The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, located in San Francisco, has temporarily halted the release of the district court trial video in California’s landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger Proposition 8 gay marriage case. ProtectMarriage.com and other interest groups opposed to gay marriage had requested that the video not be released. Last month, Judge James Ware of the federal U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco ruled that the video from last year’s Prop 8 trial should be released to the public by September 30, but noted that a higher court could find a reason to delay the release, which is what happened here. The Court of Appeals, which is entertaining an appeal of the District Court’s decision in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, also expedited its hearing of the appeal of the case, scheduling it for the week of December 5.
Roller Coaster Background
In a 2008 statewide referendum, California voters narrowly adopted Proposition 8, banning gay marriage. However, gay marriage supporters then sued the State of California in federal court, arguing that Prop 8 violated the U.S. Constitution. In August 2010, the U.S. District Court agreed with the plaintiffs and overturned Prop 8, ruling that Prop 8 violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection and due process.
Parties who supported the losing side, including ProtectMarriage.com, then appealed the District Court’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The Court of Appeals asked the State Supreme Court of California to rule on whether the parties appealing the district court’s ruling have standing to file their appeal, since they were not parties to or directly affected by the original case. The California Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this issue, which put the federal case on hold for months. Many people believe that the gay marriage issue will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, whether via this California case or similar cases from other states that are currently pending in the lower courts.
Chance to See Legal Eagles David Boies and Ted Olson in Action
Much of the desire to view the Prop 8 trial video stems from its featuring of legal superstars David Boies and Ted Olson, a liberal and a conservative, who teamed up to argue successfully in the district court that Prop 8 should be struck down as unconstitutional. Gay marriage supporters effusively praised Boies and Olson for their captivating courtroom performances during the trial, which only a relatively few people thus far have seen.
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© 2011 Matthew Emmer — All Rights Reserved
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