The American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is sponsoring the federal case against Proposition 8, filed a motion Friday calling for the "full and unedited release" of trial footage from the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
Accompanied by the city and county of San Francisco and soon to be joined by the Media Coalition, AFER filed the brief in response to efforts by Prop. 8 proponents to conceal trial footage. Opponents have accused Judge Vaughn Walker of breaking the law by showing a brief clip from the trial during a speech in February. Last year the Supreme Court ruled that trial could not be televised.
"Why should the public be denied the opportunity to see and hear what happened in a public trial in a public courtroom in a case involving the constitutional rights of millions of people?" asked AFER attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. in a news release. He added, "The proponents of Prop. 8 have repeatedly attempted to obscure and distort the facts of this trial because they simply have no case and they seem desperately anxious to prevent the American public from seeing the facts for themselves."
AFER board president Chad Griffin said, "Prop. 8 supporters waged a very public and very negative multimillion-dollar campaign to block gay and lesbian couples from marrying. If they truly believe in the campaign they waged, Prop. 8 supporters should stand by their defense of Prop. 8 in federal court instead of trying to hide behind ridiculous claims that they are the victims and are fearful of harassment or persecution. The only victims here are the millions of people whose basic and fundamental rights the supporters of Prop. 8 tried to deny."
An excerpt from the brief said, "Proponents have not remotely overcome the exacting burdens imposed by the First Amendment and the common law as prerequisites for throwing a blanket over a true, accurate and unedited record of a widely publicized public trial of an exceedingly important constitutional issue affecting millions of Americans."