California Supreme Court to issue ruling Thursday on question of standing in Prop 8 case

The passage of Proposition 8 sparked angry protests around the country

The California Supreme Court today announced that it will issue its opinion tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 17, on whether supporters of Proposition 8 have standing to appeal a trial court ruling that the voter-approved amendment banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, according to this report at MetroWeekly.com.

Voters passed Prop 8 in the November 2008 election, 52 percent to 48 percent, just months after the state Supreme Court issued a ruling saying that a law prohibiting same-sex marriage in California violated the state’s Constitution. Prop 8, however, amended the California Constitution, adding a clause declaring that only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized there.

The vote sparked widespread protests, and opponents soon filed a federal lawsuit, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, claiming that Prop 8 violates the 14th Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection in the U.S. Constitution. Then-Attorney General Jerry Brown chose not to defend the case in court, saying he, too, believed Prop 8 was unconstitutional. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he supported the lawsuit because it asked important constitutional questions that needed to be answered, but none of the other state officials named as defendents were willing to defend the case in court, either.

At that point, a group called ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponents of Prop 8 in the election, and a second group called the Campaign for California Families both filed motions to intervene to defend the amendment. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker allowed ProtectMarriage.com to intervene but denied the second group’s effort. Imperial County filed a motion to intervene to defend Prop 8, but their motion was also denied because the deadline for filing had passed.

In August 2010, Walker ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional. He placed the ruling on hold, however, pending appeal to the 9th Circuit Court, a stay which the 9th Court later extended. ProtectMarriage.com appealed Walker’s ruling to the 9th Circuit, and again Brown and Schwarzenegger refused to defend the amendment in court. And this time, Walker’s ruling cast doubt on whether ProtectMarriage.com actually had legal standing to appeal his ruling.

A three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court heard oral arguments on the case on Dec. 6, 2010 and a month later, on Jan. 4, 2011, the 9th Circuit judges sent the request to the California Supreme Court, asking for an opinion on whether ProtectMarriage.com had legal standing to appeal Walker’s ruling.

Regardless of how the California Supreme Court rules tomorrow on the question of standing, the case is still a long way from settled. Whichever way the three-judge 9th Circuit panel eventually rules on the constitutionality of Prop 8, those on the losing side of that argument will likely appeal first to the full 9th Circuit Court, and from there to the U.S. Supreme Court.

—  admin

Judge mulls unsealing videos from Prop 8 trial

Judge James Ware

After Monday’s hearing, Vaughn Walker’s successor says he’ll issue written ruling at later date

LISA LEFF | Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The legal sparring over California’s same-sex marriage ban returned to a federal courtroom Monday with a judge hearing arguments on whether he should unseal video recordings of last year’s landmark trial on the constitutionality of the voter-approved measure.

Lawyers representing two same-sex couples, the city of San Francisco and a coalition of media groups that includes The Associated Press asked Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware to make the recordings public.

They maintained that allowing people to see the proceedings for themselves was necessary to demonstrate why Ware’s predecessor, former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, ultimately struck down the ban, known as Proposition 8, and to counter any perceptions that Walker was biased against same-sex marriage opponents from the start.

“Releasing the video would allow everyone to review and make their own judgment about what happened,” Theodore Boutrous, the couples’ attorney, told the judge.

Ware did not rule at the end of Monday’s hearing but said he would issue a written ruling at a later date.

Attorneys for the ban’s backers want to keep the videos under wraps. They argued that disseminating oral and visual recordings of the 13-day trial would be a direct violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s position on the issue.

As the trial got under way in January 2010, the high court, on a 5-4 vote, blocked cameras from covering the high-profile case so they could be streamed live to other federal courthouses and possibly posted on YouTube.

Walker, asked the court staff to keep shooting the proceedings, but sealed the videos with the understanding that they were being produced for his own review in reaching a verdict.

“We were entitled to rely on those unqualified assurances, and we did,” David Thompson, a lawyer for the religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, said about the move by Walker.

In taking the matter under advisement, Ware said he was torn between the desire to preserve public access to court proceedings and upholding the integrity of the courts.

“The judicial process is affected when a judge takes the position of, “I will seal this and use it only for a limited purpose,’ and then that is changed by a different judge and unsealed and used for a different purpose,” the judge said.

Walker’s ruling from last August overturning Proposition 8 as an unconstitutional violation of the civil rights of gay Californians is currently on appeal. The recordings are part of the case record before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Also before the federal appeals court is the proponents’ challenge to Ware’s refusal in June to vacate Walker’s decision. The ban’s sponsors have argued that Walker should have revealed he was in a long-term gay relationship before he presided over the closely watched trial.

