Legal strategies in the Prop 8 trial

Posted on 14 Jan 2010 at 7:51am
Ted Olson
Ted Olson

In the third day of testimony in the Proposition 8 trial in San Francisco, attorney Ted Olson argued that animosity against gays and lesbians was a driving factor in the law.

The Supreme Court has ruled that animus against a group is not a legal basis for forming a law.

As evidence, they showed a video deposition of Hak-Shing William Tam. He sent a letter to Asian Americans claiming that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to legalizing underage sex. Tam is one of the plaintiffs and tried to withdraw from the case this week.

Tam wrote a letter to Asian-Americans encouraging them to vote in favor of Prop. 8. He wrote that voting for gay marriage was the same as legalizing prostitution and could lead to legalizing underage sex.

In his opening statement, Olson said, “Proposition 8, and the irrational pattern of California’s regulation of marriage which it promulgates, advances no legitimate state interest. All it does is label gay and lesbian persons as different, inferior, unequal, and disfavored.”

The main defense argument is that gays and lesbians face no official discrimination in California because the state has domestic partnerships and are not deprived of any fundamental rights.

Tam wrote to supporters that if Prop. 8 failed “other states would fall into Satan’s hand.” That argument has been entered into evidence against him.

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