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Stephen Spinella, K. Todd Freeman, Rory O'Malley, John Lithgow, Morgan Freeman, Yeardley Smith,
Jay Armstrong Johnson, Christine Lahti, Ellen Barkin, Matt Bomer, Cheyenne Jackson, Rob Reiner,
Bradley Whitford perform "8" on Broadway. Photo © Lyn Hughes/AFER.

Victors in the Prop 8 Federal trial have labored mightily to make the proceedings in Federal Constitutional challenge as open and transparent to the public as possible. A video re-enactment of the full trial scripts has been produced and released, with an impression cast of Hollywood personalities behind it, including Marisa Tomei and Josh Lucas participating.

Oscar winning script writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk) produced the play "8" from trial transcripts. The production made it's debut in a charity fundraiser on Broadway, with a star-studded cast including Morgan Freeman, Ellen Barkin, Anthony Edwards, Bradley Whitford, John Lithgow, Cheyenne Jackson, Campbell Brown, Christine Lahti, Rob Reiner and Larry Kramer, among others. It is anticipated to go into workshops around the country.

Recreations only go so far, and Americans for Equal Rights continues to wrangle in the Federal Courts to get the actual videos of the trial released to the public. Monday, AFER argued before the Ninth Circuit:

"What transpires in the courtroom is public property," lawyers for same-sex couples said, quoting a 1947 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. They contended that Prop. 8's sponsors were using unsubstantiated claims of witness intimidation to mask their "true concern that the public will see for itself the utter lack of evidence or persuasive argument" in their case.
The proponents of Prop 8's response is as patently laughable as their initial case:

“Video recordings of such proceedings
would present limitless opportunities for partisans to make one side look good and the other side look bad.”

I find myself in total agreement with my opponents. Releasing the trial tapes would would present limitless opportunities to make Prop 8 defendant intervenors look bad.

As well it should. You lost. And people should see why.



Update: Breaking Prop 8 news: The California Supreme Court just announced it will issue its opinion tomorrow, November 17th at 10 AM PST. This would be the opinion not on the tapes, but rather whether defendant intervenors have standing to represent the state of California in an appeal in Federal Appeals court. This may or may not result in marriages resuming immediately. Prop 8 Trial Tracker explains.
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Photobucket

Anti-LGBT crowd has tacked hard toward a meme that they are being bullied by mean old gays. It nicely plays into their theme that LGBT people are outside the norms of normal behavior and just too darn uppity for not quietly letting Religious extremists wreak havoc on their families and civil rights unchallenged. (See: Gays "are worthy to death".)

PhotobucketAlas, Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel reported Monday on how a Human Rights Campaign study (pdf) of the "gay bully meme" of making martyrs out of bigots, is entirely lacking in any substantive evidence that anyone has suffered any serious consequences. Two examples the anti-equality crowd provides:

In 2008, the owners of a Sacramento ice cream parlor donated thousands of dollars to support Proposition 8, which would ban marriage equality in California. Gay rights activists, unhappy with the owners' actions, posted negative reviews of the company online. Protesters also stood outside the shop and handed out free rainbow sherbert and waved signs reading "I love rainbow sherbert" and "It's a rocky road to equality."

That is just one of the examples that the National Organization for Marriage has cited as evidence of the "countless reports of threats, harassment, and reprisals" that marriage equality opponents have faced by LGBT activists.

In another instance in Washington state, an opponent of marriage equality was collecting petition signatures to challenge a law granting legal protections to same-sex couples, when two ladies "glared at him and one said 'we have feelings too.'" He did not report the incident to the police.

As unpleasant as it is to be "glared at" this isn't the serious basis for dismantling processes that ensure transparency in a Democracy. The court agreed. Lord knows we gay people endure harsh glares on a daily basis. Sometimes we even get kicked off Chicago's public transit for being gay. Shit happens. It's unpleasant.

And though the ice cream parlor would surely not wish to be targeted for economic sanctions, one might have said the same thing about the Montgomery, Alabama bus line, or any number of lunch counter proprietors south of the Mason-Dixon line. Boycotts and others tools of economic sanction are a Constitutionally protected form of free expression, affirmed by the Supreme Court, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. Bad news for people who wish to be sequestered from suffering the consequences of their own political activism.