Boutrous said at Monday’s hearing that the move to challenge Walker’s impartiality made it more important for the public to see the videos first-hand.

“They tried to undermine the integrity of the court by attacking the proceeding,” he said.

Ware did not seem convinced. He noted that during his 24 years on the bench, “I’ve had lots of parties attack me” and that it was up to the appeals court, not the public, to decide if Walker had acted appropriately.

Gay rights supporters already have used the written transcripts to recreate the full 13-day trial for online audiences. Next month, Morgan Freeman, Marisa Tomei and other big-name actors are scheduled to perform a dramatic play about the trial that screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for the film “Milk,” created from the written testimony.

To those who have not been following the Proposition 8 narrative closely, it therefore may not be immediately obvious why attorneys were spending their time and clients’ money fighting over the recordings as if they were the Nixon White House tapes.

Gay rights supporters claim the footage is their smoking gun, proof that arguments against same-sex marriage cannot hold up under rules of evidence sustained scrutiny and legal standards.

They want to use live segments, especially the cross-examinations to which the expert witnesses called by Proposition 8′s supporters were subjected, to nudge the American public further in its embrace of same-sex marriage, although it’s unclear what the vehicle for the snippets would be.

“There really is only one question–what do they have to hide?” said American Foundation for Equal Rights President Chad Griffin, whose group is funding the Proposition 8 case.

The Proposition 8 defense team, meanwhile, has argued that putting the trial recordings into the public realm could subject their witnesses to unwanted scrutiny in a way that written transcripts have not.

In persuading the Supreme Court to block the broadcasts, lawyers had argued that same-sex marriage opponents feared being harassed by gay rights supporters if their images were distributed widely.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Hearing today on Prop 8 judge’s sexuality; Gov. Perry defends Day of Prayer

Judge Vaughn Walker

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Prop 8 suppporters today will ask Judge Vaughn Walker’s successor to vacate his ruling declaring California’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, on the grounds that Walker is in a long-term relationship with another man. Chief U.S. Judge James Ware will hear arguments on their motion this morning in San Francisco, and he could rule right away or at a later date. The motion to vacate a ruling based on the judge’s sexual orientation is highly unusual if not unprecedented, and experts say it’s unlikely to succeed. Meanwhile, it’s also unlikely that same-sex marriage will be back on the ballot in California in 2012.

2. In an e-mail to The New York Times, Gov. Rick Perry defended his plans for a Christian-only Day of Prayer event funded by the American Family Association, a designated anti-gay hate group. “The A.F.A. is a group that promotes faith and strong families, and this event is about bringing Americans together in prayer,” he said in his e-mail, adding that “I have made it clear that I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman.”Ju

3. Sunday night’s Tony Awards ceremony was as gay as ever, with host Neil Patrick Harris performing “Theater is not just for gays any more” as the opening number, and the Broadway production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart taking three honors. Watch video below of the opening and read Arnold Wayne Jones’ full recap. For a full list of winners, go here.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Dallas County Commissioners Court to vote on transgender protections

Rachel Maddow

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Dallas County Commissioners Court is scheduled to vote this morning on whether to add transgender employees to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. County Judge Clay Jenkins and LGBT advocates have urged members of the community to attend the meeting in a show of support for the amendment, which comes five weeks after the Commissioners Court added sexual orientation to the policy. Opponents of the amendment are expected to attend the meeting as well, and it remains unclear whether the measure has enough votes to pass. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the county administration building, 411 Elm St. Stay tuned to Instant Tea for a full report from the meeting later this morning.

2. Prop 8 supporters have filed a motion seeking to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling striking down California’s same-sex marriage ban, on the grounds that Walker had a conflict of interest because he’s in a long-term gay relationship.

3. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said she thinks others gay cable TV anchors need to come out, but later insisted she wasn’t talking specifically about CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

—  John Wright

Walker lifts stay on Prop 8

Word on the blogs is that Judge Vaughn Walker has lifted the stay on his ruling overturning Proposition 8.

Haven’t had that officially confirmed yet, but if it’s true, same-sex marriages can begin immediately in California.

The Yes on 8 people have, of course, said they will appeal the decision.

