Defense presents first witness in Prop 8 case

January 25, 2010 7:51:48 PM PST
Lawyers for Proposition 8 began presenting their side in San Francisco's U.S. District Court. After two weeks, opponents to the state's same-sex marriage ban rested their case, but not before introducing some controversial videos.

In federal court on Monday morning, lawyers opposed to the same-sex marriage ban played excepts from a Prop 8 rally simulcast to church groups during the campaign.

The opponents to Prop 8 played the video, in an attempt to show that the Yes on 8 campaign was using unreasonable arguments to play on the fears of voters.

"Here you had this campaign of falsehood being maintained and being perpetrated against a minority group to take their rights away," No on 8 attorney Theodore Boutrous said.

The Yes on 8 campaign admits it paid for the simulcasts to California church groups, but lawyers arguing for the marriage ban say they didn't control what was said during those rallies, nor do they agree with the more extreme statements.

"Evidence, there is plenty of evidence that the campaign was resisting and counseling against certain messages that people that we didn't have control over were out there promoting. Absolutely," Yes on 8 attorney Andrew Pugno said.

The first witness for the Yes on 8 campaign was Professor Kenneth Miller. He is a political scientist from Claremont McKenna College who testified that gays and lesbians have considerable political power in California.

He pointed to the state's major office holders who opposed Prop 8, and he testified about the amount of money that no one on the No on 8 campaign was able to raise.

ABC 7 Legal Analyst Dean Johnson called it -- the Yes on 8 side's best day so far.

"They put on a fairly persuasive case that within the context of California politics at least, gay and lesbians are represented in proportion to their number, and maybe even beyond the proportions of what their numbers would suggest," he said.

Under cross-examination, Professor Miller admitted that Prop 8 does discriminate. He will be back on the stand on Tuesday.