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First witness called by Prop. 8 defenders says gays have broad support in California

January 25, 2010 | 12:50 pm

A political scientist testified at a federal trial today that gays and lesbians had wide support in California among elected officials, unions and major corporations.

Kenneth P. Miller, who teaches political science at Claremont McKenna College, was the first witness called by defenders of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state.

Miller said the Democratic Party in California was a strong ally of gay men and lesbians and was on record supporting the repeal of Proposition 8. He also testified that the California Teachers Assn. contributed $1.3 million to defeat the marriage ban, and leading industries in Silicon Valley joined the campaign against it.

Miller, whose testimony will continue this afternoon, took the stand after challengers of Proposition 8 rested their case. They introduced videos produced by supporters of Proposition 8 warning that same-sex marriage could lead to incest and other social ills.

"Then pedophiles would have to be allowed to marry 6-, 7-, 8-year-olds," said a person in one of the videos. "The man from Massachusetts who petitioned to marry his horse. ... He'd have to be allowed to do so. Mothers and sons, sisters and brothers, any, any combination would have to be allowed."

In a webcast developed by pastors, an African American man said he was upset that discrimination against gays was being compared to discrimination against blacks and complained that people were comparing "my skin to their sin."

Lawyers defending Proposition 8 said the videos were not made by the Proposition 8 campaign.

-- Maura Dolan at the San Francisco federal courthouse