The U.S. Supreme Court turned cameras off for the federal Proposition 8 trial, but the High Court could not prevent a broadcast of the court proceedings.
The broadcast, however, was of a re-enactment – directed by two California filmmakers using transcripts, news accounts and blogs from the San Francisco courtroom.
Twelve episodes went up on YouTube earlier this month, just days after testimony concluded in the non-jury trial over the constitutionality of Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage amendment approved by California voters in November 2008.
The trial began Jan. 11 with U.S. Judge Vaughn R. Walker presiding. Attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies represented two same-sex couples who want to marry but cannot because of Prop 8. Attorney Andy Pugno defended the ban because California’s top elected officials – the governor and the attorney general – denounced the Prop 8 amendment as indefensible.
Olson and Boies, during the first weeks of the trial, sought to prove three arguments:
Olson and Boies called a variety of witnesses to offer personal and expert testimony on the role of marriage and a history of discrimination against gays.
Pugno said the plaintiffs put on a good show, but failed to prove California voters acted irrationally in approving the amendment. “The question is whether the people have a right to decide what is best,” Pugno told the press after he rested his case in late January.
Closing arguments are next expected to be heard until March.
As the trial – and the filming of its reenactment – went on hiatus, marriage advocates turned their focus to celebrating the 13th annual national Freedom to Marry Week, which began Feb. 8 and was to continue to Feb. 14.
“Every year, right around President Lincoln’s birthday and Valentine’s Day – symbolizing equality and love – supporters of the freedom to marry take action,” said Freedom to Marry executive director Evan Wolfson.
Events, from receptions to demonstrations, were taking place in many major cities.