The first day of the federal Prop 8 trial felt like the start of overtime in a hockey game. There was excitement everywhere in the building, anything could happen in testimony, what lineup would the coaches use and what would be the result at the end of the day.
I got up to San Francisco around 11. As an avowed non-morning person I managed to skip the morning commute, get a parking place near the Federal building and get into the overflow courtroom all before the lunch break. It was a miracle.
I will leave the inside the room info to Davina Kotulski to report but I wanted to share a few thoughts about today's proceedings and talk about the post press conference.
- It was breathtaking today to watch Ted Olson arguing our cause. He was concise, powerful and obviously a great legal mind. This is not in any way a slight to all the lawyers who have argued all our other cases. Let me just say that it was readily obvious why he was Bush's attorney in Florida. Damn it then, yay for us now.
- It was quite the celebrity sighting event. I saw Rob Reiner, the aforementioned Ted Olson, David Boies, Dustin Lance Black, Chad Griffin, Cleve Jones. As a matter of fact, all these folks were huddled at the same table in the building cafeteria during lunch. While lunching and gossiping with Michael Petrelis, I watched the celeb parade walk by. It was surreal in so many ways.
- I need to remember to bring a cushion on my return visits. Those benches are not designed for all day seating.
- The plaintiffs were amazing. Telling their stories, they were telling our stories. The emotion on display and their bravery moved us a step closer to equality.
- The first expert on marriage, a professor at Harvard, Dr Nancy Cott, blew gigantic holes in the excuses that will be put forward by the bad guys. Two points in particular - marriage is not done in the same universal manner as claimed by the bad guys. She used the example of Native American customs that the colonizers saw for the first time while blowing across the country; the example of Biblical correctness that the Prop 8 always use is invalid if one looks at the entire Bible. In the Old Testament, Jews practiced polygamy. So much for traditional marriage. She has written a book called "Public Vows."
- Dr Cott also pointed out the relationship of marriage to another societal institution, thankfully long gone, slavery. Emancipation gave slaves the right to marry. Prior to emancipation, they could not marry nor could they pick their mate. Their relationships were determined solely by their owners. Thus marriage was intimately tied to the Dred Scott decision. Slaves/African Americans could not be considered equal because they could not be married, a basic societal institution.
There is video up at LGBTPOV of the press conference after the day in court. I had to leave when Andrew Pugno, the bad guys' spokesperson just like in the campaign, started giving irrational answers and taking parts of the plaintiffs' testimony to make the case for their side.
Ugh, I can only take so much. I left.