President Barack Obama took a hit at the Proposition 8 trial in San Francisco on Wednesday, when Stanford University professor Gary Segura said Obama is “not a reliable ally” of the gay community.

The criticism of the president was a key legal point made by the Prop. 8 plaintiffs' lawyers, who want to overturn California's gay marriage ban, to show that gays and lesbians are not politically powerful and need legal protections from the courts.

San Jose Mercury News reporter Howard Mintz writes that “Segura had some pointed

criticism for Obama, observing that while he's spoken out strongly in

favor of gay rights, he has not taken any real steps to back same-sex

marriage or change the military's policy.“

“This is not a reliable

ally,” Segura said in court. “We have to look at

the disconnect between rhetoric and action.”

It's something many gay rights activists such as Fresno's Robin McGehee has been saying for months.

During cross examination, Prop. 8 defendants' lawyers, who want to uphold the gay marriage ban, tried to paint a different picture of gay political power in the United States, pointing to same sex marriage victories in Vermont and Massachusetts that show gays and lesbians don't need special protections.

Prop. 8 lawyer David Thompson also asked Segura if Obama was more of a political ally to the gay community than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Segura, according to Mintz, “didn't budge” and made a somewhat astounding statement.

I think the degree of difference is far smaller than most progressives (expected),” Segura said in court.

Segura will return to the stand on Thursday, and Prop. 8 plaintiffs' lawyers say they have only two more witnesses waiting to testify.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.