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Prop. 8 trial: Closing arguments end as judge presses both sides

Closing arguments concluded Wednesday afternoon in the Proposition 8 trial with more pointed questions from U.S.  District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who is presiding over the landmark proceedings to determine the constitutionality of California’s ban on gay marriage.

When court resumed after the lunch break, Charles Cooper, attorney for proponents of the measure, told Walker that the “marital relationship is fundamental to the existence and survival of the race. Without the marital relationship, society would come to an end.”

That relationship, he said, is between a man and a woman and its main focus is procreation and “channeling” the sexual behavior of heterosexuals into “stable, marital unions.”

Walker continually pressed the sometimes flustered Cooper on just what marriage means and why the state should care about it. Why does the state regulate marriage, he asked. Do people get married to benefit the community? Why doesn’t the state just consider it a private contract?

Walker: “Why is it that marriage has such a large public role? What is the purpose?”

Cooper: “This relationship is crucial to the public interest.… Procreative sexual relations both are an enormous benefit to society and represent a very real threat to society’s interest.”

Walker: “Threat?"

Cooper: “If children are born into the world without this stable, marital union … both of the parents that brought them into the world, then a host of very important, very negative social implications arise.... The purpose of marriage is to provide society’s approval to that sexual relationship and to the actual production of children.”

Walker: “But the state doesn’t withhold marriage from people who cannot have children.”

Cooper: “It does not.”

Walker: “Are you saying the state should?”

Cooper took Theodore Olson, attorney for the gay and lesbian couples who filed suit against Proposition 8, to task for claiming that Californians could support the ban on same-sex marriage only “through irrational or dark motive, some animus, some kind of bigotry.”

He called Olson’s characterization a “slur” on the millions of Americans who voted for the ballot measure in 2008 and “a slur on 70 of 108 judges who have upheld as rational the decisions by voters and legislators to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.”

Olson’s viewpoint, Cooper said, “denies the good faith of Congress, of state legislature after state legislature and electorate after electorate.”

To which Walker responded: “If you have 7 million Californians, 70 judges and this long history, why in this case did you present but one witness? ... You had a lot to choose from. One witness, and it was fair to say his testimony was equivocal.”

A ruling in the case is expected sometime this summer

-- Maria L. La Ganga at federal court in San Francisco

Comments () | Archives (120)

Gays don't want marriage because they believe in the institution of marriage. Beyond state benefits, this is about legislating a lifestyle and completely redefining the Judeo-Christian view of marriage. My question for gay activists is this: If marriage is no longer an exclusive union between a man and a woman, who is to say it should be restricted to just two people? After all, some might be born with the polyamorist gene!

"Nature simply did not put them on the same footing for family as heterosexuals." - J.Lee

Seriously, this is really stretching it. "nature" or "natural law" is hardly a justification for lack of human dignity and respect. An individual that happens to be attracted to the same sex was still socialized within the general context of society and is very capable of passing on those cherished values and traditions onto the next generation.

This is an issue of prejudice and ignorance. Let's call it for what it is and stop trying to use irrational thinking processes to support a ban on gay marriage. Let's have a real conversation about what it means to be human and what rights are undeniable.

Look at all the comments of the Anti-Gay Marriage Morons. Exactly like the 'defense' put on during the trial. All of it, slurs and distortions of reality based on their personal animus or 'religious' convictions.

But no evidence. Anywhere. None at all.

Which is why the Anti-Gay Marriage peeple are about to meet their "Waterloo"!

From Ted Olsen's closing arguments yesterday, and proving exactly why all you pro-h8ters are in for the shock of your life:

"...Now scrutiny tells you this basic fact: you are discriminating against a group of people. You are causing them harm. You are excluding them from an important part of life.

And in doing so, you better have a good reason for that.

And I submit at the end of the day for Defendant's Laywer to stand up here and say "I don't know" and during the trial, "I don't have to put any evidence..."

Well, With all due respect Mr. Cooper, it does not cut it.

It does not cut it when you are taking away the basic human rights and human decency from a large group of

individuals and YOU don't know why they are a threat to your particular institution!..."

In other words, hold on to your hat's Pro-H8ters.

The argument that Cooper provided is stereotypical, and is false in accusation.
Homosexuals do not teach children "very negative social implications". In fact, wouldn't it be better if they have parents who love and cherish them, as well as teach them freedom for all? Instead of pushing children into orphanages, where the children might develop "negative social implications", isn't it safer to allow samesex couples to take care of them?

I'm straight, married, no kids (by choice). My husband is Catholic and I am not, therefore our marriage is not recognized by the Catholic church, but I don't really care about that. What matters is that the State government gives us both rights that gay couples don't and will never have as long as this ridiculous discrimination continues.

