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05/16/2008

Audio/video: The full picture is much more telling

by Jeremy Hooper

We're going to give you an assignment which, if you have the time and energy, we think you'll find interesting. First watch this Alliance Defense Fund fundraising/promo video, especially the portion in which attorney Glenn Lavy is shown giving what is presumably supposed to be powerful, point-proving testimony:

Alright, so the video makes it seem like Mr. Lavy really sold it to the justices, driving home the point that the courts have no role in this matter. An idea that really confused us when we first saw this video, as we had listened to the entire day of arguments back on March 4. And we say this not to be mean but rather factual: Mr. Lavy's testimony was by far the weakest of that whole day. Seriously, his words stood out in our mind as the turning point. The part where we began to think we might actually have a real shot at winning this thing. His reasoning was sometimes contradictory, often poorly stated, and ultimately ineffective. Little if any of it stood up to the scrutiny.

But don't take our word for it. Here, listen to Lavy's full testimony without the editing. If you're like us, what you will hear is a body of justices who quite clearly and easily presents a reasoned challenge to the weak grounds:

(the portion quoted in the video begins at the 1:11 mark)

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But the ADF doesn't want folks to hear all that, and in fact is probably pretty confident that few will make the effort to learn more. Because what they want is to tell everyone what they should think on the basis of faith-based bias, rather than let them analyze all that was presented and form their own fact-based conclusions. It's just -- easier.

Well we're not big fans of unschooled stone-casting. So we ask of anyone who might be interested in seeing this decision overturned: Do everyone a favor and listen not to the truncated talking points that our opponents are disseminating, but rather to the full gamut of what the justices have said! If our opposition's canned arguments are textbook, then the oral arguments and the ruling are the teacher's edition. If you seriously pore over all of the data and can still in good conscience argue your marriage-deprying points, then that's fine. But please don't do everyone the disservice of relying on what our opponents want you to think was said -- instead rely on what truly was. There's too much at stake for one to cast an uniformed opinion.

***The full set of oral arguments: Audio: West Coast oral [G-A-Y]

***THE RULING: BREAKING: The CA Supremes totally rule! [G-A-Y]

The ADF's video: California Marriage [ADF video via Google Video]

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Your thoughts

I'm not against... as you may know, but I did listen to it all. And I would say that you need to be a pretty literate person, even have taken some law courses to be able to understand some of the almost 'coded' legal phrasing in some of the testimony. You need to know about all the other cases they refer to also. Just as their attorney was almost unable to present a coherent case against, those listening probably just will not HEAR what is really being said. Good try though if some do and realize it was a very well argued case .... on our side.

Posted by: lOrion | May 16, 2008 4:46:00 PM

He argues out of one side of his duplicitous mouth that marriage needs to be protected from the evil hordes so that the blessed couples can procreate – but then hides behind privacy clauses to argue from the other side of his pie-hole that marriage shouldn’t be limited to just those fertile and actively-breeding breeders who are procreatin'.

The court also didn’t seem impressed with his argument that anti-miscegenation laws were overturned because of the Reconstruction Amendments. So, basically, they shot holes in all of his arguments. Talk about a tough audience!

Maybe, instead of being the joke, he should have started with a joke? ;)

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 16, 2008 4:48:18 PM

Slate has several articles that have been posted to their blogs over the past two days that are very interesting. I finally got the chance to read through them late this afternoon.

One of the most interesting is from Doug Kmiec who was one of the attorneys responsible for drafting a brief to this court arguing that marriage should remain an institution for a man and a woman. His article is interesting because he seems to agree with the decision of the court (or at least he can find no fault with their reasoning.) http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/convictions/archive/2008/05/15/in-re-california-marriage-cases-something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue.aspx

It is also important that this court found that gays are a suspect-class (which means that we historically have been discriminated against by the very government that is charged with protecting us.) That fact, by and of itself, may be sufficient grounds to challenge any constitutional amendment that reinstates that bias in the US Supreme Court as a suspect class. Where, we also would benefit from “strict scrutiny” by the US Supreme Court of any biased piece of legislation.

And I am taking a big leap here by adding my own prediction that the US Supreme Court’s “strict scrutiny” of a biased California Amendment might spur the Court to step in and rule that ALL legislation throughout the US biased against homosexuals is constitutionally suspect.

That could open the door to legalized same-sex marriage throughout the US – and an end to institutionalized discrimination against us.

