Federal Court: Prop 8 Trial Tapes Should Be Made Public

by Carolyn Simon

Trial Judge Finds No Reason to Keep Videos Under Seal


Washington – The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today praised the ruling of Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that the videotapes of the trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown) should be made public.  During last year’s trial, which ended with a historic decision finding California’s constitutional amendment stripping marriage rights from same-sex couples in violation of the U.S. Constitution, Judge Vaughn Walker order the proceedings to be videotaped.  While the Supreme Court ultimately barred the tapes from being released at the time of the trial, transcripts of those proceedings are now part of the public record, and the content of the trial was widely reported in all forms of media.  This summer, lawyers representing the plaintiff same-sex couples asked Judge Ware to release the tapes.  While Judge Ware agreed with their arguments, he also stayed the implementation of his decision until September 30, giving the proponents of Proposition 8 an opportunity to appeal his decision.  Judge Walker’s decision overturning Prop 8 remains on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.        

“Proponents of Proposition 8 were willing to put the equality of gay and lesbian Californians to a popular vote, but not to make their case against our relationships publicly.  Today’s decision brings us a step closer to letting the American people see, and judge, for themselves whether permitting committed same-sex couples to marry harms anyone,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We thank the American Foundation for Equal Rights and the legal team led by Ted Olson and David Boies for their continued fight to protect all California couples and expose the unsupported arguments against our equality.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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