If your church doesn't want to recognize gay marriage, then fine. They can do whatever they want within their private organization, but the government shouldn't have any say in my personal life. We should all be able to share property, pay fair taxes on our wages, and have death-bed visits with whoever we choose regardless of gender and without penalty. Homosexual couples want what we all want, nothing more, so I don't see this as special treatment.

People like Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King, and Donald Trump are allowed to make a mockery of this institution with their drive-through nuptials and divorces, but gay people in loving committed relationships are the ones destroying the sanctity of marriage? All this because some people are worried about procreation on a planet that has more than 6 billion human beings competing for space and resources already?

As far as being stable parents, who is better off: the kid who has 2 moms or dads, or the kid who has no parents at all and is shuffled around from foster home to foster home? How about the kid growing up with a single mom and an absentee father? These kids need LOVE. My husband had a mom and dad that were married for 42 years, both of whom were abusive drunks. How great for HIM! Straight does not always equal better!

The Utopian family unit like the Cleaver Household on your television set does not exist. Time to get your heads out of the sand and accept that the world is and always has been a messy place. I personally think we need love and family where we can get it, in any shape it might come in.

This isn't about whether gay marriage should be allowed! The decision was already made to ban gay marriages by the voters of California. This is about whether the court should overturn that law. How about we discuss what decision the court should make instead of rehashing the old and tired gay marriage debate.

It also appears that the arguments of the proponent attorney (and limited case record) may be because he wants prop 8 defeated. The best way to change a law is a mock opposition or support in Court.

why are all these gay people running around crying like a chicken with no head. the prop was out there and the people voted. i think it's disgusting that a man finds pleasure in another man and a woman finds pleasure in another woman.
i'm glad california is not permitting gay marriages and i hope they never do. i doubt the gays won't win because all things sinful you will find in california. half the people that claim to be gay aren't even gay they just don't know what to do with themselves. pure confusion and idiots. they go back and forth between man and woman make up your mind there is no in-between. just the thought of it - it's just so disgusting....
that's the problem with most men they don't know how to be real men. they are destroying the family structure or sleeping with another man. man up be a man find a wife bear children and teach them how to be a real man or woman. stop with this gay crap man up/woman up.

I'll say it if no one else wants to. It doesn't matter what you think or I think, it matters what the Lord thinks. God proclaimed marrige between a man and a woman. That's it. You can read the bible or you can choose not to. You can believe in the Lord or you can decide not to. You can take Him at His word or deside not to. You have free will. It doesn't change the fact that you will one day be held accountable for your decisions. Even the biggest and toughest man will be brought to his knees in tears and will proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. If gay marrige is allowed and this world turns to rampid homosexuality it only means the return of the Lord is closer. My heart goes out to those who are lost without the love of the Lord in their hearts. I used to be confused and angry too. The lord is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through the Son. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and repent of your sins and watch the transformation he does in your life.

First the homosexual agenda forced a vote. They lost , now they look form a storebought judge to rule against moral behavior.

I cannot believe thst this "marriage/sex is for the purpose of procrating" If you truly believe that argument, then you must also totally oppose any form of birth control & must also force those couples who either cannot or chose to not have children to either get a kid somehow or get a divorce.

Just how much empirical evidence does one need? How about hundreds of thousands of years of history with billions of marriages all sanctioned by governments? This historical phenomenon of state sanctioned gay marriage equivilant to heterosexual marriage is a historical anomally so rare only a homosexual revisionist historian could "discover" a fictionalized account.
If one cannot understand logic of benefit of social/state sanction of heterosexual marriage exclusively, think smaller, on the scale of a community, or tribe. Make more sense? Eventually you will conclude that heterosexual marriage is the only union that promulgates the species. Society's interest is to preserve the survival of the society. That is the raison d' etre of societies. Homosexual unions fail to do either. The society, if wealthy enough, could tolerate homosexuality. But when survival is threatened, homosexuals had better prove their contribution to society is more than partying and complaining.
Can anyone deny logic that homosexual unions, as an institution, has no interest in either promulgation nor nurturing posterity? Can anyone deny logic that heterosexual unions have as society's primary function to promulgate and nuture posterity?
This phenomena of state sanctioned homosexual unions, this deviation from the lessons of history, is entertained only because the wealth and security of our society can tolerate it. This debate will end without argument as soon as the society faces a serious threat to the survival of the next generation. No crying homosexuals then.

All those who favor gay marriage....you need Jesus!

So long as gay couples retain the same legal rights as heterosexual couples (e.g. right to adopt, benefits, hospital visitation, etc.), then this issue becomes reduced to pure symbolism, in which case the voters should be allowed to decide and not the courts.

