A continuing public interest

Timothy Kincaid

December 8th, 2011

Today the Ninth Circuit heard the case of whether the tapes that were made during the Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Proposition 8) trial could be made public. This was lawyers and judges discussing whether procedural decisions made during a case that took place nearly two years ago allow or disallow the viewing of testimony made during that trial.

This is not exactly juicy stuff. But KQED radio, which was providing a live-stream broadcast on their website, maxed out viewers. There were more people interested in the arguments over tapes than could be accommodated.

Not many trials – and none about procedural methods – have had this draw. Primarily gay Americans, but truly people of all walks, orientations, and throughout the world know about – and care deeply about – Proposition 8.

There are not that many cultural milestones that divide eras of time. The assassination of President Kennedy, the fall of the Berlin Wall, these divided time into “before then” and “after then”. There are others, but when you think back over your life there are not that many events that separate.

For our community, there have been, so far, two. June 28, 1969 – the first night of the Stonewall riots – changed forever how gay people perceived the role that their sexuality played in their lives. And though it is still too recent to know for certain, I think that November 4, 2008 – the day that Californians voted to bar gay people from equal protection under the law – may have changed forever how gay people perceived their place in society.

Joe Perez

December 8th, 2011

Maybe, Timothy. But there are other events, less recent, which have shaped us profoundly. Bowers v. Hardwick, the unfurling of the AIDS quilt in Washington for the last time, Rock Hudson. I would even say the debut of Will & Grace and the movie Brokeback Mountain are right up there. The publication of my book, Soulfully Gay, alas, doesn’t make the list. ;-)


December 9th, 2011

Shouldn’t the second date in your last paragraph be November 4, 2008? That was the day of the presidential election, and Prop 8 was on the same ballot.


December 9th, 2011

Chip is correct. Prop 8 passed on November 4, 2008, not 2010. You should correct your original post, Timothy.

I would add a third event / date that changed the perception American GLBT people have of themselves and their place in society: November 27, 1978, the day Harvey Milk and George Moscone were assassinated.

Timothy Kincaid

December 9th, 2011

Chip and jpeckjr,

Yes, I typed 2010 instead of 2008.

Sorry about the typo and thanks. I corrected it.


December 9th, 2011

One thing is for certain about Prop 8: it fundamentally changed the way gays view their right to get married. Prior to Prop 8, marriage was seen as a lost cause. Most of the ballot measures prior to Prop 8 did not even face opposition, since gay orgs realized that fighting back would be throwing money away and that little would be gained by shaving a few percentage points off of an overwhelming margin of victory.

CA was different. In CA, they had marriage and now it was going to be taken away and that changed the psychology. Then they raised an astonishing amount of money, more than has been raised in any gay-related campaign ever. And when they lost by 4 percentage points, they really got that they were going to be denied something that they were entitled to have, that a possible future was being closed off for them. It was a completely different reaction from what had come before. Ultimately it turned out that that change in psychology was a necessary condition for us to win. So whatever happens with the litigation, Prop 8 likely will be seen as a turning point.


December 12th, 2011

Prop 8 brought everyone out into the streets, but Lawrence v Texas changed everything.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts


Another Temporary Hiatus

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1971: Minnesota Couple Stake Claim To First American Same-Sex Marriage

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1954: "Perverts Vanish" From Miami

Born On This Day, 1907: Evelyn Hooker

Born On This Day, 1925: Fr. John J. McNeill

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.