Kate Kendell

From the Courthouse

Filed By Kate Kendell | June 17, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, marriage equality, NCLR, Prop 8 trial, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage, vlogs

Yesterday we heard compelling closing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal challenge to Proposition 8. The National Center for Lesbian Rights was in the courtroom live-tweeting, making sure that you shared this historical moment with us. I was in the courtroom and had the honor of watching this highly-skilled legal team in action.

This trial has been a truly historic moment for our community. It was the first time a federal court heard, first hand, from real live witnesses, about the harm that the denial of marriage equality causes same-sex couples and their families every day. It is also the first time a federal court has heard the arguments in favor of marriage equality presented live in court by an array of internationally renowned scholars who are truly experts in their respective fields.

Check out my vlog on yesterday's closing arguments, which were as powerful as the testimony heard at the trial. It's after the jump with more thoughts.

Judge Walker will announce his ruling soon. As we wait, we must remember that our work is far from over. One of the last questions Judge Walker asked yesterday was, "Do we have a political tide running in favor of equality?" The brilliant Ted Olson replied, "I believe, Your Honor, that there is a political tide running. And I think that people's eyes are being opened. People are becoming more understanding and tolerant."

It is up to us, the LGBT community, to open eyes. We must continue to reach out and have conversations about our families and our lives. By sharing our stories, we win hearts and minds and create a world where all families are valued and respected as fully equal.

And now we wait.

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Great vlog, Kate. I wish I'd had a chance to be there with you.

Kate, I'm curious at what point you and NCLR changed your minds about the litigation. A year ago, your group and other members of Gay Inc. opposed the litigation. The legal team was so mad that they refused to let you intervene since they questioned your motives. So when did the change of heart occur?

Thanks for your comment and for your question. I think it’s important to note that the link you included is to a document at the LGBT legal groups issue after each ruling that extended the right to marry to same sex couples. It first appeared in Massachusetts after GLAD’s historic victory and the document has been modified each time we advance the right to marry through litigation, as was the case when the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 but also honored the 18,000+ marriages that took place between June and November of that year. There are many states where a reckless marriage lawsuit could damage the opportunity to advance LGBT protections.

When the Olson/Boies team filed their federal challenge to Prop 8, NCLR expressed concerns about he timing. When I look at the composition of the US Supreme Court, I remained concerned. However, it’s important to note that not once has our organization disparaged this lawsuit. This lawsuit is well underway and I have the utmost confidence in this litigation team. I have had the pleasure of speaking with this litigation team on many occasions and as I told Ted Olson, I consider him an honorary lesbian. His involvement and leadership in this case has been a huge game-changer. He has advanced the conversation in a profound way and he has brought in a whole new audience. That, in addition to his amazing skills—paired with the brilliant David Boies—has transformed how the country not only views Prop 8, but marriage equality. This case has already changed the course of history.

Sounds like it went well, but, well, I'm still not hopeful about the ultimate result from all this.