Proving Animus

One fascinating aspect of the Prop 8 trial is whether the proposition was a good faith effort to support what its backers think of as traditional marriage, or whether it was a campaign driven by animus to a small minority. Of course, proving intent on this is hard. Except when it isn't. In a court room you have to assess the facts pertaining to the specific issue at hand and cannot rely on emotional or religious or psychological distractions. The deposition of one of the "Official Proponents" of Prop 8, Harry Tam, is pretty devastating:

Question: “And it is your understanding that part of the gay agenda is legalizing underage sex?”

Answer: “Right.”

The conflation of homosexuality with child abuse was a central issue for the people who ran the Prop 8 campaign, hence the ads that focused on the threat that gays posed to children. Since this plays on the oldest blood libel against gays, it certainly implies that the Proposition was motivated by prejudice. Imagine a Proposition that argued that Jews should be denied, say, being school-teachers because of the threat to the kids. No one would dispute that that's a vile, blood libel motive for a constitutional amendment. But when exactly the same bigotry fuels a Proposition to deny gays the core right to marry, a right deeper in the constitution than the right to vote, it's all apparently motivated by high-minded concern for family life.

Among the emails retrieved by the court from Tam - who was a year-long organizer and fundraiser for the Proposition - is this one:

This November, San Francisco voters will vote on a ballot to "legalize prostitution". This is put forth by the SF city government, which is under the rule of homosexuals. They lose no time in pushing the gay agenda --- after legalizing same-sex marriage, they want to legalize prostitution. What will be next? On their agenda list is: legalize having sex with children ... We can't lose this critical battle. If we lose, this will very likely happen...

1. Same-Sex marriage will be a permanent law in California. One by one, other states would fall into Satan's hand.

2. Every child, when growing up, would fantasize marrying someone of the same sex. More children would become homosexuals. Even if our children is safe [sic], our grandchildren may not. What about our children's grandchildren?

Tam has requested to withdraw from the case. Because he helps prove just how powerful some of the most vile slurs against gays were in fomenting the denial of civil equality under the law in California. No wonder Maggie Gallagher wants as little sunlight in this trial as possible. Because it reveals the true motives of those who are in her movement.