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Proposition 8 opponent testifies about importance of marriage

Shortly after opening arguments concluded, David Boies, an attorney representing the challengers to Proposition 8, called to the stand two of the plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit.

Jeffrey Zarrillo, who has been in a relationship with another man for nearly nine years, testified that he wanted to marry Paul Katami.

"He is the love of my life. I love him probably more than I love myself. I would do anything for him," Zarrillo said.

Zarrillo said others would view his and Katami's relationship differently if they were married. "It says to them, 'These individuals are serious, these individuals are committed to each other,' " he testified, his voice breaking often as he spoke.

Court has adjourned for the midday break.

The unprecedented federal trial on marriage rights got underway this morning. Challengers of Proposition 8, the ballot measure passed by California voters in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage, called marriage "one of the most vital personal rights," while a lawyer defending the ban declared same-sex matrimony a risky and novel "experiment."

Theodore Olson, an attorney for two same-sex couples challenging Proposition 8,  told the court that marriage was "central to life in America."

"It's the building block of family, neighborhood and community in our society," Olson said in the packed San Francisco courtroom of U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker.

But Charles Cooper, representing proponents of the ban, said same-sex marriage was too new and too rare to know what consequences it may have.

"People of California are entitled to await the results of that experiment … before they make a fundamental change and alteration in the traditional definition of marriage."

The case, Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, is expected to  eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Both sides have hired leading legal advocates with lots of experience before the high court.

Walker, a Republican appointee known for independence, will decide whether Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage violates U.S. constitutional rights of equal protection and due process. Walker's pretrial rulings have tended to favor supporters of same-sex marriage.

Unlike other court cases about marriage rights, the trial before Walker will involve weeks of testimony on wide-ranging issues.

"Actually putting witnesses on the stand has never been done before in any lawsuit claiming a right to same-sex marriage," said Proposition 8 campaign attorney Andy Pugno. "So this is a very out-of-the-ordinary approach."

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco federal court

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Comments () | Archives (65)

I support gay people 100% I'm gonna be 15 next Monday. I like girls. I think it should be allowed in every single state. There is atleast 10-15 MORE gay/lesbian people in every state. Why can't people just get over they're self and realize not everyone is straight, thanks.

For the life of me I don't see the reason for denying anyone the ability to marry anyone they care for. If you and your church think its wrong, well, it used to be that if a black man married a white woman, he was taking his own life in his hands.

If you don't care for same sex marriages, then don't go to their church, don't hang out with them in social circles, don't go to the same places, and your problem is solved.

of course you already do that, don't you... so what is the problem?

why the angst? why do you christians find it so important to stick you nose into other peoples lives, then demand that they live by the same rules you do? Live your own life, let others choose theirs.

The definition of marriage is a union between a man and a woman. If the fight for gays and lesbians is to have the same rights as straight people then why aren't they fighting for the easier battle of civil unions? It's the exact same thing except for the title.

Read your Bible, marriage is between a man and woman....

"But Charles Cooper, representing proponents of the ban, said same-sex marriage was too new and too rare to know what consequences it may have."

Like heterosexuals have done a bang up job on traditional marriage. Just ask John Ensign, Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani. IMO heteroseuxals have done far worse to the institution of marriage than two men or two women who want to cement their committed relationship by getting married.

Some people think this is about straight rights. How does this change a heterosexual's rights at all? What will allowing gays to marry prevent a straight person from either doing or having? Nothing.

Some people think it's about protecting procreation, yet people have always had children out of marriage. Also, there are many straight couples that do not have children. Marriage is a promise between people to love each other. It is not an agreement to produce babies.

This issue is strictly about excluding gays, and not recognizing a minority group's rights in society.

The supporters of this say that is too risky of an experiment to allow gays to marry. That's just stupid. It's not like they're going to be making more gay children. Every gay person is the result of heterosexual intercourse, not gay sex.

"People of California are entitled to await the results of that experiment … before they make a fundamental change and alteration in the traditional definition of marriage."

What the heck does he mean by that?

It sounds like we should legalize it for a "trial period" of 50 years and if we don't see and adverse effects (and what exactly would we be looking for?), then let it stand.

I really don't understand what the supposed "dangers" are meant to be - does anyone?

Becky I would ask if you would feel the same way if you weren't surrounded by "reality" tv and other unrealistic situations that have given you the idea that this is the cool thing to think. You are 15...you don't know much about the world.

in order for our society to move forward on this issue, the government needs to stop using the word "marriage" in all forms. one of the reasons the issue is so touchy is that word... marriage... has special meaning to those with religious beliefs. even those who are not predisposed to bigotry may be compelled by their denomination to take an anti stance by virtue of the word "marriage" being used in the phrase "gay marriage".

let them have their word, and let the county issue "union licences" (or whatever name) instead. it wouldnt be a cure-all, but it would be a start.

the topic of same sex marriage has been out and debated strongly in California. one of the things that is a joke to me is that they tried to get the measure passed in a democratic way by having the people vote on it and they were defeated in the polls yet they continue to fight it saying it's unconstitutional. People have rights which should be expanded under the domestic partnership laws, but to call a marriage between two of the same sex a marriage is flawed because for thousands of years a man and a weoman is the accepted norm for the term marriage and it's nothing more but a blatant attack on the religious sacrament of holy matrimony...

