Prop 8 Defense Raises "Gay Mafia"

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A major issue in the Prop 8 trial is whether the lesbian and gay community are a small minority vulnerable to the whims of a largely hostile majority, or a powerful interest group with influence far beyond its numbers. While questioning Stanford political history professor Gary Segura this morning, defense attorney David Thompson introduced a Time Magazine article from October 2008 about "The Gay Mafia." The article asserts that gays and lesbians are big political donors.

The article cites a group, known as "The Cabinet" which is "revered" as a secret gay super friends or "homosexual justice league" that can swoop in with cash to help "the good guys‚" defeat anti-gay candidates. The Cabinet allegedly includes San Franciscan James Hormel of the famous meat company and high-tech entrepreneur David Bohnett of Beverly Hills, who sold a company he founded (Geocities) to Yahoo for $5 billion.

When pushed by Mr. Thompson if this wasn't evidence of gay political power, Dr. Segura joked that it was "fair to say that when campaign money is offered, there are politicians there to accept it." Laughter broke out in the courtroom, and Thompson said, "Well, I guess that's something we can agree on." Pushed further, Dr. Segura couldn't identify a single anti-gay statement made by a statewide elected official in California in the past 25 years.

Nonetheless, Judge Vaughn Walker is clearly losing patience with the lengthy cross examination underway, several times suggesting it was "time to move along," and describing a line of questioning as "at the edge of the pale." Thompson wrapped up his questioning less than five minutes later.

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  • Julie Cason

    I request that you clarify the last line of the 3rd paragraph above. According to the live blogging I’ve been following on 3 web sites, the context of Dr. Segura’s reply was that he couldn’t recount any such statements off the top of his head. You make it sound as if no anti-gay statements have been made by statewide elected officials in CA in the past 25 years. A quick Google proves this incorrect. My first search result:

    Appreciate your clarifying this remark, lest it be misconstrued.