Elsewhere: Gay Marriage Opponent Wants Out Of Prop. 8 Trial CBS5
A federal appeals court in San Francisco today refused to halt the
broadcast on YouTube of next week’s trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a lawsuit in which sponsors of Proposition 8 today challenged the broadcast plan by the U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.
The appeals court said in a two-sentence order that the sponsors “have not demonstrated that this case warrants the intervention of this court.”
Walker will preside beginning on Monday over a two-week nonjury trial on a lawsuit in which two same-sex couples claim Proposition 8 violates their federal constitutional rights.
He announced on Wednesday that he will allow broadcast by means of a video that will be recorded by court staff and posted on YouTube after a delay of possibly several hours.
The video coverage will be the first broadcast of a federal trial in western states.
It was made possible when the 9th Circuit’s Judicial Council in December approved a pilot program for broadcast of nonjury civil trials in federal courts in nine western states.
The Proposition 8 sponsors argued in their emergency lawsuit that the public wasn’t given adequate notice of the broadcast plan and that the broadcast could result in harassment of witnesses.
Lawyers for the couples who filed the lawsuit responded that proper procedures were followed and that broadcast was justified “in light of the overwhelming national public interest in the issues to be decided in this case.”
In another development today, one of the five official sponsors of Proposition 8, Hak-Shing William Tam of San Francisco, asked Walker to allow him to withdraw as a defendant in the case.
Tam said in the filing that he received threats during the 2008 Proposition 8 campaign and said he is “now fearful for his personal safety and the safety of his family.”
The lawsuit was filed in May against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state officials responsible for enforcing Proposition 8 rather than against the sponsors of the ballot measure.
But Tam and the other four sponsors sought and received permission from Walker to become official parties in the case to defend the measure.
The filing by Tam asks for a hearing “at the earliest opportunity” on his bid to withdraw from the case.
The trial will be the nation’s first on a federal constitutional challenge to restrictions on same-sex marriage.