On the first day of what is scheduled to be a truncated defense, Prop. 8 proponents sought to portray gays and lesbians as a powerful minority that has colluded with politicians and professional organizations to further its legislative and social agenda.

Kenneth Miller, a professor of political science at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif., testified that the LGBT community has been increasingly persuasive in American politics, pushing for antidiscrimination laws, adoption rights, federal hate-crimes legislation, and domestic-partnership laws in states like California. Miller defined “political powerlessness” as having “no ability to attract attention of the lawmakers.”

When asked by defense attorney David H. Thompson whether the term is applicable to gays, Miller responded, “In my view that’s an incorrect assessment. I do believe that gays and lesbians have power.”

Miller’s testimony was in stark contrast to that of the plaintiffs’ expert witness who testified on the subject last week. Gary Segura, a political science professor at Stanford University, concluded from his research that gays lack substantive political power and explained such laws as “attempts to redress discrimination, to ameliorate a disadvantage. ... While it’s good to have [these laws], it’s difficult to conclude that’s a measure of political power in itself.”

While defense attorneys had questioned many of the personal pro-marriage equality sentiments of the plaintiffs’ phalanx of expert witnesses, plaintiffs’ attorney David Boies instead went straight to questioning Miller’s expertise itself, accusing him of doing last-minute research on discrimination laws and other gay-related legislation since his original deposition.

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