i have to say, given the high profile nature of this case, i expected more from the defense. their arguments thus far have been pitiful, and they're rumored to be done after just two witnesses. as a long-time and outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage, i usually think the arguments in favor of a ban are pretty thin, but to see them laid out in a trial makes them look even weaker.
the courtroom is cut off from cameras, so my only knowledge of the trial comes from reading recaps on news websites, but here's my understanding of the defense's case so far:
- gays don't need special protection of their rights because they're a powerful and well-loved minority group
- the purpose of marriage is to make babies
- legalizing same-sex marriage paves the way to a world of widespread polygamy and bestiality
really? is that all you've got?
the first point was made (surprisingly) by my friend and mentor prof. kenneth miller from claremont mckenna college. he was brought in to refute the testimony of prof. gary segura from stanford who testified on behalf of the plaintiff that gays and lesbians still face significant threats to their civil rights. according to the mercury news, miller himself has written about the use of the california initiative process to side-step legislative protections of minority groups' rights, so it seems odd that his testimony would imply that gays and lesbians were not at risk of being marginalized by the initiative process. despite the seeming ubiquity of gays on television shows, most gay people i know still face tyranny of the majority on a daily basis.
the "marriage = babies" argument is just plain silly, since the logical legal extension of that argument would outlaw marriage between old people, sterile people, and people who don't like diapers. i can't even believe this was admissible in a court of law, and it's really not worth any more discussion.
the "slippery slope" argument -- that someone else's gay marriage puts me on the fast track to marrying my spatula -- is really predicated on the belief that same-sex love is somehow different and lesser than heterosexual love. a "slippery slope" implies that there's a slope -- that same-sex love is inferior. i don't suppose it's very easy to change someone's mind about that, but my experience is that committed gays and lesbians love each other the same way straight people do: in a romantic, one-on-one, i'll-wipe-your-nose-when-you're-sick kind of way. it's very different from the way one loves a kitchen utensil. i can't believe i even have to say that.
i hope -- only for the sake of their own credibility -- that the defense's lawyers have something else up their sleeves, because if this is the sum total of their argument, i think it's obvious that the emperor has no clothes.