Prop. 8 Trial: Yale Professor Details Over 100 Years of Homophobia

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Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 6:30 AM

We're not big fans of victimhood politics, but the testimony of Yale professor George Chauncey at yesterday's Proposition 8 trial in San Francisco showed exactly why a courthouse video feed is so important -- ordinary Americans would have watched Chauncey detail over 100 years of homophobia in America.

click to enlarge Yale history professor George Chauncey
  • Yale history professor George Chauncey

It's a disturbing history many people have little knowledge about and continue to contribute to as they approve such things as same-sex marriage bans in present day America.
Chauncey said some past examples of homophobia include how gays and lesbians were not allowed to congregate in bars; how undercover cops entrapped gay men and sometimes ruined their lives; and how if you were found out to be gay while serving in the military during World War II, you were discharged and not allowed to apply for the GI Bill, which helped many veterans to be more competitive in the post-WW II economy.

While many gay Americans know something about this history, a large number of straight folks still don't have a clue.

The Proposition 8 trial, as a result, is one of those rare opportunities where fair-minded people across the country can get easily and thoroughly informed if there's a video feed coming out of San Francisco.

While the U.S. Supreme Court will decide today on the fate of a courthouse video feed, anyone can catch some excellent live blogging by Teddy Partridge at Firedoglake.com.

Partridge's quick fingers provide some excellent details about Chauncey's testimony, which should finish up today.

The Yale professor will be followed by Dr. Edmund Egan, chief economist for the city of San

Francisco, who will talk about the economic impact of Proposition 8 in California.

In addition, Dr. Ilan Meyer from Columbia University will testify about how

discrimination causes a mental health toll on the gay community, and Dr. Letitia

Peplau, a UCLA professor, will discuss the benefits of

being married.

Frontiers news editor Karen Ocamb has excellent coverage of yesterday's post-trial press conferences, where anti-Prop. 8 lawyers said they were pleased with their witnesses' testimonies.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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