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Prop 8 Trial Update: Gary Segura, William Tam, Day 9

Today at the Prop 8 trial, via AFER:

Taking the stand ... will be Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. a Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis. He will testify about the nature of sexual orientation; how mainstream mental health professionals and behavioral scientists regard homosexuality; the benefits conferred by marriage; stereotypes relating to lesbians and gay men; stigma and prejudice directed at lesbians and gay men; the harm to lesbians and gay men and their families as a consequence of being denied the right to marry; and how the institution of domestic partnerships differs from that of marriage and is linked with antigay stigma.

 Shannon Minter has a great wrap-up of yesterday's trial activities at Pam's House Blend, first on the continuing testimony of Professor Gary Segura:

Despite repeated promptings from Judge Walker to move things along, Thompson presented Professor Segura with repetitive examples of celebrities, prominent politicians, religious organizations, and businesses that have expressed support for LGBT people.  On redirect (brilliantly conducted by Ted Boutrous of Gibson Dunn), Professor Segura demolished Thompson's attempt to paint a false picture of LGBT people as politically powerful.  In a few short strokes, Professor Segura explained that it is meaningless to compare only the number of groups on each side, without looking at their size, influence, and ability to mobilize voters.  For example, while hundreds of churches opposed Prop 8, literally thousands supported it.  By any reasonable measure, Professor Segura explained, the Prop 8 proponents were able to garner a magnitude of support that dwarfed that given to the other side.

And then on the "hostile witness" William Hak-Shing Tam:Tam

Dr. Tam testified that he is the Secretary of an organization,, whose website states that "studies show that homosexuality is linked to pedophilia," and that "homosexuals are 12 times more likely to abuse children." Dr. Tam testified that, to this day, he believes those statements are true.  Dr. Tam acknowledged that another document he authored in support of Prop. 8 claimed that after winning marriage equality, LGBT people intended to "legalize having sex with children." Dr. Tam also acknowledged saying, as reported in the San Jose Mercury News, "We hope to convince Asian-Americans that gay marriage will cause more children to experiment with the gay lifestyle, and that lifestyle comes with all kinds of disease."

Boies wrapped up Dr. Tam's testimony by establishing that the Yes on 8 campaign had a tightly coordinated public messaging policy, that the campaign coalition was well aware of Dr. Tam's website, and that the campaign never asked him to take down any of the material on his website linking homosexuality with pedophilia.

It was clear by the end of Boies's questioning that no matter how hard the official Prop 8 campaign might try to distance itself from Dr. Tam's shocking anti-gay rhetoric and lies, Dr. Tam spoke as an official proponent who was also a day-to-day leader with real influence in the campaign.

The Mercury News reports:

"Earlier in the trial, a Cambridge University professor testified that there is no evidence to suggest that gays are more likely to molest children than heterosexuals. During a news conference outside court, lawyer Andy Pugno, who represents Proposition 8 backers, said Tam had 'next to nothing' to do with the campaign, even though he was one of the measure's official proponents. Tam said he spent a lot of time working on the campaign and frequently communicated with its leaders but modestly added he did not consider himself a major player."

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  1. I'd like get a big ol' egg roll right out of a deep fryer and stick it right up "Doctor" Tam's ass!

    Posted by: Tralfaz | Jan 22, 2010 2:15:18 PM

  2. How can a Doctor be this ignorant?

    Posted by: John Normile | Jan 22, 2010 2:28:57 PM

  3. @Tralfaz: Racism in the gay community is one of the reasons why Prop 8 prevailed. Had the gay community organized and canvassed communities of color we may have won. Instead, they focused solely on already liberal and mostly white communities.

    Posted by: shoepins | Jan 22, 2010 2:59:35 PM

  4. Ok, it really seems to me that the defense in this case has to have orchestrated such a monumental fuck up in anticipation on victory at The Supreme Court level. I mean really, Dr. Tam??? Perhaps I'm only getting the half of the trial that I'm interested in, but even during cross, the defense sounds brain dead. I am hesitant to feel good about this.

    Posted by: JR | Jan 22, 2010 3:24:23 PM

  5. how would tam feel if people made these attacks on Asian Americans based on lies and half truths. he would be the first to complain about his civil rights . he makes all these statements and blogs then feels he is being picked on he should be picked on or worse

    Posted by: walter | Jan 22, 2010 3:30:27 PM

  6. Spare me the lecture, shoepins.

    Posted by: Tralfaz | Jan 22, 2010 5:53:15 PM

  7. Well, JR, I agree with you in part. It may not make any difference at all what arguments they make if this reaches the current SCOTUS. Logic, law, the constitution, nothing makes any difference. Only politics. It's a right wing activist court under Roberts and it will do whatever the hell it pleases. I'm hoping a few of them die off before this gets there.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Jan 22, 2010 5:53:37 PM

  8. What hell hole did they find this "Doctor" Tam in?!

    Posted by: jaragon | Jan 22, 2010 6:15:04 PM

  9. I love the way Tam objects during his examination " I never knew that as a Chinese person I would be facing a lawyer asking me all of these questions!"

