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Prop. 8 Judge Put the Facts on Trial—and Gays Win

LGBTs celebrate the Gay marriage decision handed down August 4. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

A United States District Judge has ruled that California’s anti-Gay marriage law, Proposition 8, violates the Constitution, denies Lesbian and Gay people who wish to marry partners of their own choosing due process and the equal protection of the law, and discriminates on the basis of sex and sexual orientation.

The case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and eventually Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan will decide it with their colleagues. No one is predicting the outcome. The High Court currently looks anti-Gay, but Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote in every 5-4 decision the Court hands down, will have the last word.

That’s the news, but what does it mean, besides another convulsion in the world’s long and tortured history of figuring out whether Gay people are abominable scum or the best thing since Elton John?

I suspect that a lot will turn on the trial just concluded in California, because the judge there, Vaughn Walker, did something truly remarkable, yet utterly mundane and judicial: he put the facts on trial.

He took all the claims that LGBT advocates make, and all the counter-arguments of anti-Gay campaigners, and sorted through them one by one to ask, “Which of these are actually true? What can be objectively believed? What is mere hyperbole or exaggeration? What is nothing but spin and ideology?”

And most important of all, he asked, “What in all these statements is really prejudice, made to sound reasonable?”

He was as tough in questioning the Gay side as he was with the defenders of traditional marriage. He scared me a time or two; he made everyone defend their positions, back up their claims, give him some proof.

It wasn’t “Law and Order,” but he really wanted to know beyond a reasonable doubt that Col. Mustard did it in the ballroom with the candlestick. Don’t claim it was the rope if it was the candlestick.

The Prop. 8 proponents claimed they were protecting children; so he put child-rearing on trial. Do kids raised by Straight people turn out better than kids raised by Gay people?

Well, no; the social science is already done on that question. The children of Gay parents score higher on certain measures of adjustment, and otherwise they’re pretty much like any other kids. That’s the fact, established in his courtroom.

So how exactly does it protect children to discriminate against Gay adults?

Time and again the Prop. 8 proponents had to backtrack. Here’s how the Los Angeles Times reported it:

The backers of Proposition 8 called only two witnesses, and both made concessions under cross-examination that helped the other side.

The Prop. 8 proponents claimed they had other expert witnesses lined up, but they chickened out; listen to their excuse.

The sponsors complained that Walker’s pretrial rulings had been unfair and that some of their prospective witnesses decided not to testify out of fear for their safety.

So once again we hear the claim that sissyboys who can’t even throw a baseball magically turn into rapists.

The violence surrounding Gay issues is entirely directed at Gay people; but still these so-called Christians tell these lies.

It’s far more likely that Prop. 8’s “experts” got photographed in Miami last week with a hustler from rentboy.com.

On every point of contention—being Gay is a choice; Gay marriage is dangerous for children; religious rights to discriminate are being trampled; Gay marriage devalues “traditional” marriage—the bigots lost on the facts.

And that’s going to make Justice Scalia’s upcoming rant much harder to pull off.

LGBT people have always known that if our claims were ever examined objectively, we’d win; and our opponents have always known that too. But they persist; prejudice makes money, that’s why it exists.

It impoverishes society, but it enriches those who own the means of producing it.

In the 51 years since the Wolfenden Report and the 41 years since the Stonewall Riots, GLBT people have had to look deep inside ourselves to discover whether, as advertised, we are abominable scum. We were raised by Straight people, back in the days when everyone believed we were abominable scum, so what if they were right?

As a horrid king of England once said, “I thought men like that shot themselves.”

No, kingy, men like you shoot us instead.

Every question ever asked is one we’ve dealt with, every doubt, every stereotype, every accusation. We’ve even turned to God and asked him. (Turns out God’s cool with Gay people.)

Judge Walker put all those questions on trial, and has done the world a service.

Will the professional bigots now slink away in shame? Hell no, the Ku Klux Klan’s still operating ten miles up the road.

Finally, a matter of some interest to Episcopalians, who have been forced into lawsuits, schism and war over whether God is cool with Gay people: the house organ of Episcopal bigotry, a commercial website known as Viagraville, has taken little official notice of Judge Walker’s decision.

He has demolished every argument they ever made; so they’re trying to ignore him, though they have allowed a few attacks on the judge’s sexual orientation. Otherwise their site is filled with trivia and claims that Christians are “victimized.”

You cannot build a lasting church on hate when your Bible says God is love. I mean, how lunatic can you get?

It will work for awhile—the Flat Earth Society still has potlucks twice a year—but the longterm prospects are not good. Meanwhile they’re busy telling each other that The Episcopal Church is soon to fall.

The Church I know is rather happily carrying on, with a bit of a spring in its step today. Why?

Because long before Judge Vaughn Walker came along, the Church put the facts on trial and found that yes, it was Col. Mustard in the ballroom with the candlestick.

We will never resolve the existence of evil in the world, especially when there’s money to be made. The motive for robbery and murder is not far removed from what powers the Klan, the Flat-Earthers and Viagraville: I want what you’ve got, so I’m taking it.

I can’t wait to see Antonin Scalia pop a vein.++