Thursday, May 13, 2010
Equality on Trial
On January 11th, 2010, a trial began in the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a voter initiative passed in 2008 that outlawed same-sex marriage in the state of California. Previously, the California Supreme Court had ruled that same-sex couples had the legal right to marry. During the time same-sex marriage was legal in California, some 18,000 couples tied the knot.
At the start of the trial, Judge Vaughn Walker tried to get the trial recorded on video for daily uploads to YouTube, however, the Defendants (Pro-Prop 8) successfully appealed to the US Supreme Court to prevent any audio or video recordings of the trial. What were they afraid of? Well, if you read the testimony, it's pretty clear - hate isn't very attractive in the light of public scrutiny.
The Courage Campaign then setup a website: The Prop8 Trial Tracker in order to provide daily live blogging from the trial, and commentary on the proceedings, as well as to provide a forum for interested parties to discuss it, so that some record might make it out into the public realm.
Today, Courage Campaign has setup the Equality on Trial website to bring the transcripts to a wider audience. The first part of the project is 10 excerpts from the trial, written in 'script' form suitable to be acted out and recorded. The idea is that others interested in this case will act out these scripts with friends and/or family, video tape them, and upload them for wider dissemination.
Even if you do not want to actually re-enact any of the current scripts, they are well worth the read, and are also much easier to read than the official trial transcripts.
Of course, if you want to read the official trial transcripts, you can download them from The American Foundation for Equal Rights.
The trial is currently on temporary hold as the Defendants (aka. 'The H8rs') try desperately to have some of their own 'expert' witness testimony removed from the trial record, since it made their case look pretty bad. Particularly Dr. Tam's testimony in support of Prop 8. See the script focusing on a portion of his testimony here. If nothing else, read that for a good example of the Defendants arguments against marriage equality.
Closing arguments in the case are currently scheduled for June 16th, 2010. No matter who wins, it is expected to eventually reach the US Supreme Court.