Live Blogging of Closing Arguments in CA Same Sex Marriage Case - Wed., June 16
June 15, 2010
Tomorrow, June 16, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will hear closing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger , the landmark case challenging the constitutional validity of California's "Proposition 8." Proposition 8 amended the California State Constitution to prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex civil marriages performed on or after November 5, 2008.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court barred live video streaming of the trial in a controversial 5-4 decision. Those who are interested may follow live blogging of tomorrow's closing arguments online at http://prop8trialtracker.com . Arguments are tentatively scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. PST and to end shortly before 4:00 p.m. PST.
Perry v. Schwarzenegger should be of interest to CFI supporters for a number of reasons. Most obviously, support for marriage equality is grounded in the humanist ethical values promoted by CFI's Council of Secular Humanism. In addition, the case touches upon issues of both religion and science that are of interest to supporters of the Council and of CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Much of the trial and the commentary it has generated have focused on the religious motives behind anti-gay discrimination, as well as the substantial scientific evidence belying the state's assertion that same-sex relationships harm society or children raised in same-sex households.
The Center of Inquiry has a long and proud history of promoting LGBT dignity and equality. As detailed in our recently-published brochure , in recent years alone CFI has actively defended LGBT rights on a number of fronts, including the following:
- In November 2007, CFI's Office of Public Policy published a research paper exposing the religious prejudices underlying opposition to marriage equality and arguing that LGBT individuals have a civil right to marry. In addition, CFI's Office of Public Policy has lobbied for the repeal of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," a religiously-motivated law that denies federal benefits to same-sex spouses.
- CFI filed amicus briefs in the California and Iowa Supreme Courts arguing that gay marriage bans are grounded in religious intolerance and countering the supposed "expert" opinions of conservative religionists that same-sex marriage harms children, families, and society.
- CFI published a detailed study of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in March 2010, showing that the exclusion of openly gay and lesbian service members compromises the quality and readiness of the U.S. military. CFI's Office of Public Policy also lobbied both the Senate and the House of Representatives in favor of legislation that would end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
- In March 2010, CFI filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that religious student organizations do not have a special constitutional right -- a right denied to secular organizations -- to access public funds while violating public colleges' non-discrimination policies. CFI argued that student groups that want to exclude LGBT students may meet privately but cannot demand public money to fund their discriminatory practices.
- In 2008, CFI published a critique of a civics textbook used in many secondary schools. CFI uncovered the textbook's biased and inaccurate portrayal of the U.S. Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision that decriminalized same-sex intercourse. CFI's report exposed the textbook's belittlement of the impact of state anti-sodomy laws and its endorsement of a politically charged view on the role of courts in upholding the equal rights of LGBT citizens.
- CFI's Office of Public Policy fights for federal legislation that would address the all-too-common bullying and harassment of LGBT students in schools. As a member of the National Safe Schools Partnership, CFI lobbies on behalf of the Safe Schools Improvement Act to "end discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools and for other purposes."
Please visit www.centerforinquiry.net for more updates on the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case. Thank you to all of CFI's supporters who have helped us to defend science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and respect for the rights, dignity, and autonomy of all human beings.