HRC Calls for Tapes in Historic California ‘Prop 8’ Marriage Equality Trial to be Unsealed

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released the following statement after a federal judge denied a request from KQED to unseal the full record, including videotapes, of the historic California ‘Prop 8’ marriage equality trial. The judge has ruled that the tapes will be release in 2020.

“It’s shocking that anyone would oppose releasing this important piece of history -- what in the world do the proponents of Prop 8 have to hide and what are they scared of?” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “There is absolutely no legitimate reason to keep the Proposition 8 trial tapes hidden from the public. The case against Prop 8 was brought by four courageous Californians -- Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami -- whose fight for equality is a crucial part of the historic record and our nation's civil rights history. Now, the same forces who sought to deny these loving couples their most basic fundamental rights are trying to conceal the court tapes. That is wrong, and we believe these proceedings must be made public immediately given the impact they've had on millions of Americans lives as part of the decades long struggle to secure marriage equality nationwide.” 

Prop 8 was the 2008 amendment to the California Constitution that stripped the state of marriage equality. On May 22, 2009, two same-sex couples -- Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo -- filed suit against the State of California in federal court, arguing that California’s Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution by denying them a fundamental right and depriving them of equal protection of the laws.

Prop 8 was ultimately overturned by the United States Court in the case Perry v. Brown, where the couples were supported by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), an organization co-founded by HRC President Chad Griffin. HRC also backed KQED efforts to release the full record of the groundbreaking case last April.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community



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