Patt Morrison for June 16, 2010

Gay marriage on trial: closing arguments in landmark Prop. 8 case

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Closing arguments for the Proposition 8 trial, which could overturn the 2008 California ban on gay marriage, will be delivered today in the Northern District Court.

It’s been 5 months since the last piece of evidence was presented in the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but there is still one final act to be made in the landmark case on Proposition 8. This morning lawyers will be making their closing arguments in the case and specifically addressing several questions from Chief District Court Judge Vaughn Walker who gave each side 27 clarifying questions to answer. Judge Vaughn wants lawyers to discuss “choice” in sexual orientation; he asks whether gays and lesbians should be treated identically under the Equal Protection Clause; and he asks the supporters of Prop. 8 how same-sex marriage would have negative social consequences and how it would drastically change marriage as an institution. Even while we discuss the outcome of this case remember that no matter how it’s decided it will be going to the Supreme Court—and should courts or voters be making the ultimate decisions on equal rights?

Guests:

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family.

Geoff Kors, Executive Director for Equality California, a non-profit, non-partisan statewide advocacy organization for LGBT rights; Kors is an attorney who wrote San Francisco’s Equal Benefits Ordinance

Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Director of the Human Rights and Social Movements Program at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School


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