Friday, October 22, 2010

Anti-Prop 8 Attorneys Have Jumped the Shark

If you're a fan of pop culture, you'll recognize that "jumping the shark" is a term that basically means doing something that is over the top and absurd.

Lawyers representing the parties who are challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 (the California constitutional amendment which legally defines marriage as being between one man and one woman) have seemingly "jumped the shark" with the arguments they recently submitted to the Ninth Circuit of Court of Appeals. As pointed out by Ed Whelan, an example of the over the top rhetorical tactics employed by anti-Prop. 8 lawyers Ted Olsen and David Boies is found in their conclusion which opens as follows:
Last month, in a widely publicized tragedy, a young Rutgers student jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after being outed on the Internet as gay. A few days later, across the Hudson River in the Bronx, two 17-year-old young men were beaten and tortured to the brink of death by a gang of nine because they were suspected of being gay. Incidents such as these are all too familiar to our society. And it is too plain for argument that discrimination written into our constitutional charters inexorably leads to shame, humiliation, ostracism, fear, and hostility. The consequences are all too often very, very tragic.
Within the general context that the above appears, it's pretty obvious that Olsen and Boies are saying there's a causal connection between not legally recognizing same-sex "marriages" and gay teen suicide (as well as apparent anti-gay induced violence*). Now, I'm pretty certain this clear suggestion isn't supported by any hard data. Indeed, as the linked to posting by Ed Whelan discloses, there is actually available hard data to refute such a connection (in regard to gay teen suicide*).

So why would Olsen and Boies suggest this outrageous and easily refutable link between same sex marriage and gay teen suicide? This is only speculation, but I think it's principally because they know who their audience is and they have no qualms of trying to exploit it in their favor. Unfortunately, given the earned reputation of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as a liberal and lawless court, this objectively ridiculous tactic by Olsen and Boies is more than likely going to work. Heaven help us all.

*I have subsequently added this text.