Supporters of Proposition 8 have
appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that will allow
the first federal case to challenge the constitutionality of a gay
marriage ban to be broadcast over the Internet, the Los Angeles
Supporters of Proposition 8, the
voter-approved measure that placed a gay marriage ban in the
California Constitution and trumped a state Supreme Court ruling that
granted gay couples the right to marry, have submitted a last-minute
application to the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to stay Chief U.S.
District Judge Vaughn Walker's Wednesday ruling after a federal
appeals court rejected a similar request.
In their appeal filed with Justice
Anthony M. Kennedy Saturday, supporters argued that their client's
right to a fair trial would be harmed if it was broadcast on YouTube,
the video-sharing site owned by Google.
The trial “has the potential to
become a media circus,” the appeal says. “The record is already
replete with evidence showing that any publicizing of support for
Prop. 8 has inevitably led to harassment, economic reprisal, threats,
and even physical violence.”
Judge Walker, who is presiding over the
trial that begins Monday and is expected to last about 3 weeks, ruled
that portions of the trial would be made available on YouTube at the
end of each day.
“This is a case which merits a very
serious consideration for widespread distribution,” Walker said
during Wednesday's hearing.
Walker is acting after a pilot program
that would for the first time allow cameras in civil trials was
approved by the governing body for federal courts in Western states.
Challengers to Proposition 8 have
welcomed the broadcast. A coalition of media organizations,
including network broadcasters, CNN and Court TV, have also argued in
favor of allowing cameras in the courtroom.
“If there is a public benefit to
public trials – and there is – then there is also a public
benefit to complete access to public trials,” lawyers representing
the media group said in a filing.
Justice Kennedy has the authority to
act on his own or the option of sharing the issue with his
colleagues, the Supreme Court said. However, Kennedy had not acted
on the application as of Sunday afternoon.
Kristin Perry v Arnold
Schwarzenegger is the first such case to be heard in a federal
courtroom, but three more are wending their way through the system,
suit brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley,
who is campaigning for the Senate seat vacated by the late Senator
The case is expected to eventually
reach the Supreme Court.