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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)

This shouldn't be happening, the voters of california struck this down twice, give it up and move on.

To: A Concerned Citizen

One of the purposes of the US consitution is to uphold individual rights. If you allow the Majority to remove the rights of the minority, how many other rights would be removed? Women's Sufrage, interacial marriage, slavery?

Yes, you didn't vote for Obama but that doesn't change any rights you have. Your life will go on relatively unchanged. When you vote to take away rights of a minority you're enforcing your opinions on others.

As a straight mother I say it is way past time to show our children that equal rights for all are important. Equal but separate has never worked and it won't work for gay marriage. The word, marriage, IS the equal right. All the religious bigots trying to stop this should remember that Jesus said, treat others as you want to be treated. Gays want equality and they should have it. It is way past time. A minority didn't want blacks to have equal rights either. Shame! Be prejudiced in your churches if you want to. Not in our courts.

Oh, and Jonathan, a jury that was never shown on camera decided the OJ trial, not Ito.

How many times does the "concerned american" need it explained to him that not everything is decided by majority vote in this country? He's obviously been told this over and over again, yet he keeps repeating, "The people voted!" Does he really want a country where a slim majority can wrest control of our treasured principles and abridge them for whomever they dislike? While it's beside the point, yes, 52% is a slim majority, certainly not the clear and unwavering voice of "the people." Would you want legal policy made by someone who was 52% sure they were right? I don't.

You're afraid that if 8 goes, any prop can go? Why? That's like being afraid that once the state allows the execution of a convicted murderer, they can then start dragging people off the street and into the chair.

I think this is a great idea. We should all be more informed on not only the issues, but the process.

What are people so afraid of? I would think this is a great way to explain your position to a (potentially) large audience, whatever side you're on.

A final note - I'm glad to see this trial will be public, as a discussion of civil rights should be. The resulting decision will affect us all, though I don't know that the transparency will have any real benefit or effect.

Hey "A Concerned American", it's because of people like you that we continue to fight for EQUAL rights. Thanks for helping us remember each and every day why we will be the ones smiling in the end! :) This court trial SHOULD be televised. Then the world can see just how many lies Prop 8 supporters have been feeding them. Welcome to the year 2010! This is OUR year! :D

This is not about religion and it's not about meddling. It's about changing something that is and has already been in place. To most, marriage means a union between a man and woman. This has already been tested. Now through the appeals process the losers are trying to find a technicality to negate the vote. I don't blame them for trying but lets call it what it is and stop trying to cloud the issue. If a technicality is found and the vote is indeed overturned, we must recognize that the majority vote was overturned not because it was wrong or somehow ill represented but because of some mistake. In such a case the truth will be that the wishes and intentions of the majority will not have been represented. The judge has the authority but not the right to decide this. Errors if found should be corrected but the decision should not be overturned. Afterall, the government is supposed to be for the people and the judiciary is supposed to be one branch of the government.

I don't "hate" pedophiles - I know what they are practicing is wrong.

Homosexuality is sin - always has been and always will be. It is not hatred - it is truth.

A Concerned Citizen: In 1964 only a MINORITY of Americans were in favor of the civil rights act. Good thing Congress did the moral thing instead of the popular thing. "Winning" by majority doesn't make it right- just look at the two terms of the Bush administration!

Dan O: I burst out laughing when I saw your post as I have been receiving emails for the past two days from the Courage Campaign asking us to demand that the trial be televised. But if you say a lie long enough.....

Gay marriage will be legal in our lifetime. It is inevitable because it is the right and moral thing to do. Period.

Your not just only a "concerned american", but also a notsosmart american. First of all, as an American, and per the constitution, our government is set up so the majority does not have the ability to hold tyrany over the minority. Second, you are not using the word minority correctly, we are not talking about a minority vote, but a minority population allowed the same rights. Lastly, you live in california, and that exactly what you did to get the present governor in.

Yes, because the majority is always right...... like the majority in certain states who thought blacks shouldn't marry whites and "Seperate but equal" worked out fine.

I honestly think this is a ploy by those who want Gays and Lesbians to be allowed to marry. The argument is that if this is televised people will be discriminated against either way. For those who oppose gay marriage they will now be considered the enemy and therefore be discriminated against because of their views. I constantly hear that Gays and Lesbians are constantly being discriminated against well what about those who oppse gay marriage what do they go through. I have yet to have been provided proof the Gays and Lesbians are "born that way" nor has there been any proof the there is a "Gay Gene". Therefore the are the way they choose. If we are trying to let them live the way they choose then what is to stop us from allowing Polygamy. This will allow polygamists and others the avenue to be accepted. SO think upon that. Before you open a Pandora's Box make sure you can handle its contents. Gay and Lesbians I do not "hate" or "discriminate" against you. If you choose to live this way that is your decision but please do not try to push your views on us if you cannot accept others.

