Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Prop 8, Film at 11... or, at least, on-line (woot!) ?

It was just announced that there is a strong possibility that the court battle over California's Prop 8 will be broadcast on a delay on YouTube. This is being reviewed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The broadcast is opposed by the Pro-Prop 8 people (you know, the bad guys). I love the reasoning, too. Prop 8 attorney is quoted as below in an article by Variety reporter Tim Johnson last week:

In a letter sent to Walker on Monday, their attorney, Charles Cooper, referred to the aftermath of the 2008 election, a time marked by protest rallies, marches and, in some cases, boycotts of those who contributed to the Yes on 8 campaign, including one website that identified donors and their addresses with a Google map overlay.

Indeed, some potential witnesses have indicated that they will not be willing to testify at all if the trial is broadcast or webcast beyond the courthouse," Cooper wrote. He also cited a history of the court prohibiting cameras from trial proceedings.

Good God! We could have a bunch of people non-violently exercising their freedoms of speech, assembly, and press? Witnesses not testifying? Look, if you are going to be a self-righteous asshat and use your vote, money, and time to meddle in other peoples' lives, at least have the stones to own up to it. Cowardice is the province of those on the wrong side of history.

Cooper does have a better argument, based on precedent. Federal appeals hearings are not broadcast, with the exception of opening arguments. This is, well, at best kind of dumb, and at worst, undemocratic. Trials are part of the public record, and barring some kind of national security issue or other extenuating circumstance, the citizens ought to be able to access that public record. In the past, this meant transcripts, but in the 21st century media environment, the standard ought to be actual audio and video record-- when we have the means to provide a much better quality record, we deserve to get it. To take a page from the Teabaggers-- who is paying the bill for this trial, anyway?

The judge in the case is soliciting public comment; since it is a federal case, those of you outside of California should comment as well. California's Courage Campaign has launched an on-line petition, which can be accessed here.

I am a little torn on this court case, however. I'd rather just wait a few years until the demographics shift, then we can overturn Prop 8 via California's idiotic public democracy experiment. Winning this battle by court decision just adds more fuel to the other side's fire, and would likely spike donations for anti-marriage equality forces in other states. To have the voters come back and reject discriminatory legislation and atone for the lunacy of Prop 8 would be a nice, swift kick in the teeth to hatemongers everywhere. Of course, I am torn because this would be a clear case of justice delayed, which is not fair to my LGBT compatriots in my state. That this is the situation we are in is ludicrous.

(After a lengthy hiatus, I am refreshed and back to the AD community. I look forward to being part of the interesting conversations here again).