Prop. 8 Case's Closing Arguments Finally Scheduled

The long-awaited closing arguments in the long-delayed federal court case against California's anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 have finally been scheduled for mid-June.

That'll be a relief to foes of Prop. 8, considering the setbacks inflicted on gay marriage in New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere.

Overturning Prop. 8 in federal court would help trump those setbacks, but don't get all giddy. The continued fighting over documents that has helped put the West Coast trial into a state of suspended animation may very well continue.

Powerhouse attorneys David Boies and Bush solicitor general Theodore Olsen, fighting in defense of gay marriage, will get their chance on June 16 to sum it all up against the State of California in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The case began months ago in federal court in San Francisco, under Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.

The proceedings started in January, but after two weeks of hearings — which Walker planned to broadcast on YouTube until the Supreme Court scuttled that — the case bogged down. Opponents of Prop. 8 balked at turning over documents from the 2008 campaign to Prop. 8's sponsors. But earlier this week, the AP says, "Equality California and the American Civil Liberties Union finally agreed yesterday to supply the disputed documents."

Now Protect Marriage, the coalition responsible for putting Prop. 8 on the ballot in the first place, wants to withdraw its own material. Suddenly embarrassed by the breadth and ridiculousness of some of its claims, Protect Marriage wants to retract material that has already been entered into the record.

The material includes, the AP notes, "some of the trial's most explosive elements, such as writings that claimed gays are more likely to be pedophiles and that allowing them to wed would cause young people to become homosexual."

Such crackpot material has long been used by opponents of gay marriage and other rights. In 1992, for example, proponents of Colorado's anti-gay-rights Amendment 2 flooded the state the weekend before the vote with thousands of pamphlets with such twisted info. The tactic worked, and Colorado voters passed the measure. Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional.


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