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Judge backs delayed showing of Prop. 8 trial on YouTube

A federal judge in San Francisco said today that he wants the trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 to be videotaped and distributed over the Internet.

"This certainly is a case that has sparked widespread interest," U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker said during a hearing. "I think a trial can be highly informative."

If Walker's view is endorsed, as expected, by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the legal battle over same-sex marriage will become the first federal trial in nine Western states to be videotaped for public distribution, according to Thomas Burke, a media attorney.

In addition to running the entire proceedings on a delayed basis on YouTube, the videotape would be broadcast at several other federal courthouses, Walker said.

Supporters of Proposition 8 opposed public dissemination of the trial video, arguing that witnesses might be intimidated speaking before an audience of millions of people. An attorney for the Proposition 8 supporters declined to comment when asked if he would challenge Walker's decision.

Opponents of Proposition 8 favor courtroom cameras.

Burke, arguing for a media coalition, asked Walker to permit live video coverage with "broadcast quality" equipment.

Walker rejected that request. He said it was important for the "process to be completely under the court's control." The delay would be several hours. Walker would be able to stop the video at any time.

Although Burke did not get what he wanted, he called Walker's remarks "a really important first step" to televising federal trials. Burke said he hoped the video would be disseminated on a timely basis.

The trial is scheduled to start Monday and is expected to last two to three weeks.

--Maura Dolan in San Francisco

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Comments () | Archives (52)

Well, its one step in the right direction at least...

Hopefully this entire circus will lead to making all forms of marriage legal and equal: straight, gay, multiple (e.g. polygamy), intrafamily, and any other alternative form of marriage anyone might be inclined toward. Of course allowing gay marriage but not allowing any of the other alternative forms of marriage would be unfair and frankly hypocritical.

sounds like a censorship waiting to happen to me?

Here we go AGAIN!!! WE the citizens of California already have voted on this several times. So now we need a court to interpt OUR vote???

Basically, this will never end until the minority gets their way???

Hey, I (and the minority) did not vote for Obama, maybe we should take that to court and also have him removed as well, so we ( the minority) can have our way as well.

This is an excellent beginning of showing how these trials work. The supporters for Prop 8 don't want it shown for reasons they aren't being honest about. The real fear is Americans will see the arguments used to discriminate against gays and lesbians soundly dismantled. They're out pushing for secrecy at the same time they're accusing the judge of being biased. What a better way to ensure an unbiased judge by making the proceedings truly public? They know that Prop 8 will not stand up to constitutional scrutiny, so they're planting the seeds for when they lose to make people thing the judge was biased against them. Their lead lawyer already had to admit in open court that they didn't know what "harm" they were "protecting" marriage from by denying the equal marriage rights.

I think this is a load of crap. California has voted (twice) on Prop. 8. Same sex marriage was voted down both times. Who doesn't get this? It's the law. You can't be Fred and Fred. It's Fred and Ethal by law. Isn't anyone listening? What a bunch of lumps.

Yes, let them continue to stir the pot with the american people. Afterall, this is a midterm year. I guess they still haven't gotten the message of NO with 31-0.

@Dan O - please - try to think in terms of bias (rather than knocking down 'arguments'). Look at the OJ trial. Everyone knew about that - and it was a travesty.

We've voted on this issue as a state - twice. I guess that's not enough proof for you of what people don't want here. So, if it does get struck down, look for a whole slew of props which have already passed to be repealed - and there goes the ability of Californians to decide the course of the state Constitution. You really want to leave that up to a handful of judges? I don't.

Great idea!!! People need to see this unconstitutional proposition shot down.

Save the tax payers time and money, just let them get married. Leave religion out of it. The churchs have the right not to perform or have the marriage on their property. Really what is the big deal? This is still suppose to be a free country. Stay out of other people's lives and get a hobbie other then meddling. On the Obama statement: I would like to see a vote for him now. I really doubt he has the same support!!

So -- by listening to "A Concerned American"'s point of view and only voting once on an issue -- I am SURE you don't support having the parental notification issue on the ballot this Novemeber for a 4th TIME! -- I mean California have already voted that down 3 times...why let it come back over and over again...

"A Concerned American" thinks a 52% majority vote is sufficient to decide who gets what rights in our society. Great idea. If this was how things worked in America, and we didn't have a Constitution and a court system to settle disputes, then black folks would still be riding in the back of the bus in Alabama, and women and black folks would not be able to vote.

Perhaps "A Concerned American" will have some of his or her own rights taken away some day by 52% of the voters. I wonder then how much respect this person will have for "the will of the people."

