Friday, January 22, 2010

More from Prop 8 Trial Tracker: The truth that will set us free

Our friends live-blogging the Prop 8 trial are doing an amazing job of bringing what's going on inside the federal courtroom to those of us outside. While not the same as the televised coverage we'd hoped to have, their detailed, comprehensive record of the testimony is an extraordinary gift to everyone watching this trial as an historic legal defense of equal protection for ALL Americans.

This morning's post made this important contextual point:
From before this trial even began, the Prop 8 legal team has publicly said that they think the trial court’s decision is meaningless. And that may well be. Even if Judge Walker strikes down Prop 8, the order would probably be stayed pending appellate review. The trial is just the first step. It sets up the record going forward, and allows appellate judges to get a feeling for the credibility of the witnesses.
So -- just for fun -- let's take a look at the credibility of one of the witnesses. This is testimony from yesterday's witness: William Tam -- a Prop 8 architect and opponent of marriage equality. (Tam is being questioned by attorney David Boies. Analysis is by Prop 8 Tracker blogger Brian Leubitz.)

Boies: You said that you thought Prop. 8 would lead to legalizing prostitution. Why?
Tam: Measure K in SF. I saw some homosexuals hanging around there.
B: You know that Measure K has nothing to do with Prop. 8.
T: Yes.

So, his first argument was that he saw some homosexuals hanging around San Francisco’s Prop K, a poorly drafted attempt to decriminalize prostitution. Not that all people who supported Prop 8 supported Prop K, or vice versa. Just that he saw some homosexuals hanging around it. Well, as somebody intricately involved in San Francisco politics, I can assure you that many in the LGBT community opposed Prop K, including elected leaders and much of the community. Prop K had nothing, whatsoever, to do with the LGBT community or Prop 8, and Tam acknowledges that. By the way, Prop K lost by a wide margin, even in a city that Tam said was “controlled by homosexuals.”

But that line in the gay agenda that Tam thrusts upon the community pales in comparison to the offensive claim that tops off Tam’s flyer.

B: You told people that next will be legalizing sex with children. That’s the homosexual agenda. Do you believe this?
T: Yes.
T: Asks and B gives permission to talk. “I’m afraid of the liberal trend. Canada and Europe are liberal and they allow age of consent 13 or 14 and children can have sex with adults and each other.”)
B: You did not mention age of consent in the fourteen words you wrote?
T: No.
B: Age of consent has nothing to do with this [But Tam admitted that he told people that’s what would happen if 8 lost.] Age of consent did not change because of passage of ss marriage in Canada or Europe, right?
T: Canada right. I cannot say about Europe.

But this is more than merely patently offensive, it is just plain factually incorrect. And it takes just a few moments of Googling (or binging, whichever you prefer) to figure that one out. Same-sex marriage became the law of the land in Canada in 2005. At the time, the age of consent in Canada was, in fact, 14 years. However, in 2008, while same-sex marriage was legal in Canada, the age of consent was raised to 16. By Tam’s logic, he should be arguing that it is clear that the gay agenda includes an item of increasing the age of consent.

But, of course, the problem with Tam is his rejection of logic. He uses innuendo and vague emotional statements about the welfare of children, and then depends on the website of NARTH, an ex-gay group condemned by mainstream mental health professionals, over accredited, peer-reviewed scientific studies from real professionals. This has nothing to do with what is going on in the real world, but what is going on in a few small minds.


Exactly. And I am totally saving that last sentence for future reference. Let's hear it again for emphasis:

"This has nothing to do with what is going on in the real world, but what is going on in a few small minds."
The one thing I'm noticing in the reactions to the trial testimony across the board in blog comments, twitter responses and other venues is a sort of systemic naiveté at just how inane, ridiculous and utterly-without-foundation-in-fact the "facts" from the other side actually are.

This is not a surprise to many of us who have been doing this work for lo-these-many-years within the church ... is a huge revelation to many of those hearing the essence of the arguments for the first time and realizing that this has NOTHING to do with "protecting families" and everything to do with perpetuating ignorance and bigotry.

Which is why it's so important that what's going on in San Francisco reach as wide an audience as possible.

Remember John 8:32 ... "The truth will set you free." The truth is being told in the 9th District Federal Court at this very moment. Stay tuned. Pay attention. And then let's go and do likewise.

And now ... since today is my day off and I can ... I'm going back to Trial Tracker to see what's going on. At last glance, the issue was whether homosexuality is a "disorder" and whether sexual orientation is matter of "choice." On the stand is psychologist Dr. Gregory Hererk ... being questioned about the decision in the 70's by American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its "pathological" list.

Judge: What led to the change?
Hererk: That’s a long story.
Judge: Well, we’re here for a while.

Yes. Yes we are. For as long as it takes.


IT said...

The whole thing is making me sick. Now they are obsessing with whether people change, with whether people who come out later in life are sufficiently GLBT because they had hetero relationships. Why not ask whether self-identifying heteros who have had same sex experiences are sufficiently straight?

And if marriage is marriage is doesn't really matter if you were married to a man, divorce, and then remarry a woman. It's no different than if you were married to a man, divorce, and marry another man. The only time the "definition" matters is if you want to deprive someone of fullparticipation.

It's all circular. It's all dizzying. It makes me physically ill.


And at the end of the day the case that's being made is NONE OF THIS IS GERMANE to whether same sex couples are entitled to the same equal protection as opposite sex couples.

Maybe I've been "vaccinated" by all the years of putting up with this crap in church debates ... I'm at the point where I figure there more ignorant and "dizzying" their arguments are the brighter the light we should shine on them.

Then we photoshop their logo from "Protect Marriage" to "Protect Ignorant Bigotry" and see how they do on the fundraising.

(Just a thought.)

Malcolm+ said...

Strictly speaking, the increase in the age of consent in Canada is completely unrelated to the legalization of equal marriage.

It should, perhaps, be noted that the Conservative government which raised the age of consent is the same one which permitted a free vote on redefining marriage as a man and a woman. However, the number of Liberal (and Bloc Quebecois) MPs who voted to move backwards were outnumbered by the Conservative MPs who voted to stay the course. Only one party voted 100% for equal marriage - the social democratic Ndew Democrats.

On the age of consent, there were good public policy arguments on both sides of the issue, but one positive aspect is that the age of consent is now consistent reghardless of the sexual act involved. Previously, the age of consent was 14 for heterosexual acts and 18 for homosexual acts. The new legislation also retained the "close in age" exemption (ie, if a 16 year old has sex with a 15 year old, the 16 year old is not a criminal). It also retained the proviso that the age of consent is 18 in certain circumstances - ie, if the older person is in a position of authority (boss, parent, police officer, priest) or where the sexual contact is prostitution.

PseudoPiskie said...

When you can't win with facts, overwhelm the judge with repetition. Just like those who lie over and over until the teabaggers believe it. I don't think this judge is that naive.