U.S. District Court orders unsealing of Proposition 8 trial videos, subject to temporary stay
On September 19, 2011 At 11:34 am
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The federal trial of the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, an initiative which banned marriage equality after same sex couples were granted the right to marry by the California Supreme Court, was video taped. However, the public was barred from viewing the live video stream of the trial before Judge Vaughn Walker after proponents of Proposition 8 obtained a United States Supreme Court order injunction. Proponents of the ban felt their witnesses would be intimidated by a public video feed of the proceedings. The digital recordings were sealed and held in the trial records.
Those records will now be unsealed, subject to a stay until September 30, per an order signed by Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court, which found "that the only issue it is resolving in this Order is whether the digital recording of the trial should be unsealed pursuant to the common law right of access to court records, given that the recording is a court record."
Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign, applauded the decision, writing in a letter published on the Courage Campaign's blog,
Just now, Judge Ware ruled in favor of our side’s motion to release the Prop 8 trial videotapes! This is a critical victory: allowing the public to view this testimony will show that Prop 8 was based on prejudice, that ProtectMarriage.com had no credible defense and that Judge Walker was not at all biased.
The 9th Circuit Judge Ware's order in Kristin M. Perry, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al., Defendants, is available on the American Foundation for Equal Rights' website.