This Week at the Prop. 8 Trial

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What do you mean Prop. 8 is biased?
For those who want the short and sweet of the ongoing trial meant to determine whether Prop. 8 violates the right to equal protection under the Constitution of the United States, here's a handy summary of what went on this week -- which started on Tuesday instead of Monday because of some dude who helped a lot of other people get equal rights, or something.

Tuesday: San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders recounted his personal turn-around on gay rights issues. Finding out that his daughter was a lesbian, Sanders -- a Republican who once pledged he'd veto a city-council resolution backing same-sex marriage -- was thrown into a crisis of conscience. The court viewed a tape of Sanders breaking down in tears as he explained his change of heart and decision to sign the 2008 resolution. His initial stance was based on prejudice, he admitted. Not ostensibly a good day for backers of Prop. 8, who are trying to prove that their legislation wasn't based on any deep-seated bias.

Wednesday: Stanford political science professor Gary Segura told the court that gays and lesbians have it really hard, politically, in America. (Political power is one of the factors the court must weigh when determining whether the equal protections clause has been violated). President Obama pretends he's down with the gays, Segura said, but does nothing concrete for their benefit. Furthermore, 200 gay-unfriendly initiatives have appeared on state and local ballots, and 70 percent have passed.

Thursday: The director of the Traditional Family Coalition, William Tam -- a much-reviled man 'round these parts -- took the stand, and admitted he believes letting gay people get married will pave the way for pedophilia, incest, and polygamy. (According to a Web site he runs, gays are precisely 12 percent more likely to molest kids than heterosexuals.). At issue was how closely a man whose views most people would view as "bigoted" worked with the Yes on 8 Campaign, and whether his inflammatory statements should be considered when determining the purpose of Prop. 8.

Friday: Social psychologist and U.C. Davis researcher Gregory Herek enlightened the court on how homosexuality is not a mental disorder, nor is it usually a choice. The testimony was meant to show that sexual orientation cannot easily be changed. Plaintiffs plan to wrap their case on Monday. Then it's the defendants' shot.

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