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Monday, May 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Supreme Court Delays Broadcast of Prop. 8 Trial

(CN) - The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a federal court in San Francisco from broadcasting the first few days of a closely watched trial over Proposition 8, California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Justice Anthony Kennedy issued his ruling in response to an emergency petition filed by Prop. 8 supporters, who worried that witnesses wouldn't testify for fear of public scrutiny.

"All proponents' witnesses have expressed concern over the potential public broadcast of trial proceedings, and some have stated that they will refuse to testify," attorney Andrew Pugno wrote in his 48-page petition.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, presiding, had decided to allow the trial to be broadcast on YouTube.

Justice Kennedy limited the broadcast to "other rooms within the confines of the courthouse" and blocked outside broadcasts "pending further order of this Court." He said the order will be in place until Wednesday.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said Prop. 8 supporters hadn't met the court's standard for a temporary stay. Specifically, he said they failed to show "irreparable harm."

Prop. 8, passed in November 2009, defines marriage in California as being between a man and a woman.

Two gay couples sued, challenging the measure as unconstitutional.

Opening arguments began this morning.

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