I agree with "A Concerned American" in that this will never end until the minority get its way. Our judicial and voting system have become intertwined to the point where votes mean nothing and everything is a total charade.

Those comments that say that simply because a vote was had on an issue settles the question demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge of how our country's constitutional system works. A majority of citizens voting in favor of a law does not mean it is constitutional. For instance, a majority of Californians could vote to make Christianity illegal. However, such an inane law would be held to be unconstitutional and a court would strike it down. Another example is desegregation in the South. There were numerous laws enacted in Southern states to disenfranchise African-Americans and they were ultimately struck down as unconstituional. So simply saying that a majority of people have voted for a law says nothing about whether it is constitutional.

Mr/s. Concerned American: here's a hint: Read the Constitution. There's some interesting tidbits in there that you may find informative. Otherwise, you're just another ill-informed person claiming you are "American" without any knowledge of some very basic ideas which are at the core of our Democracy. Which is as common today as it is sad.

@Dan O "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."

You wish! If this judge wants to YT this, I say "bring it on"! As others have noted, this was voted on TWICE and turned down TWICE!

BTW, your über-lefty buddy Obama OPPOSES same-sex marriage. I wonder why?

Let this form of prejudice get banned.

Its as simple as that. Its not as if them getting married will have ANY effect on our everyday lives.

This is pathetic.

Thank you Judge for bringing this to the open. I am affected by this restriction to marry my partner of 7 years. My marriage with another guy will not afect yours. If you were born gay you would be mad as I am to see my rights taken away by a majority that puts RELIGION before LOGIC.

Just because people voted on this doesn't mean it is Constitutional. Nor does it mean that it is exempt from checks and balances.

The first Amendment guarantees Freedom of Religion. Gay people are intitled to this freedom as well. It is Unconstitutional for the government to be enforcing religious beliefs upon a minority group just because the Majority says so.

The US Constitution also guarantees equal protection under the law. There are over 1000 laws regarding marriage. It is Unconstituional for a majority to deny a minority group equal protection under those laws.

What IS Constitutional is for a law to be reviewed in court if someone files a suit that the law is Unconstitutional.

I am sorry for all the people who just keep repeating...(in a whiny voice) but we voted! Whaaa.

Yes you did. You voted. Now stop whining and let the checks and balances carefully designed into the United States' represenative form of democracy do its job. The Judicial Branch of the Government is there for checks and balances. Just because a law was put in place by voters and not the legislative branch of government does NOT mean that it is exempt from due process of the checks and balance process.

We the people of the United State in order to form a more perfect union......

where in the constitution does it grant a right to get married????

Or right to other people paying for your healthcare.

To be fair to those that argue the courts should not interfere in this way, it's certainly a valid complaint, and not a new one. Thomas Jefferson expressed concerns about the possibility of abuses when it came to the concept of Judicial Review, stating,

"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. [...]. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves."

But it can be argued that such interference can from time to time is necessary, to protect a minority from what has occasionally been a less than fair-minded majority . The Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education began the end of a state sanctioned, and at the time popularly supported, policy of racial segregation in schools.

And what is at question here is if a majority can tell a group of people how they can marry. This may not be what was originally intended for the third branch of American government, but it is what they do now: when needed, protecting society from itself.

Jonathan and A Concerned American, you need to review your civics lessons. We are a representative republic, NOT a true democracy. If this was a "ya or na" type system, we would have hundreds if not thousands of laws on the books that violate rights and set theological views as rule of law which is exactly what this country was founded to avoid.

I use this example.... if there had been a item on the ballot on Nov. 4th, 2001 to ban Islam in the US, I guarantee it would have passed with a majority vote. But would have immediately been struck down by our judicial system as unconstitutional. Same if legislators tried to ban it.
Now granted religious freedom is a guarantee in the constitution, the democratic process still would have tried to take away that right by majority vote.
Same with Prop 8... you now have a law that took away and prevents the equal rights of a minority group that is protected under the constitution. And while many argue that being gay is a choice and thus not a protected status, you can also say the same about religion: one chooses how they worship and is free by the constitution to worship, but just because they chose that doesn't mean they should have a protected status in things like housing, employment, etc.

Thus we have checks and balances with the three branches of government.

Remember the words of Thomas Jefferson: "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

None of my gay friends 20 years ago wanted to get married because marriage represented everything that they oppossed in our society. Why the push now? I suspect that it has nothing to do with "equal rights", and everything to do with trying to grab a piece of the power pie. The irony is that the Pro 8 people supported Obama, who opposes same-sex marriage, and the mainstream media and entertainment industry portray them in the same old catty stereotypes.

And "why the push now?" 20 years ago your gay friends were probably worried about being able to be seen in public together, so I don't think marriage really was a realistic concern. Things do change, you know.

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