    Well, yes, Tam, that's how we roll in America. And BTW aren't you an American?

    Posted by: Christopher | Jan 22, 2010 7:15:03 PM

  10. Why all this anti-Asian sentiment? You do know that the only 2 racial groups where a majority voted AGAINST prop 8 were Asians and Whites. Anyway, it's more a matter of religion than it is of race, Mr. Tam as I recall is a Christian of the psycho-bigot persuasion.

    Posted by: David | Jan 22, 2010 7:36:54 PM

  11. "Racism in the gay community is one of the reasons why Prop 8 prevailed. Had the gay community organized and canvassed communities of color we may have won. Instead, they focused solely on already liberal and mostly white communities."

    What bullshit. Asian and Jewish Americans overwhelmingly voted against Prop 8, and they're the most educated ethnic minorities.

    Posted by: Rob | Jan 22, 2010 7:48:43 PM

  12. I'm so sick of this BS from the White Gay Racists. It's not true that a majority of Whites and Asians voted against Prop 8. A majority of every ethnic group voted in favor of Pro 8. I think most of you White racist gays would join the KKK if they accepted homosexuals. You're disgusting.

    Posted by: OnyxEsq | Jan 22, 2010 11:38:48 PM

  13. I just reread all the comments and don't find them all racially charged to include the one I posted earlier mine just questioned how they would feel if confronted with the same blind hatred aim aimmed at the GLBT community tam s attacked was based on falsehoods and lies and that why he tried to get out of testifying and the real reason any of these clowns want cameras out the court people who preach hate never like it when the bright light is turned on them btst examples are the mormomn and catholic churches they can say and do anything they want but when somebody asks embarassing questions they become offended

    Posted by: walter | Jan 23, 2010 12:55:05 AM

  14. @Rob

    Whites and Asians didn't vote OVERWHELMINGLY against Prop 8. I actually think it was about 52-54% of them that did, which is not overwhelming.

    That's not true either. A slim majority of whites, Asians, and Jews in California did vote against Prop 8 (though not overwhelmingly, as was previously stated). The issue there is simply the sheer number of whites and Asians in California and perhaps the ethnicity in the Asian community is also a factor (it seems that Koreans tended to be more for Prop 8), etc.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jan 23, 2010 10:03:10 AM

  15. @JR
    Dr. Tam was called as a hostile witness by the prosecution. The defense is eager to distance itself from him.

    Posted by: Patrick | Jan 23, 2010 11:12:03 PM

  16. @ tralfaz: fuck off! spare me your apathy towards racism in the gay community. rainbow flag my ass!

    Posted by: shoepins | Jan 26, 2010 12:46:45 AM

  17. why is it that a person's race is not brought up when they're a white homophobe? only when they're a racial minority.

    Posted by: shoepins | Jan 26, 2010 12:48:20 AM

  18. The government doesn't actually count the ballots by race, gender, or socio-economic status. That information is derived from exit polling. They interviewed a couple thousand voters in California and then used statistical analysis to project how the vote went.

    For Prop. 8, the white and Asian vote was so close that any conclusion drawn from exit polls would not stand up to scrutiny under normal circumstances. A sample survey where the margin of victory is 2 to 4 percent isn't that reliable. It could have just as easily been 51-49 percent the other way.

    In the aftermath of Prop. 8, there has been a tendency to draw very sharp divisions across racial lines. When, in fact, it is more complicated than black versus white. No such element even existed in Maine, of course, which is one of the most homogenous states in the country. And so we don't see a racist reaction.

    Or really any reaction at all.

    I am surprised at just how laid back everyone was about that election, given the racially tinged protests and pandemonium that gripped California for weeks after the passage of Prop. 8. Though perhaps I shouldn't have been.

    Posted by: John | Jan 26, 2010 1:24:43 AM

  19. And here's how that statistical analysis works in a nutshell -

    Opinion polling always has a confidence interval. This is an expression of how likely it is that the poll is right given the sample size. Most media organizations use 90% because anything higher and they'd need a huge sample to keep the margin of error under 3-4 percent. The higher your confidence, the more likely it is you have sampling errors with a small sample. In effect, this means that there's always a 10% statistical chance that a news organization's poll is crap and completely wrong.

    Now, it could also be crap and completely wrong because the data itself is erroneous, corrupted, or derived from unethical practices. But mathematically at least, there's a 90% chance - if the poll was conducted fairly and correctly - that the actual result will fall within a particular range based on the margin of error.

    Even if we assume that CNN did a good job with their exit polling, what does this tell us about the white and Asian vote for Prop. 8?

    Practically nothing.

    And here's why...

    Exit Poll Result: 51% NO, 49% YES
    Margin of Error: +/- 3%
    Confidence Interval: 90%

    Actual Vote:

    NO = We are confident the actual vote would fall between 48% to 54% nine out of ten times

    YES = We are confident the actual vote would fall between 46% to 52% nine out of ten times

    Which only tells us - maybe, perhaps, in all likelihood - that the vote was close and could have gone either way!

    We already knew that!

    Posted by: John | Jan 26, 2010 3:10:31 AM

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