It has been an amazing two and a half weeks. This trial has been a truly historic moment for our community. It is the first time a federal court has heard, first hand, from real live witnesses, about the harm that the denial of marriage equality causes lesbians, gay men and their families every day. It's also the first time a federal court has heard the arguments in favor of marriage equality presented live in court by an array of internationally renowned scholars who are truly experts in their respective fields.
What stands out the most after having seen all the witnesses on both sides is how overwhelmingly one-sided the evidence in this case turned out to be. The plaintiffs, represented by some of the most skilled attorneys in the country, laid out a well-crafted, meticulous case, backed by the testimony of half a dozen of the most respected historians, psychologists, economists, and political scientists who study marriage, sexual orientation, and child development. Using the Prop 8 proponents' own outrageous and inflammatory words, ads, and emails, the plaintiffs powerfully demonstrated that Prop 8 was a direct product of hostility, fear-mongering, and demonization of lesbians and gay men. And through the deeply moving testimony of the plaintiffs and other members of our community, they proved beyond question that denying same-sex couples the right to marry causes great harm to LGBT people and their children.
Stacked up against this mountain of facts, scholarship, and science, the Prop 8 proponents - though represented by fine attorneys - were not able to come forward with a case of their own. Before trial, they dropped nearly every witness they had planned to present and relied entirely on two poorly qualified, ill-prepared expert witnesses, neither of whom was able to establish that banning same-sex couples from getting married has any rational or legitimate purpose relating to procreation, child rearing, tradition, or any of the other justifications that have been offered in the past in support of anti-gay discrimination. In fact, nearly all of the defendants' experts agreed with the plaintiffs that marriage equality would benefit same-sex couples and their families in many real, tangible ways.
It should not have come as a surprise that the defense's case turned out to be so weak. As our executive director Kate Kendell is fond of saying, the arguments against marriage equality have always been "all hat and no cattle." This trial showed more powerfully than ever that there truly is no substance to the arguments of those who would deny equality to our families. It has been extremely gratifying to see those arguments aired out in public, before a smart, independent-minded judge, in a way that's never been done before. It is a shame that the public was unable to see the trial in video, but the transcripts, available at http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/our-work/hearing-transcripts/, are fascinating reading for anyone interested in learning more about this important chapter in our civil rights struggle.