Voting for Prop 8 and voting for the President of the United States are two separate issues. Let's not confuse the two. Sometimes the minority must rule to make a common since change such as allowing gays to marry. Please explain why they should not be allowed to marry? Please do not use the following talking points; ruins traditional marriage, people will want to marry their family members or animals and God said so. Ok go.

If you're against this trial, you're against the American system of government. This is how it's always worked. You can't stand the fact that you're being challenged.

We have a judicial branch of government for a reason. The voters do not get the final word on ballot propositions; the courts do.

@Jonathan.. Part of the courts existence is to balance out the powers of government. As a Constitutional Republic the rights of the minority are just as important as the rights of the majority. When a majority passes laws that are unconstitutional, the courts have a duty to resolve it. This is a civil federal trial that affects a wide group of people, not a state criminal trial. The OJ trial does not compare here.

The whole reason the Yes on 8 team doesn't want you to see this is every argument they used to get you to vote for Prop 8 is going to be soundly dismantled by the Olson/Boies. It was already done in the Iowa Supreme Court decision, but no one reads anymore. With this being on video, more people will see this process and understand that this is the courts role.

The California Constitutional process is flawed. Even Kenneth Starr said in court that the majority can remove the any right of any group they desire through a popular vote, no matter how unwise that may be. Does that sound like a good idea to you?

"""sounds like a censorship waiting to happen to me?""" I think you're right. Typical liberal business as usual(trickery). They're going to edit the sensible and convincing prop 8 argument against homosexual 'marriage'. No matter what tricks they use, 31-0 and counting says america has made up it's mind concerning homosexual 'marriage'.

Get back in the closet, and stay in there you filthy homos. I don't care what anyone else thinks, i'm sick of the gays.

1 Corinthians 6:9 (New International Version)

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders

In response to "A Concerned American", that's a dangerous position to take. I'd like to believe that our country is built on values and freedoms, and that some (if not all) of those fundamental values can't be taken away even by a majority vote. In fact, I'd be afraid to live in a country where 10 years from now, a particular state could decide to re-establish slavery simply because the majority wanted it. I'm not trying to tie the two causes (slavery and gay marriage) together, but I'm just saying that I don't think the "majority rules" argument alone is enough.

A Concerned American is so dumb he/she doesn't understand a state legal issue vs a federal legal issue.

The US Constitution is the ruling law of the United States. Every American citizen has the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Read the Loving vs VA and the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

To the poster calling himself/herself "A Concerned American," the reason this issue is going back to the court is because it's a discriminatory issue denying one person(s) a right while granted another person(s) a right. Your use of President Obama's election doesn't hold water, because we're not talking about denying a right to a certain person(s); i.e., no one voted in a proposition denying a black person a right to become president as opposed to a white person.

If you cannot figure out that one, ask someone else to explain it in more detail. Like your spouse. Whom you were probably already related to at the time of your marriage....

The issue here is obvious. If those supporters of Proposition 8 are so adamant in their beliefs about marriage, why are they so afraid to be televised or have their names in support of this issue via donations, as posted on the Secretary of State's and other web sites? As a Libertarian I'm against laws that impose my or anyone else's beliefs on others of what should and shouldn't be, and I have no problem with anyone knowing that and who I am, what my name is, where I live, and so on, weather or not I support an issue. Why are you Proposition 8 supporters so afraid? Maybe you can remain anonymous and wear white hoods over your heads like that other group of inbreds that too feels their way the right way.

Jonathan, considering the mess we are in because of some of these propositions financially, it may not be such a bad outcome after all.

As Prop. 8 has proven, there are times when the majority is wrong.

Next they'll call EVERY SINGLE person who voted for Prop 8 to the witness stand.

I'm tired of judges throwing away votes in California.....why the hell do we even have an initiative process? They all go get decided in a court anyway.

INTIMIDATION ordered by Federal Judge? This Country really needs CHANGE, but much different then the one presented to us by "ANOINTED ONE!"

"WE the citizens of California already have voted on this several times...."

Let's get this straight (so to speak): This federal case is about whether or not it is constitutional to put certain rights to a vote. The court is not interpreting the vote; they are interpreting whether the majority has the right to rule on the rights of a minority.

In the United States, majority rules in some matters. However, we don't take a vote on whether or not conservative Christians or Mormons should be allowed to practice their choice of religion. That's not the kind of country we are. No matter what the majority thinks. Even though both of these groups voted overwhelmingly against my rights as a gay person (and not too many years ago, they voted against me as a black person), I would never vote against theirs. And that's what the Constitution is all about.

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