Why Is Name Dropping Brokeback Mountain and Will & Grace at Perry

As David H. Thompson, the defense attorney in Perry representing supporters of Prop 8, today cross-examines plaintiff witness Dr. George Chauncey, the Yale history professor, we’re getting hints as to how is making its case for discriminating against gays. Namely, that the journalistic and entertainment media don’t discriminate against us, so it’s not like we face major injustices!

Today, Thompson is using the plaintiff’s witnesses to acknowledge that not everybody discriminates the gays. Even some religious groups, he’s getting Chauncey to acknowledge. But what about the mass media? From a rush transcript/live-blog via FireDogLake:

T: Wrt media, all CA media was opposed to Prop 8. Is the news media in CA supportive of gay rights?
C: Broad categoriztion
T: Do you read the NYT
T: Is the NYT supportive of gay rights?
C: Yes

T: Let’s talk about TV! Sitcoms, number of characters on tv melodramas and sitcoms, became a regular part of the tv landscape in the 1990s?
C: Yes
T: Even Americans with no gay/Lesbian friends were exposed to G&L people, through tv, correct?
C: Probably, yes. An increased range of images availavble.
T: Dramatically increased the range of homos seen by Americans.
C: Yes, a wide range
T: Will & Grace was immensely popular, yes? Was it hostile to gays?
C: I did not think so, although some thought it played to a comedic role of gays.

T: Now, movies, there is no censorship code, now we have the ratings system. “Philadelphia” was the first studio film to address AIDS?
Yes, in 1993

T: Brokeback Mountain was big success and numerous awards, yes?
C: Although I struck there are not more such movies, but yes.

It’s like, if America can Netflix the shit out of gay entertainment, aren’t we far enough along?

Of course this is only one element of the defense’s argument, and perhaps not even a terribly significant one. But what Thompson & Co. are trying to put on the record is that gays and lesbians have already come so far in culture “normalization,” and that they’re facing less and less discrimination every day. Why then, the argument goes, do they need to infringe on such a traditional institution as marriage when they’re getting all their rights and privileges through other means? Feel free to poke holes in this methodology, because there are many. But hey: straws + grasping, right?

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