9th Circuit court rejects plea by Prop. 8 supporters to block TV broadcast of same-sex marriage trial

Trial starts tomorrow before U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker

A federal appeals court in San Francisco Friday refused to halt the broadcast on YouTube of next week's trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a lawsuit in which sponsors of Proposition 8 Friday challenged the broadcast plan by the U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.

The appeals court said in a two-sentence order that the sponsors "have not demonstrated that this case warrants the intervention of this court."

Beginning tomorrow, Walker will preside over a two-week nonjury trial on a lawsuit in which two same-sex couples claim Proposition 8 violates their federal constitutional rights.

He announced on Wednesday that he will allow broadcast by means of a video that will be recorded by court staff and posted on YouTube after a delay of possibly several hours.

The video coverage will be the first broadcast of a federal trial in western states.

It was made possible when the 9th Circuit's Judicial Council in December approved a pilot program for broadcast of nonjury civil trials in federal courts in nine western states.

The Proposition 8 sponsors argued in their emergency lawsuit that the public wasn't given adequate notice of the broadcast plan and that the broadcast could result in harassment of witnesses. They said that TV coverage of the trial "has the potential to become a media circus."

Lawyers for the couples who filed the lawsuit responded that proper procedures were followed and that broadcast was justified "in light of the overwhelming national public interest in the issues to be decided in this case."

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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