So, the fact that these anti-gay groups have labored so long and hard to keep the LGBT community excluded from marriage, may in fact be the biggest reason that it eventually happens. This constitutional amendment (if it passes) could be the final nail in the proverbial coffin for the anti-gay bias that is so prevalent today.

But that is just my opinion, and given my current state of inebriation, may just be a figment of my overactive imagination.

The other Slate articles are here:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/convictions/archive/tags/california+gay+marriage/default.aspx

Dick Mills

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 17, 2008 1:12:20 AM

After rereading this with a more sober mind, I still can’t see any serious problem with my logic – maybe some of you guys can. Of course, any legal dispute could end up having a coin-flip’s chance of success, and maybe even less given the “hard-ass” factor associated with some of our current US Supreme Court Justices.

But one thing that has colored my opinion thusly is this nagging question that's been wracking around in the back of my head, “Why did the Governator suddenly and unexpectedly do a 180 about-face on same-sex marriage?” He had legislation on his desk twice from the state legislature that would have started this ball rolling forward, and in both cases he vetoed those bills. Yet now, Mr. Anti-Gay doesn’t intend to support the anti-gay amendment; doesn’t make any sense.

At first I was of the opinion that: now that his political career is over (can’t run for Governor again or President), maybe he is throwing us a bone so that we won’t all boycott his next movie. But then I realized that he has pissed off a lot of other Californians and he hasn’t made any attempts at reconciling his differences with any of them. So I threw out that idea.

When I realized that the amendment might be a no-win scenario for the Republicans, I had to wonder is that was his true motivation. There are many brilliant constitutional legal minds in this country, and I certainly am NOT one of them. But if I could put together these pieces, and iff this idea is credible, then certainly some of those counseling him would have been able to make the same connections. Also, he would certainly have been briefed on the details of the ruling well ahead of time (maybe even weeks before his announcement.)

So (and this is the paranoid / cynical / hyper-amped side of me thinking): To the Republicans, opposing the amendment might mean losing California to the “Sodomites,” but “protecting” the rest of the backwards hordes around the country. So it is a justifiable “cut your losses” scenario.

And I fully expect that I am wrong about this, but it does make some sense to me at least. I should probably cut back on the espresso.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 18, 2008 2:22:35 AM

Let's see comment 1 inebriated, comment 2 espresso. Well I like comment 1 best even before the beverage disclosure, In fact I like it a LOT, I even HOPE a heck of a lot of it comes to pass. Along with the knowledge that the CA SCourt has said that ALL discrimination against ANY sexual orientation is wrong, and this cannot be overturned by the Amendment, I had heard about the susupect-class and strict scrutiny during the testimony having to discern the meanings at the time, that is what I meant about some of it being tricky to listen to just one off if you aren't a lawyer and hadn't been pickin up the lingo over the years. Just all good.

Now about our Guv... dunno. He is an effective politician with an actors timing, yes I get the feeling that he had been evolving his own ideas about it over the years, just as we all have, and even more so as those out-of-state wingers had come in to get signatures, so he just 'announced' at the time he felt would be most effective. Worked pretty well I think. I feel he will be a very valuable asset for the November vote, especially as he is considered to be a Reaganite Republican... a few meeting, speeches in So. and Central California could really help. He needs to gauge the winds first, and
as one columnist said his biggest contribution may be as a money gatherer.

Nice comments Dick

Posted by: LOrion | May 19, 2008 10:36:29 AM

Here this from PHB: re the People Coming to get Married Here.
A new set of allies
I think this means we are getting a new set of allies in the upcoming election battle, California's business interests. Arnolds' pledge to support the Supreme Courts' decision and oppose the anti marriage initiative I think was also driven by business interests as are most of his decisions. I don't think California's business elite has missed the exodus of LGBT people from some of the states with more virulent anti-marriage amendments to Massachusetts. They want talented LGBT people moving into California not out of the state.

I had been thinking about this before the decision came out. Yes he/we do not want wonderful LGBT people moving out of California.

Of course another whole component is that this is the first state to legalize that does not have a residency requirement... all others have a year. So it makes it a fairly easy propostition to come.... and then go back... and work hard to get their perfectly legal marriages legitimized!!! Come one Come all... and once Nov is over we'll all work right along with you for national scope.

Posted by: LOrion | May 19, 2008 10:47:53 AM


I'm hardly an expert in legal-speak, but it sounded to me like Mr. Lavy dug a big logical hole for himself and the justices just pushed him in, particularly wrt procreation.

Alan Shore he's not.

Posted by: dave b | May 19, 2008 11:52:45 AM

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