Date

Month: January 2010

Our Voices blog

NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 12

Today was the final day of testimony in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Like every day before it, today was remarkable. The majority of the day was spent on finishing up the cross-examination of David Blankenhorn, an expert witness for the defendants. As he did yesterday, renowned attorney David Boies absolutely nailed the examination. Blankenhorn did nothing to help himself, fighting Boies’s yes-or-no questions at every turn even when Boies was simply laying a basic foundation with uncontroversial...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 11

Today was one of the most dramatic days of the trial, with startling admissions by the proponents’ two expert witnesses: Professor Kenneth Miller, testifying about the political power of gay people, and David Blankenhorn, testifying about the purposes of marriage. The morning began with the conclusion of David Boies’s cross-examination of Professor Miller. Boies confronted Prof. Miller with several of Prof. Miller’s own earlier writings, which were highly critical of the ballot initiative...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 10

Today was another exciting day as the Prop 8 trial heads into the home stretch. The plaintiffs finished their case today, and defendants got started with their first witness, Professor Kenneth Miller. The plaintiffs’ attorneys closed their case by playing excerpts from two simulcasts that were broadcast to gatherings of evangelical voters during the Prop 8 campaign. These simulcasts were sponsored and paid for by ProtectMarriage.com, the official Yes on 8 campaign organization. In the portions...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 9

After two weeks of powerful and often emotional evidence, the plaintiffs presented their last live witness today. On Monday, after playing some videos of deposition testimony, the plaintiffs will rest their case, and then the defendants will have their turn. Typically, at the end of all witness testimony, the attorneys present closing arguments. This morning Judge Walker announced that there will be a two week break before closing arguments to give the parties a chance to review the evidence....

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 8

Today was another blockbuster day in the Perry trial, with more razor sharp testimony from Professor Gary Segura, followed by disturbing testimony by one of the official proponents of Prop 8, Dr. Hak-Shing William (“Bill”) Tam. Yesterday closed with expert testimony from Professor Segura, an authority on political representation. The plaintiffs called Professor Segura to provide evidence that LGBTQ people lack sufficient political power to effectively protect their own interests through the...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 7

It was a phenomenal day in the courtroom, in particular testimony from Ryan Kendall about forced conversion therapy that moved many to tears. We also heard surprising revelations from experts who were supposed to support Prop 8 but whose opinions instead clearly shored up our side. After today, I wish more than ever that the public could be watching the video of this trial – I have truly never seen anything like it. Fortunately, daily transcripts of the trial are now being released with a one...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 6

This morning we heard first from Jerry Sanders, the Republican Mayor of San Diego. I remember Mayor Sanders well from the 2008 election — he made a heartfelt and courageous statement about his lesbian daughter and why he opposed Proposition 8 that, to me, was one of the most profound moments of the campaign. Mayor Sanders’ testimony today was similarly powerful.  Adding to the star power of the day, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera conducted Mayor Sander’s examination. Mayor Sanders,...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 5

Today, in the final day of the first week of trial, we got to see more riveting, detailed testimony from the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, who have truly proven to be “experts” in the fullest sense of the word. We also heard the moving personal story of a woman who has seen firsthand the incredible transformative power that the simple act of marrying can have. A tremendous body of social science has been laid out in this trial so far, and it has shown the irrationality of discrimination...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 4

The morning opened with Judge Walker’s announcement that he is withdrawing the Perry case from the pilot broadcasting program.  Judge Walker’s decision followed the Supreme Court’s order preventing any broadcast of the Perry trial even to other federal courtrooms, which has been roundly and rightly criticized as an unwarranted intrusion on lower courts.  Video will continue to be streamed to an overflow courtroom so that members of the public can watch the proceedings live, as is already done...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 3

As other bloggers and news outlets have reported, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a final order today preventing the trial from being broadcast. The 5-4 opinion was unsigned, meaning that its authorship was not attributed to any one justice.  The court largely ducked the substantive issue of whether federal trials should be more accessible to a broader public, holding that the San Francisco district court judges had not followed the proper procedures when they amended the local court rules to...

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