An appeals court late Monday stayed a
lower court's ruling ordering the release of video of last year's
trial that resulted in declaring Proposition 8, California's gay
marriage ban, unconstitutional, the AP reported.
Last Monday, U.S. District Court Judge
James Ware said, “No compelling reasons exist for continued sealing
of the digital recording of the trial.”
Ware stayed his own ruling until
September 30 to allow for an expected appeal.
Protect Marriage, the coalition of
mostly religious groups that sponsored Proposition 8, appealed the
ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Proponents turned to Ware after U.S.
District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, now retired, used a clip from the
2010 trial he presided over during a speech he gave in February in
Arizona. They asked the court to stop Walker from showing the video
again. Opponents volleyed back with a request to make the recordings
available for broadcast.
At issue was whether release of the
recording would put defense witnesses at risk of harassment from
opponents of the constitutional amendment which overruled a 2008
California Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage in the
David Thompson, a lawyer for Protect
Marriage, told Ware that his concern was with the video “being made
“We were entitled to rely on those
unqualified assurances, and we did,” said Thompson during a
But Ware disagreed, saying the court's
order didn't amount to a requirement to seal the tapes.
“The Court finds that the record does
not support the contention that Judge Walker limited the digital
recording to chambers use only,” Ware wrote. “Judge Walker,
without objection, made copies of the digital recording available to
the parties for use during closing arguments.”