By Amanda Beck
The Perry v. Schwarzenegger defense opened its case Monday with testimony from Claremont McKenna College Associate Professor Kenneth Miller, who contended that gay and lesbian Californians hold significant political power that belies their single-digit percentage of the population.
Miller is an attorney educated at Harvard Law School and now a specialist in the history of California and U.S. politics. He focuses on the power of political groups, especially in direct elections, and summoned a number of rubrics to demonstrate the sway that California’s gay lobby holds.
First, he pointed to the fact that gay marriage proponents raised $43 million for the “No on 8” campaign, an amount that Miller said was “exceptionally rare” given that the election involved a social issue without corporate interests or backing. Gay marriage opponents raised $40 million for the election.
Second, Miller pointed to a laundry list of political allies sympathetic to gay rights causes. Miller said this list could include something as broad as the Democratic Party and reminded the court that nearly 61 percent of California’s voters supported Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008. This strong showing created the largest California margin in any presidential election since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “This is a blue state. That’s the way I would put it,” Miller said.
Miller also named specific political officials who support gay rights, including California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposed Proposition 8; the governor’s chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, who is a lesbian; and Attorney General Jerry Brown, who refused to defend Proposition 8 in court.
Miller said other political allies include:
Miller closed his direct testimony by enumerating various legislative and political victories achieved by the gay rights movement. These include enacting laws that punish hate crimes and ban discrimination in employment, housing, public education, and adoption.
For Prop 8 on Trial’s account of Miller’s cross-examination, please click here.