A same-sex marriage trial began nearing its end in federal court in San Francisco today as the plaintiffs in the case presented a psychology professor as their final witness.
Gregory Herek of the University of California, Davis testified that homosexuality is now considered normal by the psychology and psychiatry professions and that marriage promotes stability in relationships.
Today is the ninth day of a trial on a lawsuit in which two same-sex couples claim that Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay and lesbian marriage, violates their federal constitutional rights.
Evidence in the trial is due to end Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who is hearing the case without a jury, announced this morning that he will schedule closing arguments at a later date after he has studied the evidence.
Herek said the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973 and the American Psychological Association took a similar position two years later.
He testified that research he conducted showed most gay men, lesbians and bisexuals feel they have “no choice or very little choice” about their sexual orientation.
Under cross-examination by Howard Nielson, a lawyer for the sponsors of Proposition 8, Herek agreed that the definition of sexual orientation has been the subject of heated debates among social scientists.
Nielson told the judge, “This is very important to our case–the definition of sexual orientation.”
The Proposition 8 sponsors claim that the same-sex marriage ban is justified because heterosexual marriage is rooted in tradition and is better for children and because many people allegedly “freely choose their sexual orientation.”
The Proposition 8 sponsors plan to present at least two expert witnesses in the closing days of the trial to testify on the definition of marriage and the political power of homosexuals, but they have withdrawn four other experts.