—  admin

VICTORY: Federal judge strikes down Prop 8

Judge Vaughn Walker

Judge also issues a temporary stay, meaning same-sex marriages won’t be performed in California right away

Lisa Keen  |  Keen News Service

In an historic, potent, and eloquent decision, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday, Aug. 4 that California’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution’s guarantees to equal protection and due process of law. The opinion represents the first major victory for legal challenges against state bans on same-sex marriage in any federal court.

“Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality,” wrote Walker, in his 136-page opinion, “but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”

“[T]he exclusion [of same-sex couples from marriage] exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage,” wrote Walker. “That time has passed.”

A few minutes after issuing the decision, Walker also approved a temporary stay of its impact and gave attorneys challenging Proposition 8 until Friday, Aug. 6 to submit their reasons for opposing the continuation of the stay until a federal appeals court can weigh in on the case.

The decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which has been much anticipated by both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, says supporters of the November 2008 ballot measure failed to establish any rational reason for prohibiting same-sex couples from having marriage licenses.

Judge Walker, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush, said Proposition 8, because it burdens the fundamental right to marry, must pass the most difficult judicial standard — known as strict scrutiny. But he said the law failed to pass even the simplest standard — that of identifying at least one rational reason for treating a group of people differently.

“Even if California had an interest in preferring opposite-sex parents to same-sex parents,” wrote Walker, “… Proposition 8 is not rationally related to that interest, because Proposition 8 does not affect who can or should become a parent under California law.”

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the decision “a tour de force — a grand slam on every count.”

“The court held that Prop 8 violates the fundamental right to marry and discriminates on the basis of both sex and sexual orientation in violation of the equal protection clause,” he said.

“The court,” said Minter, “held that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation must be subject to the highest level of constitutional review, but that Prop 8 would fail even the lowest test, because it is based solely on moral disapproval of gay people.

“This is without a doubt a game-changing ruling,” said Minter. “Today’s decision is the most comprehensive, detailed decision addressing the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to affirmative recognition and support ever to be issued by a federal court.”

Longtime lesbian legal activist and law professor Nan Hunter was somewhat more reserved in her reaction.

“It’s a thorough analysis and a comprehensive review of the factual and quasi-factual bases for each side’s arguments in the marriage debates,” said Hunter.

“Is it a watershed, either legally or culturally?” asked Hunter on her blog hunterforjustice.com. “Too soon to know.”

Two other lawsuits have challenged state bans on same-sex marriage in federal courts, but both were dismissed and were not appealed.

Two federal cases challenging part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) won critical district court victories just last month in Boston and both are expected to be appealed to the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Perry and these two cases are expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court and are on track to arrive at approximately the same time.

There is little doubt that Judge Walker was keenly aware of how important his decision would be, and he seemed to make a concerted effort, during trial, to allow supporters of Proposition 8 to enter whatever evidence they could to defend the law. The State of California declined to defend the law, so the group that campaigned for the ballot initiative — Yes on 8 — hired a legal team to do so. But that legal team relied primarily on “legal conclusions and cross-examinations of some of plaintiffs’ witnesses,” noted Walker, “eschewing all but a rather limited factual presentation.”

“At trial,” said Walker, Yes on 8 attorneys, led by conservative Charles Cooper, “presented only one witness, David Blankenhorn, to address the government interest in marriage.” Walker said Blankenhorn’s testimony “provided no credible evidence to support any of the claimed adverse effects” of allowing same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

Walker said, “California has no interest in differentiating between same-sex and opposite-sex unions” and that “domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage” and do not provide gays and lesbians with “a status equivalent to marriage …”

The absence of Proposition 8 does not require any religious group to recognize marriage for same-sex couples, but the existence of “Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians,” Walker wrote.

“Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment,” he wrote. It “perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents.”

Walker agreed that gays and lesbians have “been the victims of a long history of discrimination” and that “no credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.” Those findings are important to establishing a requirement that Proposition 8 be able to withstand a strict judicial scrutiny.

Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violates both the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment. The 14th amendment states, among other things, that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

When governmental law burdens a fundamental right, such as marriage, said Walker, the law must withstand strict scrutiny. And Proposition 8, he said, could not withstand even the simplest judicial review — rational basis.

“The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household,” wrote Walker. While an “initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect,” said Walker, the voters’ determinations “must find at least some support in evidence.”

“Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough,” wrote Walker. “Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class of citizens suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view.” The evidence presented at trial, he said, “demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Romer v. Evans, ruled in 1996 that animus against any particular group could not be used to justify a law that disadvantages that group.

