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Prejudice helped pass Prop. 8, professor testifies

January 26, 2010 | 11:02 am

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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