Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chauncey and Cott testify in California Prop. 8 Trial

Yale historian George Chauncey, and Harvard's Nancy Cott testified this week in the California trial challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriage. The New York Times reports:
After viewing several television commercials produced by Proposition 8's sponsors, Chauncey said images and language suggesting the ballot initiative was needed to ''protect children'' were reminiscent of earlier efforts to ''demonize'' gays, ranging from police raids on gay bars during the 1950s to campaigns to rid public schools of gay teachers in the 1970s.
Nancy Cott's testimony
disputed a statement by a defense lawyer that states have a compelling interest to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples for the sake of procreation.

Cott said marriage also serves an economic purpose -- one that was especially pronounced when it was assumed that men and women performed different jobs in their partnership.

But as traditional gender roles and the purposes of marriage have changed, the reasons to bar same-sex couples from marrying have gone away, she said.

''It does seem to me that the direction of change leads consistently toward the appropriateness of allowing same-sex couples to marry,'' she said.

Read the rest here.

Update: Claire Potter has much more on this here.

Photos: Chauncey, Cott.