Yes on 8 attorneys, apparently anticipating a loss at the district court level, filed a motion with Judge Walker on Tuesday night, asking that, if the court rules against them, to issue a stay of the impact of his decision pending their expected appeal to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Attorneys for the two gay couples challenging Proposition 8 — Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Jzarrillo — submitted a letter, prior to release of the decision, saying the request was premature.

Judge Walker, in approving a stay of the impact of his decision, gave plaintiffs’ attorneys until Friday to file their formal response to the request for a stay. He did not schedule an in-court proceeding to hear arguments concerning the stay but simply said that the temporary stay would remain in effect until he rules on the request.

Meanwhile, pre-planned rallies to celebrate — or protest — Wednesday’s ruling were scheduled to take place in major cities across the country Wednesday evening, even before the decision was released. Rallies were planned in a number of major cities around the country following release of the decision — including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, West Hollywood and San Diego.

The Perry decision comes less than two months after Walker heard closing arguments in the case, but six months after the close of testimony in a three-week-long trial in the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Francisco.

The legal team challenging Proposition 8 was led by two of the country’s most prominent and respected attorneys — conservative Ted Olson and liberal David Boies. The challenge was organized and funded by the newly formed Americans Foundation for Equal Rights, headed by Democratic activist Chad Griffin.

Griffin organized the challenge shortly after California voters, in November 2008, approved Proposition 8, amending the state constitution to bar recognition of same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court had ruled, only six months earlier, that the state constitution required same-sex couples be treated the same as heterosexual couples in state marriage licensing. More than 18,000 same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses before Proposition 8 became law and those marriages are considered valid. Opponents of the new amendment challenged it in state court but the California Supreme Court ruled that the measure was valid. It also ruled that the 18,000 marriage licenses would also remain valid.

The case drew widespread national attention, not only because of the high profile legal team and the irony of such a conservative icon as Olson leading the case, but also because national gay legal and political groups were initially hostile to the effort. The groups said they felt a lawsuit taking the issue of same-sex marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court was too risky, given the likelihood the case would reach the high court at a time when the court is considered to increasingly conservative.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the ACLU were also denied the right to serve as a party to the case — a development that caused considerable chagrin within the LGBT community. But the groups did contribute to the litigation, providing advice on expert witnesses that delivered a wealth of ammunition against the ballot measure. All three groups filed briefs in support of the plaintiffs. And all three, of course, applauded the result of Wednesday’s decision.

Jenny Pizer, head of Lambda’s National Marriage Project, said Judge Walker’s decision was “historic,” and applauded his “methodical assessment of the evidence presented at trial.” She predicted the decision would have “immense positive implications as the case advances, and in the national struggle for full LGBT equality.”

“The right-wing excuses for denying same-sex couples the right to marry have had an all-too-familiar and ugly ring, echoing the defamatory stereotypes used against us in past decades to deny jobs and other basic rights. Today’s decision,” said Pizer, “examines and explodes each of these lies about us, yielding yet another important legal ruling justly concluding that constitutional guarantees of liberty and equality must require equal treatment under a state’s marriage laws.”

“Judge Walker’s ruling,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, “is complete vindication for the most bedrock principles this nation is built on: a majority cannot strip a minority of fundamental rights, we do not permit bare prejudice or even discomfort to provide the basis for sweeping and damaging discrimination, and protecting loving families and couples is the humane and just thing to do. Prop 8 was a major stain on the kind of nation we strive to be, good riddance.”

James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project, called the decision “a huge victory for LGBT people of America.”

“For the first time, a federal court has conducted a trial and found that there is absolutely no reason to deny same-sex couples the fairness and dignity of marriage,” said Esseks, in a statement. “At the same time, we know that this is not the end.”

The end, of course, could be an eventual U.S. Supreme Court decision — something that is not necessarily guaranteed. Thousands of cases are petitioned to the high court every year, but the court hears only a tiny fraction. The likelihood the court would take an appeal on this case — once the 9th Circuit appeals court has weighed in ± is probably enhanced by the high=profile, widespread fights over same-sex marriage bans nationally and by the involvement of such a high-profile and well-respected legal team as Olson and Boies. But it may also be diminished, depending on whatever the 9th Circuit says. Ultimately, at least four justices must ask to hear the case before the Supreme Court will take it for review.

Meanwhile, the expected confirmation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is not likely to change the conservative lean of the current court, given that she replaces one of the court’s most liberal justices, John Paul Stevens.

