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Prejudice helped pass Prop. 8, professor testifies

A political scientist hired by defenders of Proposition 8 admitted under cross-examination today that prejudice played a role in the passage of the 2008 anti-same-sex-marriage initiative.

"At least some people voted for Proposition 8 on the basis of anti-gay stereotypes," Claremont McKenna College professor Kenneth Miller testified during the third week of a federal trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

David Boies, who cross-examined Miller, read aloud written statements Miller made that said minorities were vulnerable to ballot initiatives, and federal courts needed to step in and protect them. One of the statements was from a paper Miller wrote in 2005.

Miller was hired by the Proposition 8 campaign to testify that gays and lesbians today have significant political power. The issue of power is important in the legal analysis over whether gays and lesbians need stronger, federal constitutional protection.

Boies pressed Miller to say that Roman Catholicism was the most populous religion in California, with about 30% of the state's population identifying as Catholic, followed by Southern Baptists.

Trying to show that gays lack power to protect themselves at the ballot box, Boies noted that the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are a "serious depravity" while the Southern Baptist Conference says homosexual acts are an "abomination."

The trial was briefly disrupted this morning by a noisy man in a yellow parka who resisted efforts by guards to remove him. "Before I leave, let no man take the family from Jesus!" he shouted as two guards pulled him from the court.

A guard also admonished a woman in the audience who kept peering at Miller with binoculars.

--Maura Dolan at the San Francisco federal courthouse

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Comments () | Archives (48)

The yellow parka man is a scary religious zealot! This is the spirit that anti-gay, contemporary religion invokes, and these are the idiots that have to power to vote away my right to get married. They're disgusting!

wow, if an own witness of the supporters of prop 8 admited that : " at least some people voted ...on the basis of anti-gay stereotypes" to me the defenders are in trouble.Your personal religious believes have nothing to do with your changing the constitution. and then a man shouted to protect jesus! , lol, what more proof you want that people voted against gays because religious bigotry or personal disdan to the gay lifestyle. To me that makes a law unconstitutional.

I thought this guy was supposed to be testifying for the defense?

What? Prejudice plays a role in bigotry!? That's a shocker. And it's Christians who are prejudiced. Shocker No. 2. Next you'll be telling us that medical decisions are made by insurance companies.

who cares...

The LAT's anti-Catholic bias is legendary. The Church's position on gays is "hate the sin, love the sinner". No entity has done more for AIDS victims than the Catholic Church, giving medical care in its hospitals and hospices to those AIDs patients who can't afford to pay...

Marriage is between a man and a woman, period. If you want to call it something else, then that is up to you but as to me and my family we will stand to the right.

Kinda like an electrical socket and why they call them Male and Female?????

Hey if the puzzle pieces don't fit. You just jam them together.

I oppose gay marriage because homosexuality is evidence of a serious mental illness. It isn't cool, it isn't fashionable, it's just sick. Just because you were born that way doesn't mean you aren't crazy.

BigPicture--You should care. We should all care. Anyone who thinks Prop. 8 is about a minority of the population isn't paying attention. This is about the separation of church and state, about whether small-minded religious bigots are allowed to impose their will on everyone. Think long and hard about whether you want the people behind Prop 8 telling you how to run your personal life, how to raise your children, what kind of education your children receive in public schools. Bigots feed on fear and indifference. Your apathy erodes the bulwark between democracy and theocracy.

"...personal disdan to the gay lifestyle. To me that makes a law unconstitutional."

1. I don't care who marries whom! If your an adult, go for it.

2. You are allowed to have those thoughts. There is nothing unconstitutional about them, even though you personally disagree with them.

The ballot box is one place where you can express your personal beliefs. Whether or not the ballot initiative is constitutional, is another issue.

Bosco--The Catholic Church spreads AIDS every time they convince someone not to wear a condom. There is not enough blood money to make up for the destruction caused by the Church's anti-contraception position.

It's been stunning to follow the testimony of two of the pro-prop8 witnesses so far.

Dr. William Tam and Kenneth Miller have absolutely eviscerated the defense -- in spite of being on "their" side. It's no wonder the defense yanked the other four witnesses they planned on standing up... their depositions also seriously undermined their case.

Their witnesses sound good when it's possible to cherry-pick their statements to support prop8, but they crumble to dust under competent cross-examination.

