Prop. 8 Tapes Case May Itself be Recorded


A federal judge in San Francisco who will take up the issue next week of whether to unseal tapes of the Proposition 8 trial has himself notified attorneys that he would like to record the hearing.

From the Sacramento Bee:

U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware notified lawyers on Monday that he would like to record the Aug. 29 hearing where he will consider whether to unseal footage of last year’s trial on the constitutionality of the ban, known as Proposition 8.

Judge Vaughn Walker who presided over the original Proposition 8 trial recorded trial proceedings and intended to make them available on YouTube. However, the United States Supreme Court issued an order preventing Walker from broadcasting said tapes outside of the federal court viewing areas.

Attorneys acting on behalf of the Plaintiffs, those wanting to overturn Proposition 8, have argued that the tapes — which show expert witness testimony and touch on matters of the history and social context of homosexuality and the scientific basis for homosexuality being naturally occurring — is of public interest and therefore the tapes should be unsealed. Those defending Proposition 8 in court say that broadcasting those tapes could put their witnesses in danger of harassment and potential violence from the gay rights lobby.

Walker, now retired, later angered Prop. 8 defenders further by showing a three minute clip of the trial during a speaking engagement. Prop. 8 supporters have demanded that the tapes be returned. They also moved to have Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling overturning Proposition 8 vacated, saying the fact that Walker was in a gay relationship at the time means his ruling is biased.

Earlier this year Judge James Ware denied the motion to vacate saying that it called for an unreasonable and unprecedented intrusion into the minutia of judges’ lives. Prop. 8 Defenders are appealing that decision. Faced with the question of whether Walker should return the trial tapes, Ware indicated that he was unlikely to call for Walker to relinquish them given that he was the one to have presented them to Walker upon his retiring from the bench. Judge Ware’s decision to record proceedings will no doubt further rile Proposition 8′s defenders.

The next stage in the Proposition 8 case itself is scheduled for September 6 when when the Supreme Court of California will hear arguments on whether Prop. 8 supporters have legal standing under state law to appeal California’s gay marriage ban being overturned. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, with whom the case currently rests, asked the California supreme court to intervene when it became apparent that those defending Proposition 8 may lack standing under federal law. You can read more about that here.


Related Reading:

Judge Denies Motion to Vacate Prop. 8 Ruling

Bill Giving Prop. 8 Backers Standing to Appeal Fails

Cali. AG: Prop 8 Backers Should Not Have Standing to Appeal


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to angela n.


Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago


Thomas Petersen
Thomas Petersen6 years ago

If the gay judge is biased for over turning prop 8, than won't a straight judge be considered biased for keeping prop 8? I think they're going to have to find a judge who is neither gay straight.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Barbara S.

Gee, I was always taught, when I was a child, that people who deny the Lord and his holy Words, for their own sakes, are condemned forever.

Now, don't ever think for a nano-second that I believe that, but my point is, if these people who are so HOLY and against Equality for All because they think Jesus doesn't approve of giving LGBTs Equality Under the Law, then let them not be afraid to stand up and be counted! Let them stand up, be identified, and if the Lord wishes it, let them die for their beliefs... After all, LGBTs have been dying for theirs, for centuries.

Now THAT'S what "old time religion" stands for... Not being afraid to stand up, be identified, and be willing to die for what you believe in - whether you're LGBT, no matter whether you're for or against pro-choice, whether you want war or want peace.

It's too bad that in 250 years we haven't outgrown this ridiculous "them or us" attitude, and come to respect each other since we are all more like than we are different. Time for everyone to grow up and figure out what being human really is.

Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson6 years ago

The persecution the witnesses for Prop 8 fear is raucus laughter or stunned silence.Their arguments were better suited to a witchcraft trial.They were,charatably put "OPINIONS" THERE ARE NO damages to be caused to marriage by couples who want to be married . On the other hand, the benifits of marriage include the right to recieve Social Security coverage if your spouse dies while you are raising your minor children. OR to be considered his next of kin.Gay spouses have been devastated to have their partner's parents show up after the funeral with a moving van and take his belongings AND THE FURNATURE. The Right to be consulted on his medical care--or even visit him in the hospital are not guaranteed unless YOU ARE MARRIED! Then there are the filing and deducting problems on taxes. This is a MAJOR REASON THAT the President MUST REPEAL the misleadingly named Defense of Marriage Act. Since it actually PROHIBITS MARRIAGE to non-traditional couples, People who marry in states where it is NOW LEGAL still face ambiguous rules in filing FEDERAL TAXES. CLEARLY marriage should be available NATIONWIDE to all couples who wish to be MARRIED! The President's Repeal would make a REAL DIFFERENCE TO MANY,MANY,MANY PEOPLE

Lilithe Magdalene

Ugh. So complicate. Just eliminate the damn thing. Get religions out of our freedoms!!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

Please don't forget who is behind trying to break Prop 8 in the first place and behind all further appeals...the Mormon Church led the way from their seats in Utah.

Janice A.
Janice Adams6 years ago

The facts are that Prop 8 defenders do not want their witnesses heard by the general public. As the so called experts quoted things that were ludicrous, wrong, made up or were unable to put up any defense at all. Transparency would place most people firmly on the side of the opposition to prop 8. The harassment complaint is just a red herring, to keep all this crap they spewed under wraps while they try to think of a better defense. Although tapes are not available, there were people in the court at the time of the trial, unofficially recounting what was stated by witnesses. One could read the live blog that recounted what was said by whom. Believe me if I were the defenders of prop 8 I would not want my witnesses heard by anyone else. It was bad enough they lost without the humiliation of having why they lost, spread around on YouTube. I personally think they are less afraid of the gay rights lobby as they are of the potential outrage from the rest of the citizenry of this country that they even had the temerity to try to defend this proposition on such flimsily laid webs of misinformation.

Karen & Edward O.
Karen and Ed O6 years ago

"Those defending Proposition 8 in court say that broadcasting those tapes could put their witnesses in danger of harassment and potential violence from the gay rights lobby."
Sounds like propaganda to me. If you read the comments on different issues on Yahoo news, it becomes apparent that there are people out there who will believe this garbage. because they want to believe it.

Patricia A.
Patricia A6 years ago

It is disgusting that this is still an issue. The Mormons and Catholics from outside CA are doing their best to defeat this. When will we learn to live and let live?