Seen at a National Organization For
Marriage rally in Indianapolis, in 2010.
As in the Prop 8 trial, the anti-LGBT equality crowd finds themselves again and again, "victimized" by the need to present actual evidence supporting their imaginary claims of "victimhood." Spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign Kevin Nix says "Independent courts and judges have created a historical record documenting NOM's fake victimization crusade." Indeed:
Four federal judges and three state boards in seven states -- California, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island and Washington -- have all found [National Organization for Marriage's] evidence to be lacking. Not a single state has backed up NOM.
National Organization for Marriage spends literally millions and millions of dollars to disseminate their misinformation and lies through channels like TV ads where they can hide from having to tell the actual truth. But as Prop 8 attorney David Boies reminded us on Face The Nation, "you can't do that in court."

And now, they are doubling down on blocking actual, objective truth from the public view.

Proponents of keeping the tapes from public view essentially conceded the point entirely, which brings us to the hilarious money quote they delivered in court on Monday:

“Video recordings of such proceedings
would present limitless opportunities for partisans to make one side look good and the other side look bad.”

Well, yes. That's the point. If objective reality makes you "look bad," you should look bad.

Consider how some of these exchanges might look if America could see them with their own eyes, on YouTube, on Facebook, probably news outlets like the Rachel Maddow Show and elsewhere.

Proponents argued that they should not have to provide evidence to support their case, actual trial transcript from AFER (pdf):

The Court: “I’m asking you to tell me how [marriage equality] would harm opposite-sex marriages. ...”

Proponents’ Lead Counsel Charles Cooper: “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The Court: “What testimony in this case supports the proposition?”

Cooper: “...your Honor, you don't have to have evidence for this ...”

The Court: “I don't have to have evidence?”

Or how about  this one? When on cross-examination from David Boies the proponent's star witness totally discombobulated:
The Proponents’ own witness, David Blankenhorn, agreed under oath that “the principle of equal human dignity must apply to gay and lesbian persons. ... [w]e would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were the day before.”
Yes, agreed. Video evidence of such testitmony would make proponents of Prop 8 "look bad."

Unfortunately, for the Prop 8 defendant intervenors, it isn't in the Court's or the US Government's or Democracy's best interest to run public relations interference for Maggie Gallagher and National Organization for Marriage or any of the regressive Christian Dominionists for them. It isn't in America's best interest to see liars are sheltered from having their lies exposed to the broadest possible audience.

It is the liars' responsibility to not lie in the first place.

Or to form arguments that can actually withstand scrutiny.

It is, however, in the public's best interests to have open and transparent system of Justice that allows every citizen to make their own decisions whether the judiciary is able to provide a fair trial.

Proponents have made a rallying cry that their loss was due to Judge Vaugn Walker's supposed bias in this trial, spreading the accusation far and wide. They have even taken the ridiculous accusation into court, filing a frivolous motion for the Ninth to vacate Walker's verdict because of the alleged bias, it was summarily dismissed.

The anti-equality crowd, unfortunatetly for them, don't have the "special right" to game the system as they wish. They cannot claim victimhood of a biased process and expect everyone to just take their word for it. They don't get to go to a trial, and say they don't need to present any evidence. They don't get to dump millions of dollars into the political process then claim they should be exempt from laws disclosing where they get their money. And it isn't "bullying" for their victims to fight back.

If the Ninth and, ultimately, the Supreme Court, do not release the tapes, it will be a travesty of Justice and a sad day for transparency in government.


Update: Breaking Prop 8 news: The California Supreme Court just announced it will issue its opinion tomorrow, November 17th at 10 AM PST. This would be the opinion not on the tapes, but rather whether defendant intervenors have standing to represent the state of California in an appeal in Federal Appeals court. This may or may not result in marriages resuming immediately. Prop 8 Trial Tracker explains.

3:21 PM PT: I am not going to be quick to answer comments. More pressing concerns have presented themselves. Specifically the eating of (organic) Cheerios-like substances.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 01:33 PM PST.

Also republished by Angry Gays.

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