Church Actions Enter Gay Marriage Trial

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    Lawyers defending California's gay marriage ban produced campaign fliers and other documents Thursday showing some churches in the state opposed the 2008 ballot measure that established the ban.

          Stanford University professor Gary M. Segura spent his second day on the witness stand under cross-examination by David Thompson, a lawyer representing Proposition 8 backers. 
         
    Thompson sought to undercut Segura's earlier testimony that gays are politically powerless in the United States and to show U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker that some churches in the state campaigned against the gay marriage ban.
         
    Gay marriage supporters are trying to demonstrate the campaign behind Proposition 8 was fueled by religious hostility and other animus toward gays.
         
    Thompson also sought to counter Segura's assertion that gays are the targets of more violent hate crimes than any other group, and that such events increased in California and nationally during the campaign for Proposition 8.

    Thompson introduced as evidence news coverage of Proposition 8 supporters being assaulted, getting death threats and being subjected to economic boycotts to argue the gay rights movement lost support because of such incidents.

    "Politically, it's kryptonite, is that correct?" Thompson asked Segura.

    Segura answered that he considered boycotts an acceptable political tool, but "organized violence or even broad disorderly behavior certainly has a negative impact."

    He said such behavior was "a cry for help or expression of frustration or maybe the ultimate expression of powerlessness."