Prop 8 Attorney Cites ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and ‘Will & Grace’ as Evidence Gay People Do Not Face Discrimination


From Day 3 of the Prop 8 trial via LGBT POV. Karen Ocamb citing some liveblogging of the trial by Davina Kotulski:



Thompson, the smug attorney for the Proponents of Prop 8, is taking
the position that gays are not being discriminated against any more and
so that cannot be the reason that Prop 8 passed.

He makes a point and then asks Professor Chauncey if that is correct.

He’s mentioning Will and Grace, the movie Philadelphia, and
Brokeback mountain as evidence that LGBT people are not being
discriminated again.


Did I miss something? Nancy Pelosi is our fierce advocate?

Thompson says she is.

Thompson-“Homosexuals couldn’t get hearings in the 1950s, but today
you have Barney Frank and he’s a powerful ally of gays and lesbians,

Thompson, “You have AIDS funding, isn’t that important to gays and lesbians, correct?”

Thompson, “Thousands of employers have non-discrimination policies,


The citation was confirmed via Twitter by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (top).


  1. Turlie HK says

    If that’s you case, explain to me why it took the United States of America 24 Years to end Segregation of the african-american community after Hattie McDaniel was awarded an Oscar (1940)? I am really curious what history book the YES on 8 people read in Jr. High???????

  2. Rowan says

    Interesting because this is a very right wing argument he is putting forward and I wonder what Olson will say, especially after he got affirmitive action dismissed.

    As a black person, I got this argument ALL the time growing up in Europe and lol, Europe in the 80’s was not that diverse…AT ALL but they would site stuff like this to prove their is no racism around and that it is all in your imagination.

  3. JR says

    WTF?????????????? Seriously? That sounds incredibly desperate. Sounds like they know there isn’t much hope in winning here so they’re gonna throw this and wait till it goes to the Supreme Court.

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  4. Rob says

    To quote my coworker, “For christ’s sake, that’s like saying “Good Times” is proof there’s no discrimination against black people.

  5. says

    Yes, because a movie about two closeted cowboys with an unhappy ending shows how far we’ve come (and I loved Brokeback, but come on!).

    If all it took was a movie winning an Oscar to end gay bashing (and a cursory glance at this site shows that practice is alive and well), employment discrimination, housing discrimination, adoption discrimination, then it would have happened a long time ago.

    This line of reasoning gets me so angry.

  6. latebrosus says

    And the Xians have Kirk Cameron & Left Behind and Mel Gibson & The Passion of the Christ. Therefore Tony Perkins should shut up about the “discrimination” Xians suffer (pulled yard signs, etc.)

    (Xians also have VeggieTales, but perhaps we can lay claim to Lazytown?)

  7. Raul says

    And what was the ending for those characters?

    They all have to die or end up single so society can say: its ok. There is never a happy ending for a gey role in POP TV.

  8. Leto says

    I guess he failed to watch all of “Brokeback Mountain” where the main character is murdered for being gay. Now that is really non-discriminatory! What an idiot!

  9. SmartAss says

    So far, their legal arguments have just been silly and weak (bible says its so, Will and Grace means equal rights) …

    If they keep it up, they are digging their own grave. More power to them …

  10. David in Houston says

    So offensive and insulting. The attorney that used that as a legal argument should be disbarred for incompetency.

  11. Sudschick says

    This is NOT as much about GAY MARRIAGE as it is about EQUAL rights. When we as Americans don’t fight for everyone’s rights, we are in jeopardy of losing our own. This country has made huge mistakes throughout history (The Salem Witch trials, SLAVERY, discrimination …still, locking up Japanese AMERICANS, WOMENS rights…the list goes on and on)Don’t let this be another one. No matter WHAT you think about the issue on a personal level, please fight for EQUAL rights!
    This video is very powerful. Please watch it and pass it around to everyone.

  12. crispy says

    “I guess he failed to watch all of “Brokeback Mountain” where the main character is murdered for being gay. ”

    Well, that is actually not how Brokeback Mountain ends. But that’s neither here nor there.

