Prop 8 defendants fight gay man's testimony

Ryan Kendall took the witness stand Wednesday in the Prop 8 trial in San Francisco federal court.

January 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A heart-wrenching story unfolded in the Proposition 8 trial Wednesday morning. A Colorado man described how his parents forced him into a conversion therapy program when they found out his was gay.

Ryan Kendall testified that when he was 13, his parents found out he was gay and forced him into sexual identity conversion programs.

"He didn't want to change his sexual orientation because his sexual orientation was a part of his identity just like he said, 'Just like I'm short and I'm partially Hispanic,'" said 'No On 8' attorney Theodore Olson.

Lawyers opposed to the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage called Kendall to testify to dispute the Prop 8 proponents' claim that for many sexual orientation is a matter of choice.

"Well as far as Mr. Kendall is concerned, I think that it demonstrates that his testimony had nothing to do with our brief," said 'Yes On 8' attorney Austin Nimocks.

Wednesday afternoon Stanford political science professor Gary Segura testified about the impact of churches in coordinating and fundraising for the "Yes On 8" campaign.

Lawyers for Prop 8 pointed out that gay and lesbian groups actually raised more money than the churches.

And we saw portions of depositions from "Yes On 8" witnesses, that seemed to support the "No On 8" argument.

A lawyer asked "Would you agree that up until the last 50 years, both religion and societies have been very hostile to homosexuals?" 'Yes On 8' witness, Professor Paul Nathanson, Ph.D., replied "Yes."

"The defendants experts admitted that what gays and lesbians faced in this country was religious generated hostility," said 'No On 8' attorney Davis Boies.

"They chose those portions of the deposition they thought were beneficial to their case, but there's a lot, there's two sides to the story," said Nimocks.

Lawyers for "Yes On 8" say they will present their own portions of those depositions, when they begin to present their side of this case due to begin this Friday.