole line of questioning about how many religious groups and churches support marriage equality, that they are evolving. “ Also, Thompson tries to prove this by showing a video clip of Rick Warren. Um, what. Thompson is trying to collapse the whole really fantastic line of reasoning and relevant history that Chauncey put together yesterday – basically, he is trying to prove that life is not really that hard for queermos, and that we are getting our boyshorts all in a twist about this “discrimination” thing.
Good luck with that one, friend.
Then we start talking about how few homophobic pieces of legislation California has in relation to other states, and don’t a lot of people move to California because they want to be in a less hostile place, and did you know that a lot of California’s best friends are gay? Defo no anti-gay animus here. Does anyone else feel like this is turning into one of those completely absurd episodes of CSI where you can say whatever you want in the courtroom? “CSI Brown, did you find that your GAMBLING PROBLEM interfered with your ability to take these blood samples properly?” No, ok I’ll stop now.
Oh so Exhibit C: What It’s Like in California:
We also talk about civil unions for a while, and Thompson points out the radical queer groups that reject marriage as an institution altogether – trying to prove that there are reasons to oppose gay marriage besides homophobia. This should be a moot point b/c even if these people don’t think marriage is what our community is fighting for, we highly doubt they would vote Yes on DOMA. It’s just an insane line of reasoning.
Mostly this part is really uncomfortable because it kind of feels like airing all our community’s quarrels and divisions in front of Maggie Gallagher while she sits there and takes notes – these are delicate subjects that mean a lot to a lot of people, and it’s frustrating to watch some lawyer who doesn’t understand any of them talk about them so glibly. But Chauncey handles it really well! “The right to marry evolved and became a more widespread and deeply held goal of the gay and lesbian community.” In other news, Thompson is still being an asshole.
Part Two: In Which the h8ers Wanna Be Victims
Thompson wants to tell everyone about how all of his cronies got beat up for supporting Prop 8. In lieu of a big fiesta where all us gay people can share all of our photos from all the times we’ve gotten beat up for supporting our own right to exist or spend time outdoors around other humans, the Judge gives a Hell-to-the-NO on that one. Because really who has time for that kind of slide show. Although I would like if perhaps we could take a Laramie Project lunch break. No? Okay.
h8er: Isn’t it true that some hostility to the LGBT community comes from these attacks on Yes on 8 supporters?
Chauncey: It seems unlikely on the face of it. You would have to bring a compelling case to me. [translation: ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME?]
Part Three: Enter The Mormons
We get to watch a nice movie about Mormons who were horrified that their children were learning about gay people in the schools instead of learning about all the fun stuff Joseph Smith wrote in his book, like that dark skin is a curse from G-d, American Indians are a lost tribe of Israel, the Garden of Eden is in Missouri, G-d lives on a star called Kolab, caffeine is evil, Mormon underwear protects you from Satan, and that Christianity is American. Here’s a look at the PSA under consideration:
h8er: Shouldn’t parents who disapprove of gay marriage request that their kids not have to learn it?
Chauncey: Well — what about if parents disapprove of blacks and whites being together? Should parents be able to prevent their kids from reading about that in public schools? Gay marriage is a fact of life in Massachusetts. If parents have a problem with that, they can send their kids to private school.
THAT’S RIGHT, you tell ’em Chauncey. We couldn’t see this ourselves, but are told that Thompson looked visibly uncomfortable at this point, and WE BELIEVE IT.
Now the ball is back in our court so we are just gonna knock off a few slam dunks real quick here.
Stewart: Does Prop 8 say anything about when sex ed takes place? What parents can teach their kids? What parents can object to in what’s in the schools?
Stewart: Are there fairy tales (childrens books) of men and women falling in love?
Chauncey: Yes, of course.
Stewart: Are heterosexual weddings considered an “adult issue” that children are not exposed to?
Chauncey: No, children are present and even play a role in heterosexual marriages.
Next, the dream team of Stewart and Chauncey give a really solid 10-minute intro to Gay History 101, they could teach a seminar on this, freshmen would love it.
