Gay Marriage Supporters Outnumber Opponents at Trial

Perhaps some of the most interesting people engaged in the Perry v. Schwarzennger trial this week in California are those who sit quietly in the main courtroom, observing. There is the older gay couple, David Bowers and Bruce Ivie, who were married legally in California before Prop 8 passed but want the same rights for their friends. They seem like gentle but determined watchdogs. "We are going to be here every day," says Ivie. The courtroom is small and hot and it's hard not to notice small physical reactions to testimony, like how Bowers seemed unable to breathe and then needed a Kleenex when the young plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo described how coming out "is a very personal and internal process." There is the African-American lesbian sitting right behind me, and the four young lawyers who want to see what one of them calls "our generation's Brown v. Board of Education." Inside and outside of the courtroom are journalists, legal reporters, and the lesbian legal expert who is blogging but still hasn't made the leap to Twitter. On the first day of trial, after a cold morning vigil outside, a lesbian couple in the elevator joked about one of them having hat hair. "She's going on TV! She's going to be interviewed!" said her wife, or perhaps domestic partner, or perhaps girlfriend. "I told her not to wear that hat," they both laughed, but the mussed-up one in question still did her best to press down her spiked hair.

If there are gay-marriage opponents, they are keeping a low profile compared to those who support it. The first morning vigil outside the courtroom, which also served as a quiet protest for Prop 8 supporters, has not been repeated. Carla Hass, communications director for ProtectMarriage.com says even the defense's legal team is outnumbered. "Look at their table and their overflow chairs," she says, indicated the long table where the Ted Olson and David Boies team is seated. "We've got probably a dozen attorneys working on this, they've got at least 40." (The difference is even more distinct in the second-floor cafeteria at lunchtime, which is filled with gay-marriage supporters and lawyers trying to grab a bite between sessions, with few defense lawyers, or gay-marriage opponents in sight).

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