Does anyone else share my feeling that these proceedings are a bit weird and irrelevant? I feel very sorry for anyone forced into these horrendous homophobic therapies but this is a separate issue from equal marriage rights for all. God knows no-one has ever been asked his/her sexual orientation before being granted a marriage certifate for getting hitched to someone of the opposite sex. Closeted married gays and lesbians know that well enough.
The other stuff about the scale of popular initiatives against l&g people and the lunacy of the mentioned antigaymarriage campaigner is much more on the ball.
I sort of agree with Riondo’s point about the abused teenager’s testimony – It’s horrible that he had to go through such a dispicable thing, but it seems a little irrelevant to the discussion of gay marriage rights. Although I do think the trial is an important step to beginning a rational, sane national conversation about basic respect for other human beings with regard to gay rights.
Those who seek to ban gay marriage in America try to frame homosexuality as an aberrant behaviour. As if those who are gay refuse to give up their deviance; that they could if they only tried hard enough.
By this skewed reasoning, giving legal protection to homosexuals removes the incentive to change. Allowing gays to marry does also.
These wingnuts think that if only society would make life unbearable for gays they would see sense, stopped indulging in their ‘unnatural lifestyles’ and settle down and marry a person of the opposite gender as they ought to.
The case of this young man is an argument against this angle.
It’s relevant because the court will decide whether sexual orientation constitutes what’s called a suspect class. Suspect class groups are granted a greater level of protection by the courts and laws perceived to discriminate on the basis of suspect classifications are put under heightened levels of scrutiny and are more easily struck down.
A couple of the criteria for being a suspect class is whether a group has suffered a history of discrimination and whether that group posses an immutable characteristic. The reason I imagine for this man’s testimony on his horrific experience with ‘conversion therapy’ is to show that gays and lesbians continue to be victims of discrimination and that sexual orientation is not changeable.
“It’s relevant because the court will decide whether sexual orientation constitutes”
I take your point moamaom but in most of the more educated parts of the world we’ve moved on a bit from the arguments the US appears to be having, so for many of us, some of the stuff that is coming out in court is a bit bizarre.
I’m not saying everything is perfect here but public opinion has moved forward more or less hand in hand with legal reforms, and I think most people on the street in this country would accept that conversion therapy is torture and abuse under another name.
These trials and tribulations our U.S. LGBTQI community currently endure are real. The fact they may be shocking in some of the more accepting parts of the world do not make them any less real. Being a gay man I feel the entire world should be standing with us instead of pointing fingers!
Although both sides are grandstanding in a very high profile case, the only opportunity to get facts into the record is in this court room. With two high profile lawyers leading the charge for the plaintiffs, they will have spent hundreds of hours working out what to include.
Check out http://www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2003/june/halpernC39172.htm for what the Ontario Court of Appeal had to consider to find discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (I know it’s a different constitution with different judicial approaches but the arguments are so familiar and the good guys won!)
Both sides are grandstanding? I don’t think so. In terms of rendering a decision, the court must be presented with all the facts, positions and opinions available. The respondants will present every old wives tale they can conjure as if so-called “common sense” is proven fact rather than anecdote, assertion or religion inspired magical thinking. It’s up to the plaintiffs to present every verifiable, scientifically demonstrable and first person testimonial corroboration of both the individual plaintiffs’ positions as well as counter to every prejudicial justification of society-at-large’s oppression of LGBT citizens. I acknowledge that most of the politically democratic, developed world has moved on, including most of the UK Commonwealth, Scandinavia and greater Europe. The United States lags behind because of the populace controlling factor embraced by Conservative politics there. Almost every prejudice against LGBT people worldwide is inspired by Abrahamic religious dogma, an enduring vestige of the evils of colonial imperialism. Slowly, but surely, even the US will rid itself, under the protection of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of and freedom FROM religion, of the tyranny of the masses as dictated by religious dogma and the Abrahamic tradition’s (Judeo-Christian/Islamic) perniciously capricious, politically inspired pseudo-morality.