Friday March 7, 2014
9:44 Paula Tutman:
Good morning. It's Paula Tutman, in again for Roger Weber. I'll be blogging througout the morning on the closing statements in the same-sex parenting trial in Federal Court in Detroit. Same rules apply. Don't hold my spelling against me, please. I'm moving fast. I'll try not to bore you with stuff that makes you go, "zzzzzzzzzz". And I'll try to give you a sense of what's going on inside the courtroom, with a little flavor from the media room.

Opening salvo begins at 10am.

9:59 Paula Tutman:
All Rise, the Judge is on the bench.
10:01 Paula Tutman:
Ken Mogill is one of the Plaintiff's attorneys. He's going to start the closing. We can see April Deboer at the plaintiff's table. She seems upbeat and smiling.

"The promise of equality is the promise for America."

Is the opening statement.
10:03 Paula Tutman:
"2600 same-sex couples are raising nearly 15-thousand children.

To be gay for far too long has been the bases for societal inequality.

People could get fired from their jobs, barred from Federal employment and discriminated against in hateful ways.

Equality before the law does not exist for same sex couples like April and Jayne, the door is barred from one of life's most cherished institutions because they love the wrong kind of person."

10:04 Paula Tutman:
“No other group in society is made to establish parenting competence. So deny gay and lesbians is a denial of equal protection.”
10:06 Paula Tutman:
“ Even a prisoner who is never allowed to have physical contact with a spouse is allowed to marry.”
“No religious authority has a right to impose on the conditions of marriage.”
"Civil law bars religion from intruding"
10:08 Paula Tutman:
Right now Mogill is stating some prior case law.
10:10 Paula Tutman:
Relief should also be granted to plaintiffs, because no other group is required to establish parenting competency as a condition to marry. There is no legal obligation to procreate when married. If the right to marry was limited to people who will reproduce, marriage would be limited to the very wealthy and educated.
10:10 Paula Tutman:
The sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry.
10:10 Paula Tutman:
There is utterly no rational basis for Michigan's ban on same sex marriages.
10:11 Paula Tutman:
The testimony showed that the STATES witnesses are part of a fringe fighting desperately for inequality.
10:13 Paula Tutman:
There’s a strong consensus in scientific communities that the outcomes of children are similar to those of opposite-sex parents.

He's, in essence, talking about step children, foster children, children of divorce and single parent families... have dynamics that can't be measured by science.
10:15 Paula Tutman:
It is well established what best predicts positive development with children has nothing to do with sexual orientation of the parents. What counts....the quality of the relationship with the parents. The quality of relationship with parents and child.. Good mental health for the child. Regardless of family type there are broad variations across families with roles and styles.

There is no single correct parenting model and certainly not Ozzie and Harriet style parenting.

10:17 Paula Tutman:
Right now, Mogill is debunking the debunking. He’s talking about the small studies and big studies that basically don’t mean much.
10:22 Paula Tutman:
Mogill: Consider the bigotry associated with any of the State’s witnesses. See what adds up and what doesn’t.

[This is important because the State's star witness yesterday, Dr. Doug Allen who worked to dismantle many of the studies that show there is "no difference in child outcomes with same-sex parents" eventually admitted that he had deep religious biases against homosexuals.]
10:24 Paula Tutman:
Mogill is now working to dissect Dr. Allen’s testimony and credibility of his studies. He’s poking holes in his science.
10:26 Paula Tutman:
Even more FRAUDULENT then Professor Allen’s presentation was Prof. Regnarus’s (sp) assessment. He said few studies are more reviled.
10:27 Paula Tutman:

Mogill is now showing how the religious and social bias of the scientist shows the study was designed to have skewed results.

10:28 Paula Tutman:
Backstory: Profs' Doug Allen and Mark Regnerus both testified to their own studies that showed there were negative outcomes when children grew up in same sex households... both profs. were found to have deep-seeded biases AGAINST homosexuality.
10:30 Paula Tutman:
They want to cast this matter as a social science experiment. Life is not an experiment. It’s a reality. This case is about real people and real children’s lives. Lesbian and gay couples exist. And the question if they are entitled to the same rights as opposite sex couples... goes much deeper than any social science experiment.
10:31 Paula Tutman:
These children will be harmed by their parents to provide them with extra benefits if the law doesn’t change. The law will not discourage heterosexual couples from marrying, having children or divorcing. There’s absolutely no evidence that gay couples will harm any other couples marriage in any way. And the STATES arguments to the contrary are irrational.
10:33 Paula Tutman:
We have the burden of proof in this matter and we’ve met it.
10:34 Paula Tutman:
Fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote, they depend on the outcome of no election, according the Supreme Court.

