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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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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 2

The Perry plaintiffs had another great day in court. Professor Nancy Cott wrapped up her powerful testimony, which made three crucial points. First, Professor Cott provided a detailed historical account of how marriage restrictions based on race, ethnicity, and immigration status have been used “punitively” – to stigmatize and demean disfavored groups – in the same way that Prop 8 now stigmatizes same-sex couples. When these kinds of laws are enacted, she explained, many people believe they...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 1

From the first moment to the closing bell, Judge Walker moved the proceedings forward at a rapid clip. It was a great day for our side, spiced with some intriguing hints from Judge Walker about how he may be viewing some of the key legal issues in the case. Ted Olson and San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart gave eloquent opening statements. Both plaintiff couples presented emotional and moving testimony during their examinations and cross-examinations. And by the end of the day,...

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