© 2010 Keen News Service

Below is the full text of Walker’s ruling:

FF_&_CL_FINAL

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Prop 8 ruling coming Wednesday; Day of Decision rally planned for Cedar Springs

According to the U.S. District Court website for the Northern District of California, Judge Vaughn Walker will issue his decision on Wednesday, Aug. 4 in the Proposition 8 trial:

On August 4, 2010, the court will issue its written order containing findings of fact and conclusions of law following the court trial held in January and June of this year. The order will be e-filed in the court’s Electronic Case Filing system, and will be immediately available thereafter through ECF and PACER. There will be no court proceeding associated with the publication of the order.

UPDATE: From the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought the lawsuit:

The federal court announced today that it will release its decision in the American Foundation for Equal Right’s landmark case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, on Wednesday. Text “EQUAL” to 69866 to get a text message with the official decision on your mobile phone the moment the court releases its decision, or sign-up for an email alert at equalrightsfoundation.org. Join AFER on its Web site to watch a live press conference with our plaintiffs and co-counsels Ted Olson and David Boies following the release of the decision. As we receive news about the details of the release, AFER will update our Facebook and Twitter profiles, along with our Web site.

UPDATE NO. 2: According to Equality Across Texas, there will be a rally — win or lose — at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Legacy of Love Monument, at Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road:

Bring signs, flags and LOUD voices!

The Dallas action is being led by C.D. Kirven with GetEqual Now. To help plan, promote, or sponsor the Dallas action, please email cdkirven@aol.com

UPDATE No. 3: The ruling is expected to be issued between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Pacific time, which is 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dallas time.

UPDATE No. 4: The anti-marriage equality folks have filed a motion seeking a stay if Judge Walker strikes down Prop 8. Such a stay would presumably mean that same-sex marriages could not be performed pending the appeal of Walker’s decision. Our sources indicate that it’s likely Walker will grant this stay. If he strikes down Prop 8 and doesn’t grant the stay, the anti-gay marriage side would immediately request a stay from the appeals court, which also would likely be granted. In other words, it’s unlikely that marriages will be performed Wednesday or anytime in the near future.

—  John Wright

Prop 8 judge is gay

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker

San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross on Sunday “outed” Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker as a gay man. Walker, by the way, is the jurist who will, in the next few weeks, be issuing a ruling on whether California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in that state violates the U.S. Constitution.

In their article, Matier and Ross said Walker’s orientation is “the biggest open secret” in the Prop 8 lawsuit, and that gay lawyers and politicians in San Francisco don’t think the judge’s personal orientation will have any effect on his ruling. (Hmmm. Big surprise there. Surely Matier and Ross didn’t expect the gays to say the fact that the judge is gay gives the plaintiffs in the case an advantage, did they?)

But if the plaintiffs — the folks challenging Prop 8 — win, you can be DAMN SURE the defendants are going to make a big deal out of the fact that Walker is gay. And what if the defendants will in Walker’s court? What will the gay folks say about a gay judge that ruled against them? Apparently, Walker already has some experience with that: As Matier and Ross point out, he had to fight the reputation of being anti-gay when he was trying to get to be a judge because back in the 1980s, he successfully represented the U.S. Olympic Committee in a lawsuit to keep the San Francisco Gay Games from using the name “Gay Olympics.”

The columnists also point out that the case was assigned to Walker; he didn’t “seek it out,” and that he was appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush, someone not seen as particularly gay-friendly.

So, what do you think? Is it an advantage for gay marriage supporters that the judge hearing the case is gay? Or is it a hidden pitfall that will work against the gay marriage cause in the long run?

—  admin

So much for that — Prop 8 won't air live on TV

At least, that’s what the LGBT POV Web site is stating here. Instead, Judge Vaughn Walker will let the cameras in for a delayed YouTube airing as reported by the Mercury News. Earlier today, I posted that  Walker was considering opening the proceedings to a live airing but held his decision until Friday. In an unusual move, he opted to hear public opinion on the matter and gave a Friday deadline before making his decision.

Clearly he changed his mind.

—  Rich Lopez

Could Prop 8 make good Court TV?

Tell Judge Walker you want your Prop 8 TV.
Tell Judge Walker you want your Prop 8 TV.

This is already abuzz over the Interweb. It looks like U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker wants to open his courtroom to the television cameras as he oversees the federal court challenge to Prop 8 Monday. However, instead of just making that decision, Walker wants to open up the idea to the public to televise the proceedings. But he needs to hear from you by Friday.

The California-based Courage Campaign has sent out an email collecting signatures encouraging Judge Walker to go ahead with the cameras. Their e-mail message comes after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez