Who needs marriage when you have Will & Grace?
The federal Proposition 8 trial took a fascinating detour on Wednesday morning, when the cross-examination of Yale Professor George Chauncey used gay images in popular culture to prove the point that life isn’t so bad for the gays anymore.
Chauncey’s testimony focused on the long and painful history of anti-gay discrimination and how government policies have created and perpetuated anti-gay stereotypes like the ones used in the Proposition 8 campaign. He painted a very dismal, and unfortunately, accurate picture of the trials and tribulations the LGBT population has faced throughout the years.
David Thompson, an attorney for the anti-gay side, cross-examined Chauncey with the goal of establishing that “there has been a significant shift in public opinion in acceptance of and support for gays and lesbians.”
Thompson brought up a myriad of topics to show just how great and easy gay life is. He talked about the growing support after Matthew Shepard’s murder and the powerful political LGBT allies like Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Barbara Boxer. He also asked if there have been any gay bar raids by police recently and Chauncey brought up the Fort Worth bar raid, which caused the anti-gays to basically say oh snap, he can only think of one gay bar raid!
Then he brought up the increase in gay representations in TV and movies, citing Will & Grace, Philadelphia, and Brokeback Mountain (where’s the love for Glee?). He said the popularity of these shows and movies have increased exposure for gays and lesbians.
Thompson is correct -– there has been a shift in attitudes toward LGBT people. There are some gay people scattered around television and some of them are even positive representations. What’s his point though? Is he suggesting that we should be happy and content without the freedom to marry because the gay cowboys almost won Best Picture? Is he saying that because we aren’t beaten up as often as before, anti-gay discrimination is over? (p.s. I'm not sure we are being beaten up less often).
I am perplexed by this aspect of their Proposition 8 defense -– it strikes me as irrelevant and if anything, helpful to the case for marriage equality. Though, the daily trial spin by ProtectMarriage.com general counsel Andrew Pugno shows that this line of questioning is just one example of how our side is “losing ground” in this case.
We are not losing ground. We have an all-star legal team, an impressive set of plaintiffs and most importantly we are on the side of truth and justice.
Photo credit: Phil Gyford