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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Testimony Ends in Prop. 8 Trial

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Testimony in the trial of Proposition 8 ended after 12 days Wednesday with author and purported marriage expert David Blankenhorn standing by his belief that allowing same-sex couples to marry would weaken the institution of marriage. Under cross-examination Blankenhorn said that though he believed there are valid arguments on both sides of the gay marriage question, he would nonetheless "with some anguish, choose marriage as a public good over the rights and needs of same-sex couples."

Plaintiffs' attorney David Boies asked if Blankenhorn agreed with statements he wrote about the benefits same-sex marriage in his 2007 book, "The Future of Marriage:" that it would improve happiness and well-being for homosexual couples, decrease hate crimes against gays and lesbians and lead to more stable same-sex relationships, with less promiscuity.

Blankenhorn said that he did agree with those statements, but they could be achieved through domestic partnerships.

Blankenhorn, founder of a group called the Institute for American Values, quarreled repeatedly with Boies, objecting to having to answer questions with "yes," "no" or "I don't know," prompting U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to chastise him for his uncooperative and combative behavior.

"Keep in mind that you don't want your demeanor to be viewed unfavorably," Walker said. But Boies and Blankenhorn's verbal sparring elicited laughter at times from Judge Walker, who said he was "amused at the back and forth, as is everyone else here."

In testimony on Tuesday, Blankenhorn said the definition of marriage was "a socially approved sexual relationship between a man and a woman" for the purpose of raising children. During Wednesday's cross examination, Boies noted that Blankenhorn had written in his book that "marriage is always evolving" and "there is no single universal definition of marriage." He asked Blankenhorn if still believed that.

Blankenhorn replied, "Of course I do. I wrote them."

Most of the plaintiffs' more than two dozen witnesses were professors who disagreed with Blankenhorn's assertion that allowing homosexuals to marry would adversely affect heterosexual marriage. Though Blankenhorn was unable to provide examples of scholars or experts who agreed with his views, he insisted that scholars would agree with him.

Walker gave both sides until Feb. 26 to submit final documents supporting their views, after which he will schedule closing arguments.

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