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Although they didn’t put on an elaborate case, Proposition 8 attorneys rejected the contention that they weren’t really trying. They extensively cross-examined the plaintiffs’ witnesses, they said, and spent more hours eliciting testimony from the stand than did their adversaries.

Andrew Pugno, attorney for Protect Marriage, noted at a post-trial news conference that the burden of proof lies with the plaintiffs, not the defense.

While the plaintiffs argued that voters acted out of religious bias or discrimination, all the defense needs to do is give one rational reason for a “yes” vote on Proposition 8.

“A same-sex couple can never offer a child both a mother and a father. And that’s a reasonable reason to decide to keep marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” said Mr. Pugno. “That’s the case. And if we can show that, then I think we prevail.”

Mr. Boies disagreed. “Preventing gays and lesbians from marrying hurts people and does so for no good reason, and you heard that from our witnesses and you heard that from their witnesses,” he said at the news conference.

Whatever Judge Walker’s decision, Perry v. Schwarzenegger is far from over. The case, the first to consider the federal constitutionality of state traditional marriage laws, will surely advance to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.