Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
(San Francisco, CA, December 8, 2011)—Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument about whether the courts should publicly release the video of the historic trial to overturn Proposition 8, the measure that stripped same-sex couples of the right to marry in California. The court also heard oral argument on Prop 8 supporters’ outrageous request to throw out the court decision striking down the initiative.
Since suffering a devastating loss at the 2010 trial, Prop 8 supporters have tried to block release of the trial video and to invalidate the ruling by former Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker by claiming he should have refused to hear the case because he is in a long-term gay relationship. Chief Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco denied both of these requests earlier this year, rejecting the supporters’ continuing efforts to keep the public from seeing the historic videos and their offensive argument that Judge Walker could not rule fairly because of his sexual orientation. The Prop 8 proponents appealed both of Judge Ware’s rulings to the Ninth Circuit.
The court took the matter under submission and will issue a written decision. There is no set time limit for the court to rule. The court also had previously announced that no further oral arguments will be held before it issues its written decision on whether to uphold Judge Walker’s decision striking down Prop 8.
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:
“We expect and believe the Ninth Circuit will see these moves by the Prop 8 proponents for what they are: a desperate attempt to divert attention from their utter failure to offer any good reason to uphold this blatantly discriminatory ballot initiative. Judge Walker was scrupulously fair during the trial, giving the proponents every opportunity to present evidence justifying their position, but they had nothing to offer. For them to now claim that the judge could not have been fair because he is in a relationship with a man is not only outrageous and offensive, it is an attack on the integrity of judges everywhere.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.