Deboer v. Snyder – Day 4 Update 2

Attorney General’s cross-exam of Prof Cott:

AG tried to limit Prof Cott’s testimony by restricting her to yes and no answers.  The Judge spoke up and said, if you can’t answer a question with a yes or a no, he wanted her to say that.  They tried to limit the areas of expertise by citing isolated parts of her transcript in which she said she was not an expert in the religion.  Prof Cott read the quote they cited and it said – she was not an expert “in part” in religion. A similar question was asked about being an expert in the law. The portion was not quoted accurately by the AG.  The judge asked her to elaborate, and she said that, to the extent she is a historian, she is a historian of religion and law as it pertains to her specialized area.  She is not, however, a lawyer and so not a legal expert in that sense.

Prof Cott was asked if she believed Michigan should allow same sex marriages.  Her response:  I don’t deal in “should” .  When pressed, she said that allowing same sex marriages would be consistent with the trends in history.  IT would be the right direction to go.

They questioned her about getting paid to be a witness and that she received $30,000 in compensation for her role in the Perry v Schwarzenegger (Prop 8) case.  And, whether or not the States have the right to regulate marriage by restricting related individuals from marrying, the age of the person who marries and the act of bigomy.  All of which Prof. Cott agreed was within the realm of regulation by the states.

Prof. Cott pointed out that banning some marriages is the state’s action to demote or discredit some relationship and that, yes, she believed that banning same sex marriage relegates LGBT people to second class citizenship when it comes to marriage.

The AG asked if it was her opinion that that State should incentivize couples to form “stable and enduring unions so they can procreate and support each other and their children” and again tried to tie that language to a quote in Prof. Cott’s deposition.  The quote material actually did not include the middle part of the sentence “so they can procreate” , and without that portion, Prof. Cott agreed with the statement.

RE-Direct by Plaintiff

Prof. Cott explained that sexual intimacy is going to occur between men and women in society and that the state’s interest is in creating household groupings that economically support the people within that household.  Separately, states hold adults responsible for those they procreate.  The concept of supporting child is central to our laws, while the concept of encouraging the bearing of children is invisible.

The centrality of gender difference or gender roles in marriage has “dropped out” of the laws.  The relationship of marriage to gender has been on a trajectory where gender has a limited, if any, role to do with marriage.  No one applying for a marriage license has ever been asked what their role will be in the marriage.

End of testimony.

Next Week

Monday 3/3/14 at 9am

Defendant –Oakland County Clerk Brown will take the stand.

Then the AG’s office will start their case.  Their first witness will be Sharif Gurgas and then Mark Regnarus will likely start testifying in the afternoon.  It is anticipated to be a full day of testimony.


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