My efforts as a blogger to cover the Perry v. Schwarzenegger lawsuit filed by super-lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies, challenging the Prop 8 prohibition on gay marriage in California, have paid off with the clerk of the court issuing me a media pass today.
In December any media person wanting a seat in Judge Vaughn Walker's courtroom had to fill out a questionnaire, which I did, in order to obtain a pass to be his courtroom, and not the overflow courtroom. Not sure how many press seats have been set aside in Walker's courtroom, but I'd damn pleased I've got a seat inside it, and will soon watch an historical moment unfold for America, and her gay citizens.
If anyone told me in 1989, when I was demonstrating at the Manhattan marriage license bureau, that twenty-one years later I would be sitting in a federal courtroom for an important case that could permit gay marriages nationwide, I would have said that was one crazy idea unlikely to come to pass.
Look at this TV news clip from 1989, about ACT UP visiting that municipal bureau, to see how far we've come, on a number of fronts. Notice the late Tom Stoddard telling the reporter we'll have gay marriage in half of the United States by 2009, and dig that ancient computer behind his head. Also, the reporter makes the erroneous claim that the Stonewall Riots sparked other gay riots across America. News to me!
An excerpt from the note the clerk sent me earlier this week:
This e-mail confirms your reservation for seating for a representative of your organization to attend the trial proceedings in Perry v. Schwarzenegger beginning January 11, 2010. The proceedings will be held in Courtroom 6, 17th Floor at the Federal Court Building, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA. at 8:30 a.m. All media representatives should be seated by 8:15 AM.
That info is outdated. The court sent a followup email about a slight change in the start time on the trial's opening day:
Judge Walker has indicated that proceedings will start at 9:00 a.m. on January 11, 2010, the first day of trial. Therefore media representatives should be seated by 8:45 a.m. on the first day. The remaining days are scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m., but the time is subject to change. Please monitor our website. Thank you.
Yes, I will be in my seat by the appointed time, with dead tree pad and pen in hand, ready to take notes.
(Tip o' the hat: Thanks, Eve Batey of SFAppeal.com, for telling me about the questionnaire.)