AFER Demands Proposition 8 Trial Unedited Video Be Made Public
Proposition 8 proponents are trying their damndest to conceal the raw video footage from California’s Prop 8 trial so that the public will not be able to view it now or in the future. Now, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) has called for the full and unedited release of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger public trial footage.
Joining AFER in the fight are the City and County of San Francisco, and Media Coalition members, including: The LA Times, CNN, The NY Times, FOX News, NBC News, and The Associated Press. The aforementioned parties filed briefs urging the court to release the videotapes of the public trial, the transcripts of which have always been public.
AFER attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. said, “Why should the public be denied the opportunity to see and hear what happened in a public trial in a public courtroom in a case involving the constitutional rights of millions of people?”
Boutrous added, “The Proponents of Prop. 8 have repeatedly attempted to obscure and distort the facts of this trial because they simply have no case and they seem desperately anxious to prevent the American public from seeing the facts for themselves.”
AFER Board President Chad Griffin echoed sentiments once made by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in regards to another public disclosure case (Doe v. Reed) that, “Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed.” Griffin said,
“Prop. 8 supporters waged a very public and very negative multi-million dollar campaign to block gay and lesbian couples from marrying. If they truly believe in the campaign they waged, they should publicly stand by their defense of Prop. 8 in federal court and not try to stop public access to the trial proceedings. This case involves the constitutional rights of millions of people [and] therefore it is especially important for the public to see what happened during trial.”
In its brief to the Court, Media Coalition members argued that the case “continues to be closely watched because the legality of California’s Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage is of profound interest to millions. Permitting public access to the video recordings of the trial proceedings will only enhance the public’s understanding of and provide confidence in the Court’s ultimate resolution of this matter.”
AFER also launched a campaign encouraging supporters of marriage equality to sign a petition requesting the full and unedited release of the trial tapes.