Boies, in particular, is known for using a previous deposition like a flame-thrower during cross-examination... and he's absolutely BBQ'd the first two defense witnesses put on the stand.

Looking forward to their last witness, Blankenhorn, twisting in the wind while Boeis goes after him.

Since when are a person's motives during a political vote up for debate at trial. I guarantee some people voted against President Obama because of his skin color. Yet he won because the MAJORITY wanted him as president.

Everyone places their votes based on their personal beliefs - whether some consider that to be stereotypical is irrelevant. The fact is that no vote is made without some form of belief based on personal experience - otherwise we would all agree and there would be no need for debate or voting.

Religion strikes again. I have read the Bible and I find nowhere in there that Jesus himself said anything bad about homosexuality. For the record I am not homosexual. I was groped by an openly gay man when I was 15 and could have used that as an excuse to bash gays. But I have a gay nephew and a married lesbian niece. I care about both of them and I want them to be happy with their lives. I find that Jesse "The Body" Ventura was right when he said that "Religion is for those with weak minds". Read about how Christianity borrowed a lot from the Egyptian religion.

Bosco said:

"The LAT's anti-Catholic bias is legendary. The Church's position on gays is "hate the sin, love the sinner". No entity has done more for AIDS victims than the Catholic Church, giving medical care in its hospitals and hospices to those AIDs patients who can't afford to pay..."

Nice red herring you presented there.

If the Catholic Church donated a gazillion dollars to fight muscular dystrophy, while simultaneously trying to deny folks with MD the right to wed, is that an indication of the depth of their love?

YOU might consider it "sin" -- and you're welcome to that view -- but it would be really polite (and constitutional) if you kept your religion out of the laws that govern everyone. Giving with one hand while taking away with the other doesn't exactly show genuine charity or love.

My brother voted against Prop 8 because he's anti-Christian. I voted for Obama mostly because he, like me, is black. Many voted against him for the same reason. Prejudice is behind a lot of decisions. Should our courts nullify voting altogether?

Bosco the Catholic church working on behalf of the AIDS patients is in no way related to the issue at hand. Sure they have done a lot of work on AIDS prevention and treatment that does not mean that they treat the homosexual community fairly.

Secondly, it is impossible to love the person while simultaneously denying and hating who they are. The very term "hate the sinner" dehumanizes these people and leaves them open to attack and hatred because they aren't people just like us, they are sinners.

Prejudice had nothing to do with my support for prop. 8. It can't be helped if that is the motivation for some people. If Obama had lost and it was found that some people didn't vote for him due to prejudice, there's nothing that can be done about it. A legal vote was taken, prop. 8 was passed and that's it. It's not necessary to know the motivation behind each vote!

See? This is why I am SO disappointed at this not being televised. The Man in the Yellow Parka sums up religion in a nutshell. Be religious and it is okay to be prejudicial, bigoted, xenophobic and absolutely closed-minded. Worshipping anything in the bible leads to this type of behavior. Period.

And to Bosco: If we had no Catholic Church, we wouldn't have AIDS in the first place. Your popes and cardinals, especially in Africa have done nothing to refute the ridiculous claim that condoms "help to spread AIDS". Read a paper from the last year for goodness sakes.

Of course prejudice played a role in passing prop. 8. There's nothing new about that. Just like prejudice helped elect our current President. What? You don't believe me? 80% to 90% of African-Americans voted for him. What do you call that?

Complaints like Bosco's about bias against the Catholic church are overly sensitive. LAT reports here on the prosecution's cross examination. The prosecution is citing the very real, negative teachings of socially conservative churches regarding homosexuals, and the way this makes the churches look is no fault of either. While its the job of the clergy to deliver the message with the candy coating, it's not the job of reporters or prosecutors to do so.

James Sullivan---- after reading your comment I have one thing to say.... GOD HELP YOU!!

What a contradictory church the Catholic church is. First, they are forced to pay over a $ Billion in settlement of suits against the pedophilic Catholic priests who prey on young Catholic boys. Then, they back a law against gay marriage.

Perhaps, if gays are allowed to marry, the church fears priests will ask for permission to marry gays too (just like they request every once in a while to marry women.)

And just how many people who are bigoted against Christians would vote for an initiative sanctioning same sex marriage? I guess if there is one, then that initiative can be overturned as having discriminatory intent as well. You can't have it both ways, proponents of same sex marriage,

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