Cliff’s Notes: The first historical evidence of recognizing homosexuality (in the West, I guess?) was in Puritan New England, and y’all know some of those feminist activists in the 1860s were fingerblasting. We talk about the priorities of the early gay rights movement in the 60s and 70s – mostly stopping police raids, fundamental protections against discrimination, and the right to come out without compromising your safety. Getting the medical establishment to stop describing us as sick and deranged, etc.
Also, to bring it all back together, we’re not letting the race comparison go – Stewart has Chauncey confirm that there were black civil rights activists who opposed desegregation (like Malcolm X) to debunk the notion that just because some queers don’t view marriage as a priority doesn’t mean it’s not ethically necessary or morally right. A lot of important stuff established in just a few questions! Go team!
Part 4: The Media is the Message
Ok, remember when we watched Yes on 8 TV spots yesterday to prove that they are part of a longstanding and established tradition of anti-gay stereotypes and sentiment? Today that gets a little more interesting. Stewart wants to talk about Mr. Tam, an official proponent of Proposition 8, and examine the information about it that he disseminated publicly as an example. You may remember that Mr. Tam was supposed to come to court to support this sh*t, but decided not to b/c he said he was gonna get beat up. That’s good, now he can understand how gay teenagers all across the country are afraid to be honest with their parents or go to school.
Thompson objects very strenuously to this, but since apparently he made Chauncey answer questions about Carrie Prejean earlier, it’s allowed? That’s cool. So anyways, Chauncey reads to us from a flyer of Mr. Tam’s which “talks about the right to marry leading to prostitution and having sex with children. And gay marriage is a product of San Francisco government run by homosexuals. ”
Other fun facts from Mr. Tam:
“Part of the gay agenda is legalizing sex with children.”
The education curriculum in Alameda County will “brainwash” children into supporting gay marriage.
“Every child will grow up thinking they can marry John or Jane.”
“Children would benefit the most” if Prop 8 passes, because the children would then have “both sexes” as parents, and kids adopted by gay couples (which will happen if Prop 8 fails) do not have “two genders” as parents.”
So, aside from being hilarious/horrifying, there’s something really important happening here. In keeping with the central point of this case, that Prop 8 passed purely out of anti-gay “animus,” Stewart is proving that a) Yes on 8 intentionally circulated media material that promoted and perpetuated this “animus,” and b) that none of it is true.
After establishing everything above, she asks Chauncey if, “based on your knowledge of history, has there been a gay agenda?” He says that it’s only been used as a term to fuel anti-gay measures.
Next, she has him talk about the intentional erasure of gay history – which is terrible in and of itself, but also ensures that there’s a big empty space that crazy people can fill with lies like this. It’s a really big deal that these things are actually being said in court! Remember watching the Yes on 8 ads, and after you were done bleeding from the eyes, asking yourself why someone couldn’t take them to court for blatantly making sh*t up? Well, someone just did. No one can guarantee it will work, but they are doing a great f*cking job trying to prove that circulating hateful misinformation about gays for your own political ends is morally, ethically, and legally wrong – or at the very least, that they make for unsound laws. It’s about time.
Part 5: IN WHICH OUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE VALIDATED
Now we are going to bring out a new person, she’s a lady named Letishia Pelplau; a social psychologist from UCLA who’s done research work on same-sex couples since the 1970’s. That’s a long time, I bet she knew all the Angels in America.
Letishia Peplau says she is an expert on four issues: (a) marriage brings important benefits, (b) relationships between same-sex and heterosexual couples are similar, (c) gay couples who can marry have the same benefits, (d) gay marriage will not harm heterosexual marriage. BAM.
[UPDATE] 1:57 PM: The US Supreme Court just ruled — no cameras. It was a 5-4 decision. www.scotusblog.com. Sorry!
Anyways, back to Peplau: she’s talking about marriage as a social institution, and talks about how the statistics say it benefits those people who get to participate in it. And then she brings out the studies comparing gay relationships to straight ones – guess what y’all, they’re pretty similar! “Yes, there’s a stereotype is that same-sex relationships are inferior and less stable. But there’s no foundation for it.”
