Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Perry v. Schwarzenegger Day Two

Sorry for not getting this up sooner. I'm finding it a bit of a nightmare to try and follow the trial on Twitter through the evening, but there seems to be an emerging consensus in the blogosphere that the best source for trial info is a blog run by the Courage Campaign. Courage Campaign describes it's aims as: 'The Courage Campaign is an online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change and equality in California and across the country. As a leading multi-issue advocacy organization in the progressive movement, the Courage Campaign's work is made possible by thousands of small-dollar donations from community members.

Whether it's helping kill the GOP's electoral college initiative "dirty trick," count the infamous "double bubble" votes in Los Angeles after Super Tuesday, or push for the ultimate closure of the "yacht tax loophole," the Courage Campaign has waged many successful campaigns.
Our partners include, CREDO Mobile, Democracy for America,, California Nurses Association, National Union of Healthcare Workers and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles.

The Courage Campaign is also an affiliate member of the Progress Now national network of statewide advocacy organizations. Our online organizing tools are powered by Blue State Digital, a leader in online fundraising, social networking, and constituency development programs for clients including Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, and the Alliance for Climate Protection.'

So now you know. The Prop 8 Trial tracker website is designed, in the words of Courage Campaign 'to get the truth out'. They add that 'as the trial Prop 8 unfolds, we can expect right-wing organizations like the National Organization for Marriage and their allies to continue their misinformation campaign to undermine the proceedings and reframe the debate about marriage equality.'

The trial tracker site can be accessed here and I think it's the best source for info on the trial. The Advocate has posted another summary too and that can be viewed here.
For me, the highlight of day two was the evidence of George Chauncey which also dominated the trial. Those students that I teach should be familiar with his work (if not LAW326 students, you might want to be before you hand your assignment in - hint hint!) along with many others. His Book, Gay New York is an excellent text that offers an historical overview of gay life. Chauncey was asked a series of questions that go beyond the narrow question of law and are worth reading in full here. One aspect that leapt out is the examination of the relationship between the Police and gay groups specifically in relation to the offence of solicitation for sex by one man to another:
'There were approximately 50,000 arrests under this charge from 1924 to the 1960s when then-Mayor Lindsay disallowed the police from using entrapment to arrest homosexuals. Similar laws were in place in other states, such as California.
TS: What effect did these laws have on gay people?
C: One effect was to register society’s disapproval of homosexuals. Sodomy laws were used to keep gay soldiers out of the army. It stood as a sign disapproval of homosexuals. A phenomenal number of people ran a foul of the law.
TS: Did it affect people who wanted to go out in public?
C: It did for some. At times when there were police crackdowns, people were very careful about going out in public. Disorderly conduct charges were not that serious in and of themselves, but it opened people up to more problems. Police would call their parents, landlords and work place to confirm data. So that would lead to them being known homosexuals which could lead to loss of jobs and homes, which sometimes it did lead to.

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