What is all this talk from gays about their "right" to marry, as if their relationships are as valid and vital as those of heterosexuals? Nature certainly doesn't seem to agree. It certainly wasn't making a value judgement when it established that the primal bond in nearly every corner of the animal kingdom is that between male and female. (There are those who argue that homosexual animals occur in nature - but cannot name one specie in which same-sex couples bond and raise young as a matter of course). Homosexuals can't procreate under the best of circumstances, whereas only the worst of circumstances prevents heterosexuals from reproducing. So the basic, fundamental reason for couples to bond sexually - procreation, giving birth, the raising of naturally-born young - doesn't apply to homosexuals. So right there, they're not equal. And the fact remains that, while a male homosexual is attracted to another male, nature designed him nonetheless to mate with a female. The fact that he feels no passion for females doesn't indicate a passion equal to that of a heterosexual - it only indicates that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. This is a truth that gays and their supporters don't want to face - but it's a truth nonetheless. The main reason people vote against gay marriage isn't bigotry (and the opponents of Prop 8 certainly seem to be implying that everyone who voted for the measure is a bigot) - it's that people are being asked to approve of a lie. And the only thing worse than being *asked* to approve of a lie is being *forced* to...which would be the result if the court finds in favor of the plaintiff. Let's hope the judge will resist the intimidation and brainwashing of political correctness and rule in favor of the truth...and of the people of California, who have a right to deny a tiny minority their selfish desire to change the meaning of an institution that affects everyone of every generation.

Have I missed something, because at no point have I heard anyone mention the fact that you get your marriage license from a government agency, from the county in which you live. You probably even have to go to City Hall to get it. So, in what world do the Prop 8 proponents live, where they think the GOVERNMENT can offer PUBLIC SERVICES to one group of people and deny them to another group, What's next, they're not allowed to go to public school, it is discrimination, period.

I am glad same sex marriage is becoming a topic of the court and I totally support this. It seems, generally, that the younger generation knows that sexual orientation is simply who someone is and it is not negotiable and it is just one of many characteristics of an individual. And, it is not often easy being gay/lesbian in a mostly straight world. It took me over half a century to understand that I am truly lesbian. Sure, I tried suppressing it, trying reparation, etc., etc., went through years of depression and pain over this, but the truth is that I have always and will always be gay/lesbian, and I am happy to be 'out' and be myself. We have come a long way in this society and I am glad that marriage intiative is going to court. I think much will be learned through these weeks of long proceedings and, I am thinking that it will increase understanding and help the other side to see that we, as gay/lesbian individuals, care just as much about marriage, community, and family as any straight person and probably share many of the same values of the opposing side. Anything in this world that has the possiblity of promoting understanding and educating is a good and viable thing.

This is not about who gets married. It is about the state recognizing the marriage. Jeff and Paul could get married if they wanted to but currently the state will not bless their marriage. If it was really important to them they would not care if they had a paper with Schwarzenegger’s signature on it.

I believe that this country is supposed to be a democracy, and if the people of california voted for prop 8, then there it is. deal with it, or introduce a bill to overturn it.
But sending it to the decision of a court will end up infringing upon the true "vital personal rights" of americans to use their votes to dictate the course of this nation.

From the article:
"People of California are entitled to await the results of that experiment … before they make a fundamental change and alteration in the traditional definition of marriage."

How can we know the result of this "experiment" if said experiment is banned from being conducted. Without allowing Gay marriage we will never know what positive (or possible negative) effects it may or may not have on our society. This sounds to me like an argument against prop 8. They jumped the gun in outlawing something they don't fully understand.

What we do know is that denying these people their rights as Americans has cost the state of California tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

And this is the crux of the argument for me. I don't care what gay men and women do in their own homes any more then I care what religious groups do in their houses of worship. As long as neither is causing harm to children, it is of no importance to me. What is important, is the constitution and equality for all americans. When you deny them the same rights as hetero's, it is nothing more then taxation without representation.
Taking that to it's next step, the right and honorable thing to do is allow self professed gays to opt out of paying taxes. We can then tax those churches who feel so strongly about the issue to make up that substantial revanue shortfall.

I too support gay and lesbians, but I also support the will of the people that voted. If everything that is voted upon either passes or doesn't, and then a lone Judge has the right to change a Bill in either direction, then why even put it up for a vote?

If it werent for your Mom and Dad you wouldnt be here in this world. If your father or mother was gay you wouldnt exist and I wouldnt have to reply to your dumb comment. Everything has its purpose, you best believe that!


This is pathetic. As a straight married man, I cannot figure out why all these religious nuts feel they have the right to deny others a basic human right that has NOTHING to do with religion. NOBODY is intruding upon their religion. Marriage is a civil, legal partnership. My marriage is strong and allowing gays to marry does not hinder or harm my marriage whatsoever.

Bravo Becky! This shows how demented people are when it comes to the "sanctity" of marriage. I find it baffling that 2 humans who are in love and have a loving relationship cannot marry but a woman could go on a reality show to "Marry a Millionaire." Its quite twisted. Lets leave marriage for people who are in love, no matter which sexual orientation, and not for money and fame hungry monsters. Those are the people who have corrupted marriage.

Gay people have just as much right to be as miserable as other married people:)

The only reason why women get tricked into being a sex slave/housekeeper/childbearer is marriage.

To give it to two individuals who cant even bear children is an insult to all the mothers who sacrificed and martyred in the name of marriage.

I have read the arguments - 1) because they want to keep their money, save money. They really do not care about joining the community into raising responsible future citizens. They just want to slap into our faces that they can do anything they want and they dont care about all the sacrifices their mothers and fathers gave for them. They can always create contracts between them, just like marriage etc. But they want it to be respected by the government too, why?
2) so they can use the marriage for immigration purposes. Can you imagine that. With no children born into the marriage how do you even know that it is for real?

People who oppose same-sex marriage will never see their relationships differently just because they have a paper saying it is legal !! That's a lame reason !! As for this poor deceived 15 yr.old, Becky,she needs to realize that it's not a question if you're straight or not, it's about gays trying to shove their agenda and their life-style in front of everyone else's face !! Go live however you choose, but don't try and bully your way into redefining marriage between a man & a woman !!!

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