Trial in Prop 8 Case Is Challenged

Adam Liptak reports in The New York Times:

"The trial took place in January, but Judge Walker has not yet scheduled closing arguments. In the meantime, the defendants and their allies are calling the legitimacy of the proceedings into question.

...'As far as our research has been able to turn up,' Charles Cooper, the lead lawyer for the defendants [supporters of Prop 8] said, 'we can’t find that any of the marriage cases, the dozen or so that have proceeded around the country, actually submitted issues of fact to trial.'

...That was mostly true. But it overlooked the first big same-sex marriage case, which featured a state-court trial in Hawaii in 1996. After hearing weeks of testimony, Judge Kevin Chang ruled that the state had failed to produce 'sufficient credible evidence' to exclude same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. A 1998 ballot initiative essentially overturned that ruling.

Evan Wolfson [Executive Director of the Freedom to Marry] was one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the Hawaii case. 'There is a lot of déjà vu here,' Mr. Wolfson said. 'In the 14 years since Hawaii, the antigay forces have not come up with a good argument.'

Public opinion has shifted in the intervening years. In 1996, Mr. Wolfson said, public support for same-sex marriage was at 27 percent. These days, the numbers have tightened considerably. Forty-eight percent of California voters opposed Proposition 8."

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