October 31, 1996

The Quiet Submission Of Paper Work:
Friend Of The Court Briefs And Final Recommendations For Findings

It's now up to Judge Chang:  all the amici filed their briefs by October 11.  h.e.r.m.p's lawyer Dan Foley filed the final papers for the plaintiffs on October 25 (approximately 50 pages of suggested findings).  We expect Judge Chang to rule by mid-November to mid-December, completing a major stage in the struggle for civil rights for same-gender couples.  Expect the loser to appeal this Circuit Court decision to Hawaii's Supreme Court for a final decision.

Out of the many amici briefs, I've made one available by email.  Just email ramsey@math.hawaii.edu to ask for an email version of the brief from Hawaii's Future Today (HFT).  HFT was organized by leaders of the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches to oppose same-gender marriage; it includes the R.C. bishop's lobbyist, Father Mark Alexander, and Mormon leaders and lobbyists Jack Hoag and Debbie Hartman.

The HFT brief is good raw material on which to practice textual analysis and criticism.  It's hard to know where to begin and at what level, because there are so many emotional cross-currents.  Some of the legal precedents which they cite go back to the 19th century struggle to outlaw polygamy among Mormons.  From that perspective, this brief is the Mormons' revenge on the rest of society for forcing them to give up polygamy.  It left me wondering whether polygamy is an active, subterranean force in the psyche's of powerful men today, men who lead strongly patriarchal institutions of such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Mormon Church.  It is a well-established truth that, as people exercise greater leadership, their sexual drives and appetites increase (accompanied by an increased presence of testosterone in their blood).  Can something so animal animate the hostility expressed by these spiritual leaders?  The advocates of same-gender marriage have no interest in polygamy, but the opponents keep bringing it up, over and over and over again.  Odd.

HFT casually dismisses all the evidence at the trial:  "To be sure, the Court may well be aided in its constitutional analysis by the evidence presented by the parties at trial or by the opinions and studies of various experts.  However, as in many other constitutional law cases of great importance, expert testimony and empirical studies need not be the determining factors."

The key paragraph in the HFT brief may well be the most petulant:  "The invariable response from those who favor homosexual marriage is that they are not seeking to destroy marriage or alter its place in society, but rather to expand its definition so that more persons may participate."  The brief then merely asserts that this expansion of rights would fundamentally alter traditional marriage.  Uh?  How?  Will, after same-gender marriage is passed, heterosexual people stop getting married and/or having children?  On the contrary, traditional marriage be strengthened, by having gays and lesbians marry each other rather than faking marriage with heterosexuals.

Ultimately, the HFT brief is a sad document to read.  Blindness and prejudice, on every page; refusal to consider facts of any sort; invoking tradition, dishonestly.

                        Tom Ramsey

P.S.  The post-trial work and final papers (over 50 pages of argument) have been the sole responsibility of h.e.r.m.p's lawyer, Dan Foley.  Our loyal and hard-working ally, Evan Wolfson of LLDEF, who provided extraordinary support in his skillful deposition and examination of mainland witnesses, is back on the mainland organizing the rest of the country.  h.e.r.m.p, like so many, must depend on the kindness of strangers.

We currently owe Dan Foley about $40,000 from the September trial work and previous work, and have not yet received the bill for October!  Our Hawaii supporters are busy making a difference in perhaps the most important election to ever take place in Hawaii.  So, we turn to you for support.  Donations to h.e.r.m.p are fully tax-deductible and may be sent to
                        P.O. Box 11690
                        Honolulu, HI 96828

Thank you for your support!

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