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January 27, 2010

Prop 8 trial: defendant witness David Blankenhorn withers under Boies' questioning

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I had to post this release from The  American Foundation for Equal Rights because it gives is another look at the lame — no worse than lame — witness testimony by the anti-gay defense. Why present a completely unqualified, evasive person on the stand as an expert? The Prop 8 forces prove yet again that they have NOTHING as David Boies blows witness David Blankenhorn away. From the release:

Star defendants’ witness David Blankenhorn today was just-barely allowed to testify after he admitted under questioning from David Boies that he does not possess a doctorate; has never taught a college or university class; has only two peer-reviewed publications, none of which are germane to this case; that his masters degree thesis, one of those two publications, focused on two Victorian cabinetmakers; and has never conducted any scientific research on same sex marriage. His cross examination by Boies will start off the morning in court.

Along with undermining his credibility, Blankenhorn’s testimony helped make the plaintiffs’ case.

“I believe homophobia is a real presence in our society,” he testified. “We would be more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than the day before.”

Blankenhorn also testified that allowing gays and lesbians to marry would improve the wellbeing of their households and their children. Among the reasons cited for opposing marriage equality, he testified, was the specter of polygamy and polyamory.

“This is the game that they’re playing,” Ted Olson said. “They define marriage as a man and a woman. They call that the institution of marriage. So if you let a man marry a man and a woman marry a woman, it would de-institutionalize marriage. That is the same as saying you are deinstitutionalizing the right to vote when you let women have it. It’s a game. It’s a tautology. They’re saying, ‘this is the definition. You’re going to change the definition by allowing people access that don’t have it now, and that would change it so that people who currently have access won’t want it any more because it’s changed.’ This is all nonsense. They are not proving that. This is a syllogism that falls apart. The major premise, minor premise and conclusion are empty.”

The day started with Boies continuing his withering cross-examination of the defendants’ witness Prof. Kenneth Miller, who was attempting to make the case that gays and lesbians are not politically vulnerable. Miller testified, however, that Prop. 8 was passed at least in part due to “anti-gay stereotypes” and “prejudice.”

Also entered into the record today was the fact that Miller could not remember whether attorneys defending Prop. 8 provided at least 65 percent of the materials he based his research on, totalling well over 200 documents, articles, etc. Yesterday he admitted his testimony was at least in part based on materials provided to him by the defendants’ attorneys.

Today in court Blankenhorn has derailed so badly, stalling and sulking that Judge Walker admonished him for evasiveness. “You don’t want your demeanor on the stand to be negative factor in testimony,’” and Blankenhorn was seemingly about to break under the questioning, taking off his glasses to wipe his face and saying he needed to “collect his thoughts.” He also asked to consult copy of his own book to help jog his memory to name scholars he’s relied on for his writing.

Just follow the #prop8 Tweets. it’s punishing. And even better than making our case through pitiful testimony, Blankenhorn actually made statements this morning that affirm the need for marriage equality. See those below the fold.

BLANKENHORN ADMISSIONS/Prop. 8 Trial

Defendants’ witness David Blankenhorn this morning made several admissions that bolster the key points of our case:

Marriage is vitally important in American society.Prop. 8 causes grievous harm to gays and lesbians and their childrenProp. 8 perpetrates this harm for no good reason.

He admitted marriage is a “public good” and that marriage would benefit gays and lesbians, their children and society at large.

He also testified (text below as shown on screen):

·         “Gay marriage would extend a wide range of the natural and practical benefits of marriage to many lesbian and gay couples and their children.”

·         “Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples would probably mean that a higher proportion of gays and lesbians would choose to enter into committed relationships.”

·         “Same-sex marriage would likely contribute to more stability and to longer-lasting relationships for committed same-sex couples.”

·         “Same-sex marriage might lead to less sexual promiscuity among lesbians and (perhaps especially) gay men.”

·         “Same-sex marriage would signify greater social acceptance of homosexual love and the worth and validity of same-sex intimate relationships.”

·         “Gay marriage would be a victory for the worthy ideas of tolerance and inclusion. It would likely decrease the number of those in society who tend to be viewed warily as ‘other’ and increase the number who are accepted as part of ‘us.’ In that respect, gay marriage would be a victory for, and another key expansion of, the American idea.”

·         “Gay marriage might contribute over time to a decline in anti-gay prejudice as well as, more specifically, a reduction in anti-gay hate crimes.”

·         “Because marriage is a wealth-creating institution, extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would probably increase wealth accumulation and lead to higher living standards for these couples as well as help reduce welfare costs (by promoting family economic self-sufficiency) and decrease economic inequality.”

·         “Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would probably reduce the proportion of homosexuals who marry persons of the opposite sex, and thus would likely reduce instances of marital unhappiness and divorce.”

·         “By increasing the number of married couples who might be interested in adoption and foster care, same-sex marriage might well lead to fewer children growing up in state institutions and more growing up in loving adoptive and foster families.”


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