[Mogill addressing the ban imposed by Michigan voters in 2004]
10:35 Paula Tutman:
Mogill is now expressing that the pool of homes for foster children would expand by allowing gays to marry.

It is irrational and cruel that there is one circumstance that a parent cannot adopt a child...because the non-legal parent can't adopt if the parent dies.
10:36 Paula Tutman:
Mogill now takes on TRADITION

10:37 Paula Tutman:
The whole notion of a traditional marriage is historically inaccurate. There is no single definition of marriage. It’s an institution that has evolved over time.
10:38 Paula Tutman:
Today, marriage, as it has evolved, as it exists as a matter of law... it is an entirely gender neutral institution.
10:40 Paula Tutman:

Mogill brings up no-fault divorce, allowing people of different races to marry, the changing role of women in the household with equal rights for women. “In fact, time has shown that the tradition most important in marriage is the tradition of being able to change with time and social conditions. The capacity for change has been of core marriage in order for marriage to thrive and survive”

10:40 Paula Tutman:
Next he discusses Tradition and the Law.
10:41 Paula Tutman:
Giving us some case law. I'll get to meat...soon
10:43 Paula Tutman:
How does this court decide if we’re at a tipping point if a rule that has been in place throughout American history is at a point that as a matter of Constitutional law must be discarded. As a matter of Constitutional interpretation, when an emerging ideals provides us with a well emerged awareness (of wrong doing) we must act Constitutionally.
10:44 Paula Tutman:
April is crying in court.

10:44 Paula Tutman:
Mogill's voice cracks as he discusses the love of people and how they should be able to have the gift of marriage.
10:45 Paula Tutman:
This has clearly hit an emotional cord with Apri. We can't see Jayne's face, but this has touched April deeply.

10:45 Paula Tutman:
Mogill wraps up saying that he hopes the judge finds the marriage band unconstituional.

10:47 Paula Tutman:
Attorney, Michael Pitt is speaking now. He's the attorney for Lisa Brown the Oakland County Clerk. She's the one who would have to issue marriage licenses.
10:48 Paula Tutman:
The Oakland County Clerk says the Constitution does not allow her to discriminate against any couple wishing to wed by race, religion, political affiliation, etc. If the band is lifted she will issue licenses to qualified same-sex couples. She is ready now to carry out this duty and will begin issuing licenses at the moment she’s able to do so by law.
10:49 Paula Tutman:
The US Constitution says that people have basic fundamental rights and those rights should not be submitted to a vote.
10:51 Paula Tutman:
Lisa Brown, the Clerk knows that committed same sex couples live together as a family sometimes for decades. That these committed couples raise children together, help each other in time of illness and at the end of life provide comfort and say goodbye. It is the intimate relationship that should be protected by the Constitution is at the core of our liberty.
10:53 Paula Tutman:
The court and the State must adopt to this new reality. The State through its experts have not challenged this reality. Instead the State has engaged in breathtaking hypocrisy.
Under the State’s definition, a post menopausal woman or and a sterile man unable to procreate do not have a right marry.

10:55 Paula Tutman:
She and the other 82 clerks in Michigan do not inquire if a couple wants to have children. She doesn’t make a judgment on if the union will be good or bad for children. The right to marry the person of one’s own choice is our notion of liberty, the County Clerk may not interject personal opinion. Right now she is force to impose a judgment on the validity of love. She no longer wishes to that.
10:55 Paula Tutman:
This State's sanctioned humiliation must end and must end now.
10:57 Paula Tutman:
So this is the attorney for the Oakland County Clerk representing the sentiments of his client who wants to be able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and he's urging the judge to comply with the changing tide.
10:57 Paula Tutman:
She urges the judge to act now and not wait for 25 years worth of more studies that don't amount to much.
10:58 Paula Tutman:
The State has not been able to site any evidence to justify its fears.
11:00 Paula Tutman:

Nothing I’ve heard in this trial has justified the State’s fears that the outcome of a child is changed based on families with same-sex parents. The harm to same-sex couples and their children is real.
She urges that State officials not be able to interfere in any way with the marriage choices of couples. She urges (Lisa Brown) on behalf of all the County Clerks in the State of Michigan.
11:01 Paula Tutman:
The court order must make it clear that personal opinions or religious beliefs cannot preclude a clerk from providing a license to same sex couples.
11:02 Paula Tutman:
Case law....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
11:04 Paula Tutman:
The essence of what the Clerk is asking the court to do is grant the injunction (againast the ban) so that couples at the earlies opportunity can marry and take advantage of State and Federal benefits. She is ready to do her duty at the moment the court will allow her to do that.
11:05 Paula Tutman:
If not now... when!!!! Time is of the essence.
11:05 Paula Tutman:
Okay, that was Michael Pitt, the attorney for Oakland County Clerk, Lisa Brown.