Day 1: Prop 8 trial under way in California

Monday, January 11th, 2010 By

No Prop 8 trial streaming

Prop 8 trial

Image from Flickr.

The lawsuit against Proposition 8 — legislation in California that changed the state Constitution to make same-sex marriage illegal — has started. It’s not just the controversial subject matter that is getting people riled up, either. The case was set to be streamed on YouTube, but the defender for Prop 8 blocked the motion to allow the public to watch at the last minute.

Prop 8 campaign attorneys said that their clients would face harassment if people knew they were opposed to same-sex marriage. Everyone involved in this trial should probably get comfortable, and lawyers on both sides will be seeing a big pay day, as this trial will likely last a very long time.

The prosecution

On one side of the Prop 8 trial, the lawsuit states that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates U.S. constitutional rights of equal protection and due process. Two couples — Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo — are suing because, they say “We and our relationships should be treated equally under the law. Our goal is to advance the cause of equality for all Americans, which is the promise that makes this nation so great.”

“Prop 8 used children in their campaign; Protect the Children. … It’s so insulting … to say that my marriage to [Jeff] means a child would be harmed. You put my nieces and nephews– [chokes up] they will tell you they don’t need protection from me or Jeff,” said Paul Katami, who has been in a relationship with Jeff Zarrillofor nine years.

The defense

On the other side, Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for the Prop 8 trial defense, says 14 million voters in California support “traditional” marriage. Cooper’s says the “basis of marriage is procreation,” and that same-sex marriage constitutes a “de-institutionalization” of marriage. He also argues that same-sex marriage is threatening to children.

“The de-institutionalization of marriage has caused a decline of marriage. … Marriage as a pro-child social institution is weakened. We believe, evidence will show, and testimony will show that that finding of fact will follow,” said Cooper.

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