  13. Cameron Johnson says

    He can’t be making that argument seriously — there’s got to be some sort of larger point afoot. Otherwise, he’s just insulting intelligence — generally.

  14. matt says

    i’m with JR and Cameron… unfortunately, methinks this is part of a plan to intentionally throw the case and save their “big guns” (if they have them) for the supreme court, whee we all know this is going to end up…

  15. says

    When Brokeback Mountain came out I was living in Johnson City, TN. It’s probably the most gay-friendly city in Tennessee, due to the influence of East Tennessee State University. That still didn’t help me feel safe enough to go see it in the one theater within 45 miles that had the guts to play it. He’s an idiot.

  16. Baby Jane says

    Apparently they didn’t watch these movies/tv shows, since they clearly depict in them HOW inequality exists and afflicts the lives of GLBTQ Americans.


  17. says

    First, to a previous commenter – I must make a distinction here between Christians and “religious” people. There are many gay people who are Christians, who understand the message of the Christian New Testament to be love of everyone.

    On the focus of this story, I find myself wondering if we will live to see the day that such discrimination does not exist on such a grand scale.

  18. Observer1000 says

    This is as good as the lame answer in pre-trial by the Prop 8 attorney that he did not know of any negative consequences of same-sex marriage.

    Barney Frank may have called Scalia a homophobe but nobody’s ever said he’s a stupid homophobe. C’mon anti-gay folks, help poor old Scalia out. Are we banning same-sex marriage because it’s immoral and the protect children libel (at least Scalia can go for that) or because Will and Grace was a hit TV show (only Carrie what-her-name would buy that one)?

    But thanks for putting it in the court record.

  19. Observer1000 says

    Sorry for the Guiliani moment: I meant the Prop 8 attorney did not know of any negative consequences of same-sex marriage on hetero marriage.

  20. Rolph says

    Philadelphia was about a gay man with HIV facing discrimination in the workplace.
    Brokeback was about 2 men who were so in fear of their lives that they had to meet in secret, and ended with the audience believing one of them had been murdered after being found out.
    Great examples by the HATERS!!!

  21. anon says

    Holy fucking shit that is revolting.

    I just don’t see how they can even hope to win with crap like that.

  22. Trasker says

    The counterargument here is not in the story. It is in the fact that two straight actors play these roles. Not that sexuality has anything to do with role playing there just aren’t any out gay male actors of the calibre needed to get projects funded or be the commercial success this one was. Oh, and one of the stars of W & G remains in the closet to avoid employment discrimination.

  23. Josh says

    haha whoever said someone was murdered in Brokeback Mountain needs to go back and re watch that movie, no one was murder. Lol! Seriously what movie were you watching?

    Anyhoo I agree this is a stupid argument by people who don’t understand the gay community, at all.

  24. steve says


    stupidity knows no bounds

    just like “Chico & the Man” is evidence that Mexican-Americans had equally respect as affluent whites in the 70’s


    stupid stupid stupid

  25. SF_Scottie says

    I say “Keep brining this shit on.” Interesting that they are so defensless when they don’t have a scary 30-second tv spot to spook the shit out of whoever is watching… “The gays are coming for your children!”

  26. says

    I’m really hoping that they formulated their Brokeback Mountain argument at the last moment as opposed to believing that it holds any kind of strength.

    I also question what on earth either have to do with gay marriage. Effectively that argument is saying if you’re not discriminated against in one area then it’s perfectly fine to be discriminated against in another area.

    Truly ridiculous.

  27. BobN says

    “haha whoever said someone was murdered in Brokeback Mountain needs to go back and re watch that movie”

    Right. The nice men with the tire irons were just lending a hand.

  28. eastsidekate says

    Um, I believe Will & Grace, Philadelphia, and Brokeback Mountain all involved gay men. So, um, what about the lesbian plantiffs? Seriously, these lawyers aren’t even succeeding in misusing their own tortured logic.

