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Proposition 8: Watch the trial and judge for yourself

September 19, 2011 | 12:08 pm

Prop. 8

Monday night, a star-laden, one-time showing of a play about the Proposition 8 trial will be presented on Broadway. Yes, that's the New York Broadway, which seems rather odd and sad for a drama about California's initiative.

But that's OK. Because on the same day, U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Ware ruled that the videotapes of the federal trial must be made public. His order will take effect Sept. 30, if a higher court doesn't overrule him.

It only makes sense for the public to get to see the actual testimony and arguments in the case. Proposition 8, the 2008 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, has riveted attention and caused divisiveness like few other issues. The initiative's proponents, leaders of ProtectMarriage, had argued against allowing the videotapes to be made public; it's unclear to me exactly why they're against public viewing. Their argument that the witnesses in favor of the ban would feel intimidated fell flat after they brought only two witnesses to the stand, both of them well-known figures who have appeared publicly -- and on television -- before.

Or perhaps it's that they would prefer their own supporters not see the trial. ProtectMarriage put on a less-than-stellar defense of the ban, with the witnesses admitting that the country would be more democratic if same-sex marriage were recognized and that such marriages would strengthen the family lives for same-sex couples. They were unable to articulate any way in which same-sex marriage would harm traditional marriages.

At least, should Monday's ruling stand and the video be unsealed, Californians will get a chance to see for themselves. And that's good for everyone.

RELATED:

Prop. 8's best defense

Broadcast the Prop. 8 trial video

Throw open the Prop. 8 video records

--Karin Klein

Photo: Former chief judge of the U.S. District Court Vaughn R. Walker. Credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

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