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Perry v. Schwarzenegger: Is being gay mutable, to the point that gays are not a distinct group?

Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin has a very interesting update on the  Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, which promises to be explosive. His full post is linked here.

The upshot is that Judge Walker is asking the appelants whether being gay is immutable or not, as well as whether gay marriage harms traditional marriage. The fact that we are asking these things drives me nuts, but at the same time, perhaps it is vital for our society to hear this discussion — some sort of homo-Scopes trial. Lord knows there are enough people out there spouting that gay people are the result of weak fathers, frosty mothers, sexual abuse, and every unsavory thing one can think of (scientists producing science, or rather not so much).

 Excerpt below the fold (includes excerpted AP reporting in the SF Chronicle).

In Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal lawsuit by Ted Olson and David Boies to overturn Proposition 8, the judge has decided against placing a hold on Prop 8 and instead is opting for a swift consideration. This is the position that was requested by Gov. Schwarzenegger and Atty. Gen. Brown; they felt that placing a hold would lend to confusion for all parties. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle reveals that Olson and Boies will be relying on the precident set by Romer v. Evans in which the US Supreme Court determined that states cannot deny rights to gay people as a class based solely on animus.

This case also will ask a question that is at the core of all civil rights legal issues: are gay people really a distinct group of people. Or, in other words, is sexuality immutable.

U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker on Tuesday issued a tentative order to fast-track the case in his San Francisco court. Among the questions he said he wants covered at trial are whether sexual orientation is unchangeable, if permitting same-sex marriage “destabilizes” traditional unions and whether Proposition 8’s ballot history demonstrates the measure had “discriminatory intent.”

There is little doubt that ex-gays and ex-gay groups will testify before court. And there is little doubt that they will claim “change”. However, will they be truthful? Will they admit that “change” is only in perspective, in behavior, in identity, but not in attractions? Sadly, the history of ex-gay activists suggests that they will seek to confuse the court and to leave the impression that orientation can be “overcome through the power of Jesus Christ”. I hope I’m wrong.

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