An official sponsor of Proposition 8 testified in federal court in San Francisco Thursday that he believes same-sex marriage would lead to "social moral decay."
Hak-Shing William Tam of San Francisco, a chemical engineer who directs a group called Traditional Family Coalition, is one of five sponsors of Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban enacted by state voters in 2008.
He was called to the stand at a trial before U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker as a hostile witness by lawyers for two same-sex couples who claim the measure violates their federal constitutional rights.
The couples are seeking to use his testimony to support their argument that one reason for striking down Proposition 8 is that it was improperly motivated by moral disapproval of gays and lesbians.
Under questioning from plaintiffs' attorney David Boies, Tam said, "If same-sex marriage is legal, it would encourage children to explore having someone of the same sex as their future marriage partner.
"From both the Asian cultural view
and also from the Christian angle, we think this is social moral decay," he said.
Tam said he believes same-sex marriage could lead to allowing incest, pedophilia and polygamy.
In cross-examination, Nicole Moss, a lawyer for Proposition 8 defenders, sought to show that Tam wasn't acting with approval of the measure's campaign committee, ProtectMarriage.com, when he made such statements.
"I was acting independently," Tam said.
But under return questioning from Boies, Tam agreed he had participated in weekly campaign conference calls, invited campaign chairman Ron Prentice to an outdoor rally and, together with a colleague, received campaign funding for television and newspaper ads.
The trial, was in its eighth day Thursday, is nearing the end of the plaintiffs' case.
The same-sex couples will present their last witness today. The Proposition 8 sponsors will present at least two experts as defense witnesses to testify about the institution of marriage and the political power of homosexuals.
The trial is scheduled to end Tuesday and the judge, who is hearing the case without a jury, will issue a written ruling later.