Today, the big federal marriage case in California, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, begins. In a San Francisco courtroom, ideological opposites David Boies (liberal) and Ted Olson (conservative) will team up to overturn the insidious Proposition 8. So far, they have made a persuasive case in the media, pointing out that:
a) Same-sex marriage does not harm heterosexual marriages.
b) The procreation argument does not hold up and allowing people to marry the same sex does not limit population. People marry for a variety of reasons, not necessarily to create an extended family. It is interesting that our opponents never bring into the procreation argument hetero older married couples or younger married couples who are unable to have or choose not to have children. Why do they not have the same problem with those marriages as they do with GLBT marriages.
c) The current prohibition is discriminatory, fueled by animus and exacts harm on LGBT individuals and their families.
d) The only argument that supporters of Proposition really have is that such discrimination is part of our tradition. Boies and Olson have articulated in eloquent fashion that just because a tradition has gone on for a long time does not make it right or just. They point to discrimination against Jews, interracial couples and women – all of which had gone on (and continues to) for centuries. As I have pointed out in the past, there is a difference between “traditional values” and “valueless traditions.”
To win Proposition 8, our opponents resorted to fear tactics and outright lies using despicable, negative attack ads. Without this fear-mongering tool to trick the masses, our foes are realizing they may not do well in court. They understand that they have no rational arguments and that they are intellectually bankrupt.
To make up for this coherency deficit, Proposition 8 supporters are claiming “bias” because the trial is opening in San Francisco. Interestingly, these whiners had no problem claiming home field advantage when the our marriages were put up for a vote in ultra-conservative states. One might call having places like Arkansas, Kentucky and Alabama changing their state constitutions to prohibit gay couples from marrying a gratuitous and cowardly act of bullying by a majority. So, I really don’t want to hear about the trial being held in San Francisco. Wing nuts must realize that they can’t always have all the advantages.
Social conservatives are also regurgitating the lie that because the trial will be filmed and made available on the Internet, it may cause potential harm to witnesses.
“To top it all off, Judge Walker has determined that this case will be the first in the Ninth Circuit to allow cameras in the courtroom, with the proceedings posted on YouTube” writes Edwin Meese III in today’s New York Times. “This will expose supporters of Proposition 8 who appear in the courtroom to the type of vandalism, harassment and bullying attacks already used by some of those who oppose the proposition.”
Of course, this is hogwash. Perhaps, Meese confused the “plight” of these witnesses with another Times story today discussing the opening of Scott Roeder’s trial – the religious zealot who murdered Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in his church. However, opponents of Proposition 8 have never displayed the violence committed by religious extremists, as much as the Prop 8 supporters try to make it appear to be true. (Even today there is a “debate” over whether killing Tiller was morally justified)
In reality, all that was ever hurt were the feelings of Prop 8 supporters who were rightfully confronted by their neighbors who asked: “Why did you vote to take away my rights? Why did you leave our children in limbo without married parents?”
The truth is, Proposition 8 supporters do not want this trial televised because deep down they are ashamed by their own bigotry. They are allergic to the TV lights, because it will expose their inner-darkness. I really don’t blame them for not wanting their views exposed to a national audience. Not only will it look like they formed their discriminatory ideas with their heads in their posterior, but they will look quite awful for posterity. They realize, on some level, that history will not judge them well. Their grandchildren will regard them with great embarrassment and shame.
I wish Boies and Olson much luck and Truth Wins Out thanks them for the strong case they have made so far. They have undeniably shown that LGBT equality is not a liberal or conservative issue – but an American one. This trial is about the values of our nation, who we are and will we live up to our creed of liberty and justice for all people.