  29. Rowan says

    @ Jr and fans of Jr

    We’re all intelligent…

    What do you think their arguments can be..logically and rationally?

    What more can they say? What IS their argument?

  30. crispy says

    “Right. The nice men with the tire irons were just lending a hand.”

    Uh, the nice men with the tire irons didn’t exist. They were Ennis Del Mar’s imagination and what he always assumed would happen to gays, hence why he refused to settle down with Jack.

    Jeez, did people really not get this movie?

  31. bobbyjoe says

    “And what was the ending for those characters?

    Ah, if only that HAD been the ending for “Will and Grace.” Maybe some kind of four-person murder-suicide deal?

  32. One of Many Mikes says

    The defense argument seems so weak because there is no good argument. There is no super argument to be revealed at a later time. We hear these voodoo logic reasons all the time by people who cannot accept that the law must applied equally to all citizens because that’s the law- it’s called the 14th amendment. And just because the law has never been applied equally does not mean it should never be applied equally. And applying the law equally is not an ‘activist judgment’. And just because I’ve been called faggot a zillion times and never lynched doesn’t make me want to trade-in my civil rights for the hope of a more tolerant society.

  33. says

    The ironic thing is that the same folks who now cite Will and Grace as an example of faggot equality, were the same folks who threatened boycotts against advertisers who dared to place ads in that show with the perverts.

  34. Garst says

    So, is this Thompson person spending the night in jail? Because I don’t know any way you can say all those things without showing anything but contempt. Especially the AIDS part. Wow, does he sound arrogant.

  35. Carter Nicholas, Charlottesville says

    I concur with the impression registered above, that the State of California has decided to lose the respect of opinion vendors in aid of appearing the victim of a corrupt venue on appeal. But I have no respect for the contempt heaped here upon the intelligence of this strategem.

    The State’s arguments in favour of the innocuousness of its oppression — to the effect, that the oppressing majority doesn’t hold its cruelty against the repressed minority — is something of a lark ascending into the rarified ether of Kafka and Lewis Carroll, to be shown to be so unresentful of one’s victims. But everyone knows how long the knives are, which the Bush Family Court has sharpened against any movement toward justice in this nation, whether for equal pay for equal work or for actual school desegregation promised 56 years ago. The Bush Family Court has a way of synthesizing a justification for the abuse of liberty without even being asked, as it did in seating the Pretender under Justice Scalia’s stark assertion of his obvious “right” before the case was even argued. We will get more injustice from these clowns, and it will help them, and nourish them, to be able to say how happy the State did appear to be, in its necessary work of denying the equal protection of the laws to residents of California.

  36. Peter says

    Whereas if Thompson cited the more recent “Milk” and its Oscar wins as proof that anti-gay discrimination is a thing of the past, he would have been openly laughed out of court.

  37. says

    Really? Thats their defense strategy?Its amazing the moronic lengths the ‘phobes will go to.

    Last time I checked, “BBM” was about one man’s inability to deal with his sexuality like an adult. He suffered from a severe case of internalized homophobia which is the direct result of a society that treats us as second class citizens and denies us equal rights and privileges, and discrimination on a personal level in our day to day lives.

    “W&G” is exactly what its title suggests. (the show was not called “Will & Jack”). It was a show that was “about” a gay man and his straight girlfriend. However, the only relationship that got any substantial airtime was W&G’s. And they had to balance Jack’s flamboyance with Wills sterility so they wouldn’t scare away straight viewers.

    So, yeah, you’re right. We are treated totally equally. Gosh, thanks for opening my eyes and helping me see the light.

  38. harddavid says

    @Sudschick: THANK YOU!!! You are correct – Prop 8 is about equal rights, not gay marriage. If this nonsense becomes law, we are on a slippery slope that could negatively affect ANYone. Everybody – gay, straight, whatever – should recognize the danger. Prop 8 must go away – for ALL our sakes. The “yes” people are using preposterous arguments like this because they have nothing else. They are bigots – and what makes a bigot? Fear and ignorance. It’s that simple. They just need to open their eyes and recognize what this is really about.