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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)

fjpiercey, you talk about your experience as if no young women ever have to deal with the unwanted advances of older men. Should we just take parenting rights away from all men, because some prey on the young? Hey, cougars are up and coming these days, can we make sweeping statements about women next?

Ridiculous. Plenty of heterosexual "toys" are supported by the government in their marriage, there's no reason to deny that to homosexuals.

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

Richard. C'mon. You know that's false and insincere. And you know sexual attraction has A LOT to do with who you want to marry.

Let me ask you this: If gay marriage were legal, would you have a problem marrying a man? I bet you would. And its because you KNOW sexual attraction has a LOT to do with choices in marriage partners.

"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."'

You don't meet many gay people do you? Do youself a favor. Watch Dateline: To Catch a Predator. Straight men predating on girls FAR exceeds the crimes of some gay men. But you don't see society going off on all straight men, do you?

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