The pro-lifers are full of it. There are already 8 BILLION people on the planet and short of a comet strike we'll survive for a while before millions starve to death because we've used up the land and killed the oceans.

That idiot pro-life lawyer is also forgetting that lesbians have invitro to have babies and gay men adopt babies that people can't or don't want to keep.

What two people do in private is no one's business.

The line has been drawn...period. Non relative adult Man and adult Woman can marry. At what point do we leave it at that? Are we not infringing on the rights of an individual who wants to marry a 13 year old? But they love each other, don't hate them, there's nothing wrong with it!! What if they are brother and sister? Mother and son? Father and son? Brother and Brother? Why do the people who want gay-marriage only limit their fight to appease them? What about the rights of those I just mentioned? Where's the verbage to include them? Do you think that the unions mentioned earlier are gross? Weird? Unnatural? Different then what you believe? Why not put up a fight for all those who choose an "alternative lifestyle"?

Now who's the bigot?

I have not heard one argument from the pro-8 people that is not completly fallacious. any arguments of incest, palygamy, or bestiality and the destruction of the moral fabric are purely 'Slippery Slope' arguments, which have no real logical basis. there is also no evidence to suggest that by making gay marriage legal, that somehow 'encourages' the gay lifestyle, and more people will become gay.
if you take the same logic of "gay's can't have children, so gay marriage should not be legal" to further levels, you begin to see that its a totally arbitrary idea. "a woman having a period isn't having a child, so it should be illegal", or even less extreme, "a person with their tubes tied cannot have children, so such a procedure should be made illegal"

Well said and well placed in proper perspective.

If you're going to be "fair" and accept gay marriage, then you also need to be "fair" and accept polygamous marriage, incestuous marriage, pedophilic marriage and any other combination of people you can think up.
It's unfortunate that Theodore Olson, attorney for the gay and lesbian couples, would resort to being a hate monger?

I look forward to seeing the whinging and crying from the bigots. Your views are consigned to the dustbin of history. The upcoming generation (of which I am quite proud to be a member of) has no issue with allowing GLBTs their fundamental right to marry a person of their choosing. The majority should never be able to deprive the minority of rights and human dignity. The voters should not have that power and never should have had it in the first place.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, proponants of Prop 8 are discriminating against NO ONE, everyone has a right to get married. Marriage is, was, and forever will be the joining of a man and women to create a new family. One that can, but might not, create children.

Should a gay or lesbian person want to get married, they shall need to pick someone of the opposite sex to do it with. For this is marriage. Logic has left the building apparently and, since most of us don't think words mean anything anymore we think we can redefine at will whatever we want. Language, and particularily MARRIAGE doesn't work like that.
If you want to live with the person of your choice, NOT in marriage, have at it, be you gay, or straight. The line in the sand has been drawn. You don't get to remake up things to suit your will.
Paritially because there are people who would choose to marry multiple people.There are people who would 'marry' children.
We have laws for a reason. Marriage, which was instituted by God Himself, cannot be changed by man, no matter what a lunatic lawyer or judge might say. It is what it is.
Deal with it. Believe me, No one is being discriminated against here, EVERYONE Can get married, but marriage simply is not up for redefining. You must MARRY the opposite sex. Live with whomever you want, but you'll never be married to them.

Gays are not wierd, we are quite natural. Homosexuality can be found in almost EVERY living species on Earth. And it was not always rejected. The Native Amercians, dating back to 15,000 bc cherished gays and held them with high regard, understanding their role in society. When the missions came here they used this widespread acceptance of homosexuality as a means to demonize and colonize with their moral authority and forcefully converted them to the modern day hatred we see. As for gays making horrible parents, studies now show that children of lgbt couples tend to have less behavior problems, are better educated, and by standard child welfare evaluations are much happier and better functioning in society becuase the parents choose to have them, are usually a two person household, who have them later and are financially more stable. It is obvious that those of you who talk of pets (can't tell the difference between species?) and chaos, really have knowledge of facts, past, present of future. If you really care about kids, how about the gay youth that commits suicide at a 6 times greater rate than any other demographic. Or about kids that are molested by anti-gay, but closet and destructive religious and political leaders. If you really care about the kids you should encourage a society of acceptance that allows them to not kill themselves or be subjected to self-loathing closet zeolots that act out and harm the kids. Out of the closet gays do not do that sort of thing. That is what comes about in a society the encourages secrecy and deception.

I see the same ignorant folks using the "slippery slope" argument to fight against gay marriage are out in force again.

Here's my argument for it - if I'm a gay taxpayer in the state of California, I'm getting EQUAL RIGHTS. NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS.

If it's proper for "the people" to vote on personal matters like marriage, why not vote on how many children people should be allowed to have?

@john o'connor,
Excellent analysis on the holistic perspective.

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