Releasing the Prop 8 Videos

 

People in an open society do not demand infallibility in their institutions, but it is difficult for them to accept what they are prohibited from observing – Chief Justice Berger

Former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over the Prop 8 trial, recently used some of the video that was taken during the case as part of a lecture.  The Proponents, aka supporters of Prop 8/opposers of gay marriage, immediately took great offense and sent what was essentially a cease and desist order that demanded the return of all the copies of the tapes, Walker's and anyone else who had them.

 
In response, Ted Olson and David Boies, the legal tour de force trying to lift the gay marriage ban, filed a request that the tapes be unsealed and released to the public.  After all, the trial is a matter of public record and the transcripts are freely available.
 
Originally, the trial was going to be broadcast live, but the Proponents felt like this might scare some of their witnesses away, and so they demanded that it not be broadcast.  Judge Walker taped it, but didn't release the tapes, to the great disappointment of the men and women across the country who wanted to see the greatest trial of the greatest civil rights battle of our time.

No one can really blame the Proponents for not wanting to have video footage of just how appallingly awful their defense of Prop 8 was.  They want to continue to play the victim here — they want to sell the idea that gay marriage is somehow a violation of religious liberty, rather than being completely the other way round.  The video of their disastrous performance would only reveal that they are driven solely by religion and bigotry — and that they aren't even capable of hiding that fact.

Some things that they don't want you to see on television, things that their own anti-equality witnesses did: a witness saying that DADT and DOMA were "Official Discrimination"; that same witness then saying Prop 8 was also discriminatory; Mr. Blankenhorn, their chief witness saying, "I believe that adoption of same sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children"; Blankenhorn also saying, "We would be more American on the day we legalized gay marriage than the day before".

Well, I mean, no wonder, right?  But that's exactly why these things need to be released.  People need the opportunity to see how feeble the defense was and to really understand how motivated by religion the campaign against equality was.  Not everyone is as nerdy as me and reads trial transcripts because they find them so compelling — video is the medium of our lives, and well do the religious know that since it is the medium through which they sold their hate.

The vast majority of the money and on-the-ground support for the Prop 8 campaign came from the Mormon church, supplemented by the Catholic church.  This isn't even money from California, and it's certainly money that ought to take away their tax exempt status.  People need to be shown the kind of lies they were telling to get people to vote against marriage equality, the emotional manipulation about children and families, things so blatantly false they might be defended with the disclaimer: "not intended to be a factual statement."

Gay marriage doesn't destroy families, it doesn't destroy children, it really doesn't do much except make some people very happy and give them access to rights that the rest of us take for granted.  The trial provided an overwhelming amount of evidence that refusing marriage rights not only hurt gay people, but also hurt the thousands of children of LGBT parents.  It hurts these children irreparably, immeasurably, forever.  This wasn't in question, gay marriage opponents agreed.

These tapes shouldn't just be released, they should be broadcast on every news channel for weeks to expose just how rotten the argument is against gay marriage.  If you've ever questioned why church-state separation is so important, this is why.  If conservative Christians (and I include the LDS) hadn't funded the gay marriage ban, it wouldn't be in place, and even they couldn't create enough money to make credible witnesses or a real argument against gay marriage.  The monstrous unfairness of the church taking over, infiltrating, and outright buying the political process only to then lie to the public to get their way has got to stop.  Not only is it immoral, it is un-American.

Proponents motion for return of videos http://www.scribd.com/doc/52945974/CA9Doc-338
Vaughn Walker's response: http://www.scribd.com/doc/53041973/CA9Doc-339-Letter-from-Vaughn-R-Walker
Olson and Boies request for unsealing of videos: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52945974/CA9Doc-340
San Francisco's feisty response: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52945974/CA9Doc-341

 

Homophobia Round 2

Interesting.  I just got this e-mail about the girl in Augusta who is suing her school for making her attend diversity workshops.

Hi Ashley,

I just saw your short post on Jennifer Keeton, the Augusta State University student who is suing the school for her right to be homophobic and not attend diversity workshops. Keeton, who wants to be a counselor, has received both quite a bit of criticism and some praise for her unyielding position. Many are claiming she has no right disturbing students with these beliefs at school and is certainly not tolerant enough to be a counselor. I think you will find the following video interesting:

http://www.newsy.com/videos/student-sues-for-right-to-be-homophobic

The video gives some background into this controversial power of the wills between Keeton and Augusta. It includes a number of different opinions on Keeton’s stance itself, how the school is handling the situation, and whether it is her right to be openly homophobic around campus or not. I hope you will consider embedding this video to your site.

Newsy.com videos analyze and synthesize news coverage from multiple sources. Its unique method of showing how different media cover the news helps viewers better understand complex stories.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions on either the video or Newsy.com.

For instructions on how to embed videos, read #3 on this page:

http://www.newsy.com/faq/3

Thanks,

Katie
[email protected]
Newsy Community Team

I didn’t get anything new from it, except it’s even more obvious that this girl refuses to take sensitivity training and wants to do a job that is essentially all about sensitivity.  Fail.

In other incredibly fucked up news, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News is now to the left of President Obama on Gay Rights. Seriously.

President Obama has the power to stop this ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ business. Just sign an executive order. I don’t know why it’s taking so long—it’s not fair. We should stop this nonsense.

Well said Bill O, as freaked out as I am to agree with you, well said.

What happened in Prop 8 today?

The defense (yes on 8 ) called it’s first witness.  The Plaintiffs objected because they did not consider him to be an expert.

During the cross, the Plaintiffs got the witness to admit that DADT and DOMA were “Official Discrimination,” caused the Defense council to object that their own witness was not an expert (to much laughter), and, finally, got the witness to say that Prop 8 was discriminatory.  The cross isn’t even over yet.

God I wish this was being televised.  Rob Reiner better do a heck of a job making it into a film because it could be Inherit the Wind.