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'Brokeback Mountain' becomes issue in Prop. 8 hearing

A lawyer for the Proposition 8 campaign tried to show today that gays and lesbians now enjoy significant political and public support and have been portrayed positively in such films as "Brokeback Mountain."

David H. Thompson, representing the sponsors of the 2008 ballot initiative, cross-examined George Chauncey, a Yale University history professor who testified Tuesday that there has been a long and dark history of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the U.S.

Thompson got Chauncey to acknowledge that many employers now ban discrimination against gays, the federal government now employs openly gay officials, many churches condemn anti-gay discrimination and the entertainment industry now produces shows that portray gays and lesbians positively.

"The bottom line is that there has been a significant shift in public opinion toward acceptance of gay rights, correct?" Thompson asked during the third day of a federal trial over the constitutionality of California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage

“There has been a shift in public opinion,” Chauncey agreed, but he added that gays continue to encounter “hostility.” The history and amount of discrimination against gays and lesbians is important legally because it goes to the question how much protection they need under the federal Constitution.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

 
Comments () | Archives (28)

Didn't one of the gay characters get beaten to death in Brokeback? Maybe this movie isn't the best analogy....

I don't think Brokeback Mountain portrayed gays well. It had two totally-closeted guys who had to sneak off to see each other. Both were married to women and had kids so they were attempting to appear straight. One of the guys was beaten to death in a scene that reminded me of the Mathew Shepard murder. Another guy was shown beaten to death and we were led to believe he was maimed. The movie was an angst-fest, though the scenery was great. If anything, the movie showed the persecution of gays.

You'd think the passage of Prop 8 would, in and of itself, demonstrate that hostility against gays and lesbians continues in the USA.

Have the anti-gay folk seen Brokeback?
One of the leads get killed after being horribly beaten up and teh other guy cheats on his wife because society doesn't approve of gays so he has to have sex on teh down low.

Yes – such a positive portrayal in that film – two characters forced to live a lie and to be tortured by internalized homophobia, and then one murdered in a senseless gay bashing attack by his own family. That is so uplifting! NOT

One of the leads gets killed so I don't see how that shows gay acceptance. And that is just a movie. There is tons of evidence of people being murdered or maimed (including children) for being gay...

Oh yes -- gays are now completely accepted in all parts of society and have exactly the same rights as everybody else, as "Brokeback Mountain" testifies?
If that's true, why can't gays get married -- what difference would it make to anybody who isn't gay?
If that's true, why are a tiny handful of passages in the Bible quoted so often by religious people who oppose homosexuality?
If that's true, why did Larry Craig lose his Senate seat?
And if that's true, why does the U. S. military still retain "don't ask, don't tell" if "telling" carries no negative connotations?
Wake up to reality!

We Equality Proponants certainly are getting more of our money worth from our lawyers than the Pro 8 forces are getting from theirs.

One could see them arguing against the Civil Rights act by opining that African Americans have gained acceptance because they are featured in "Birth of a Nation."

How many theaters refused to show the movie?

Someone please tell me how acceptance in film and books has ANYTHING to do with survivor's benefits, inheritance, ability to visit in hospitals as a FAMILY member, etc.

This is quite possibly the most inane legal argument in the history of the legal system. The lawyer that used it should be disbarred for incompetence. Seriously.

A movie featuring closeted gay men (that had to hide their sexual orientation) proves that there is public support for gays? Wow. If this is their best argument, they've already lost the case.

excuse me but...hit it on the head! did he not watch the movie. it isn't exactly a fairytale romance with a happy ending!!

I don't understand the basics of this logic to begin with. Am I to understand that if the Federal Government gives a few of us some jobs, they make a movie about us and a couple of churches think it's wrong to beat and kill us, that is enough and we don't deserve any other rights or anything coming close to equality? I hope these guys haven't seen roots!

I believe that prop 8 was wrong, but I do believe it's a state's right issue.

Gays and Lesbians do have the right to marry someone of the OPPOSITE sex,
they just don't want to. I'd like to marry super model, but that's not all that
likely to happen.

If people should be able to marry for love, then why can't people related to
each other or multiple partners?

For those that think that marriage between gays is wrong because of their
personal beliefs, what about people of different faiths? Why should your
views override theirs?

Why do you have to be married for hospital rights? I thought you got that just by being emergency contact, etc. People make allowances for family, but most hospitals won't respect a legal claim unless it's spelled out their papers, not just a Marriage License.

And survivor benefits and inheritance is through a will. I don't get a dime unless I'm named benefactor. I thought Civil Union and Marriage is supposed to be more than about money.

Richard wrote: "Gays and Lesbians do have the right to marry someone of the OPPOSITE sex, they just don't want to."

What utter nonsense. That assumes that everyone's sexual orientation is the same. Obviously it's not. Sixty years ago people said, "Why can't black people marry someone of the same race, they just don't want to. They have the same rights that I have."

"If people should be able to marry for love, then why can't people related to
each other or multiple partners?"

That's called inbreeding and polygamy. If you want to fight for those rights, be my guest. No one on either side of Prop. 8 cares. This has more to do with treating a 'class' of people differently (withholding the right to marry) because of their sexuality. Please explain why religion (which is a choice) is a protected class, but a person's sexual orientation (not a choice) isn't.

If anything, this should help the anti-Prop 8 people. Since gay people are becoming more accepted, then there is less reason to deny rights based on sexual orientation.

wasn't that a movie, ie: not real but a story - how'd that wind up as evidence in a trial?

2 cents: supposedly, the very fact that a movie about gay people did well means that gay people in real life are not treated as inferior to everyone else.

Xenophobia against LGBT is a mental disease..where is that prozac for the sick people.

Yes, a gay-themed movie was made. And how many religious right groups attacked it? It's not like gays see a break from the hostility.

"I'd like to marry super model, but that's not all that
likely to happen."

You have every right to marry a super model, your problem is that none will consent to marry you. Whereas plenty of gay people actually have same sex partners that want to marry them.

@Richard: You wrote that you, "believe that prop 8 ... it's a state's right issue."

Not any more it isn't. If is ever was something that could have been considered a state's rights issue, that would have ended in 1868 with the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The relevant sentence of the 14th Amendment is as follows: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Clear text that says "no state" may deny equal protection of the laws to people in those states. It's not a state's rights issue. It is a matter of Federal Constitutional law.

Having witnessed many instances of gay men preying on myself and my friends as teenagers, I can't support giving gays the right to adopt and raise children, which I assume would come with marriage rights. Spousel support was originally for the purpose of stay-at-home, parental types, who raised families and were therefore unable to work. It's not about funding your favorite toy.

"Having witnessed many instances of gay men preying on myself and my friends as teenagers, I can't support giving gays the right to adopt and raise children, which I assume would come with marriage rights. Spousel support was originally for the purpose of stay-at-home, parental types, who raised families and were therefore unable to work. It's not about funding your favorite toy."'

Straight people prey on others too so can we just get rid of marriage altogether already? Straight people abuse and molest children, as will gays--the common link here is that they are all people. Like you. Like me. You are prematurely judging them as guilty of something before they have done anything wrong based on sexual orientation.

"Spousel support was originally for the purpose of stay-at-home, parental types, who raised families and were therefore unable to work."

Gay people can still be that very thing (unless you use your circular reasoning and deny them adoption rights) and either way what it was "originally for" is pointless as that can evolve. Traditional conservatism implicitly assumes that we've reached the pinnacle of thought and development. We haven't. Consenting adults sh0uld be able to marry, regardless of gender.

 
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