She says that a position paper adopted by the American Psychological Association confirms that “satisfaction, stability and commitment is relatively the same between gay and straight.” Oh! Now Stewart asks her about the commonly held belief that gay relationships don’t last as long, and Peplau says that while there’s no evidence that it’s true, if it was, it could be due to the fact that we’re denied the stabilizing effect of marriage. Swish! Nothing but net, girl!
She also confirms that there’s been no change in divorce rates in Massachusetts since gay marriage passed, and notes that couples there “say they [feel] “less worried” about legal problems.” YEAH I GUESS MAYBE THAT MIGHT BE TRUE.
Also, contender for Most Satisfying Quote of The Day, courtesy of Peplau: “I have a hard time believing that a straight couple is going to say, “Gertrude, we’ve been together for 30 years. But now we have to throw in the towel because Adam and Stewart down the street are getting married.”
PART SIX: Peplau cross-examination
And now it gets really frustrating! The very first thing is the cross-examining attorney getting all uppity and asking if it’s true that most of the studies Peplau quotes have been based on straight marriage and not large sample sizes of gay marriages. MAYBE IF YOU F*CKING LEGALIZED IT, YOU HEARTLESS WITCH, we could do a study!!!! Seriously, was that actually just a mean joke? Asking why we can’t find thousands of gay married couples to survey? Also, it only gets worse from here! Get ready!
“Let’s talk about gay men … Would you agree that the practice of monogamy in gay male relationships is different than in heterosexual relationships?”
Yes. Yes. This is really where we’re going with this. This is really what someone’s law degree is going towards. Trying to get someone to admit in a court of law that gay men are all sashaying sluts in fake leather pants who just want to do cocaine and bang each other til the sun comes up. Okay then, let’s do this.
Cross-examining attorney quotes a 25-year-old study that says “sexual exclusivity” may be “more the exception than the rule” in gay male relationships. That sexual affairs can be a “complement” to a steady relationships.” This was probably conducted by someone who got burned by Brian Kinney and anyhow listen, lady, I bet 25 years ago sexual exclusivity was more the exception than the rule for you too, who knows what you were like in college.
The h8er pressures Peplau to admit it’s “a fact that less gay men believe that monogamy is important,” and then tries to get her to calculate the number of gay couples in Belgium in her head, which is dumb and confusing. Mostly this is all just horribly offensive, not just to gay men (although it definitely, definitely is offensive to them) but also to anyone with a brain.
The defense attorney isn’t really even trying to prove anything, she’s just taking an opportunity to repeat out loud stereotypes about gay men as AIDS-ridden whores so that everyone in the courtroom has that in their head instead of, you know, love. Or marriage. Or human rights. [An official statement from our fearless leader and CEO of Ideas Riese: “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING.”]
Peplau: “There’s no doubt that civil unions have been beneficial to same-sex couples. But they are not equivalent to marriage. And if you’re not allowed to be in the most highly regarded institution in the country, civil unions are not going to be the same. We all know the impact that stigma and second-class has on people, and on relationships. It seems to me that being prevented by the government from being married — is similar to other stigmas we have seen.”
M: We know that 40% of the respondents in the survey said they got married because of “society’s visibility” of gay relationships.
P: Well, they were asked to pick a whole series of choices (and could do more than one.) 93% chose “love.”
PART SEVEN: The Sun Sets on H8
“It’s 4:09 p.m., and the Court has adjourned for the day. What did we learn this afternoon? That when faced with overwhelming evidence on the value of marriage, the stability that married couples bring, that same-sex couples are just as capable of loving each other — that the opposition will sink to start scapegoating gay men, bringing out all the worst stereotypes that we’re promiscuous and spread diseases. It doesn’t matter that they cherry-pick studies that are 25 years old, when practically no one was talking about domestic partnerships — let alone gay marriage. If there was more proof that the motivation behind Prop 8 is animus, the defense proved that once again during their cross-examination.”
–Day 3 Live-Blogging Wrap-Up