8:59 roger weber: Judge Bernard Friedman has taken the bench.
9:07 roger weber: There's a brief delay because one of the lawyers isn't here. Judge Friedman is filling time with a joke about three penguins in Alaska. Got a good laugh, though the issue about to be argued is very serious.
9:11 roger weber: Ready now. Opening statement for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse is being given by Carole Stanyar.
9:13 roger weber: The plaintiffs are deeply committed to each other. They are wonderful and caring parents.
9:16 roger weber: Wer'e going to show you through testimony that marriage is central to life in America.
9:19 roger weber: Stanyar says tradition and morality cannot be used as an excuse for disparate impact on a disfavored minority. She says there is no single definition of marriage across history.
9:23 roger weber: Same sex marriages in other states have had no effect on heterosexual marriage. Their behavior is not affected by what gay people are doing.
9:29 roger weber: Stanyar says, "We want this to be the last trial in America in which same sex parents have to defend themselves this way."
9:36 roger weber:
Stanyar is talking about the importance of adoption. She says “same sex couples are more likely to adopt special needs children than are straight couples.”
9:38 roger weber: “Children of same sex couples are more tolerant of differences.
You won’t see these kids on the playground hurling insults at each other.”
9:44 roger weber: DeBoer and Rowse are sitting at the plaintiff's table to Stanyar's left. An overflow room has been set up for spectators.
9:49 roger weber: Stanyar is talking about the history of discimmination against gay and lesbian people. "They have been repeatedly stripped of their fundamental rights by popular votes in 40 states."
9:54 roger weber: Stanyar says the November 2004 Michigan Marriage Amendment “should be viewed in the context of relentless discrimination against gays and lesbians in this country.”
10:04 roger weber: Stanyar calls her clients heroes. "Together they took in babies left behind…special needs children……..they nursed them back to health. They loved all of them. They gave them what they needed. All of them are thriving.
10:06 roger weber: Kristin Heyse is now giving an opening statement on behalf of the Michigan Attorney General.
10:09 roger weber: Heyse says, "It’s easy to get caught up in the sentiment and emotion. This case is about one thing: the will of the people of the State of Michigan
10:11 roger weber: "The fact is men and women are different. They are not interchangeable.”
10:16 roger weber: “This was not a whim of a few but a vote of the majority--the will of the people.”
10:18 roger weber: Heyse says research into the impact of same sex parenting on children is too new, and study samples are too small.
“Experts say what’s needed is a large, nationally representative long term study, from birth to adulthood. No such study exists.”
10:23 roger weber: Michael Pitt is giving an opening statement for Oakland County Clerk.Lisa Brown. She is a defendant in the case, because of her role in issuing marriage licenses, but sides with the plaintiffs. Pitt:
"She is not required to listen to the opinion of the Attorney General or the voters. Those views as expressed in 2004 do not create a constitutional right that she has to follow."
10:39 roger weber: Dr. David M. Brodzinsky is the first witness for the plaintiffs. He is a psychologist specializing in adoption, child development and non-traditional family life.
10:48 roger weber: Many questions about his background, including teaching at Rutgers. This is tedious, but is a routine part of qualifying him as an expert witness.
10:51 roger weber: Court in recess until 11:10.
11:11 roger weber: Court back in session.
11:20 roger weber: Dr. David M. Brodzinsky testifies that the best factors for positive child adjustment include the relationship of the parents, warmth, empathy, sensitivity, plus educational opportunities for the children. He says it makes no difference whether the parents are gay or straight.