The Corner

Proposition 8 Trial: The Evidence in a Nutshell I

Day One: The plaintiffs explain the mistreatment they have experienced because they are gay and their perception that they are marginalized by society because they cannot marry a same-sex partner. An academic historian says that marriage has changed through time and has nothing to do with children, but she can’t answer the question of whether it is “infinitely elastic.”

Day Two: Yesterday’s historian witness (using Howard Mintz’s reporting from the San Jose Daily Mercury News) says the state’s interest in marriage is: “Bundling certain social needs with the duties imposed on the couples by the state . . . to incentivize stable household creation” (but not for channeling procreation). A Yale social historian testifies that gays have been demonized through history and although that’s changing, it hasn’t entirely disappeared.

Day Three: A UCLA social psychologist explains that a small handful of studies suggest same- and opposite-sex couples have similar “relationships” and that the former would receive psychological benefits if allowed to marry.

Day Four: The economist for the city of San Francisco testifies that the city has to forego tax revenue because of the current definition of marriage (and to think many of us thought profligate spending was the cause of California’s financial woes). A Columbia social psychologist says that California’s definition of marriage creates stresses for same-sex couples that harm their mental health.

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