Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cluelessness in the Prop 8 Trial

The trial to overturn Proposition 8 (Perry v. Schwarzennager) is set to begin on Monday.  So far, the most contentious pre-trial issue has been whether or not to televise the proceedings.  Those supporting Proposition 8 (who oppose same-sex marriage and must defend Prop 8 in court) have been very clear that they do not want the trial televised.  They have cited possible threats and harassments to defenders of the referendum.  According to a blog covering the Prop 8 trial ( a letter from supporters of Prop 8 to the court noted that a televised trial would "impinge on the privacy interests" of witnesses, particularly those "only tangentially related to the case." 

On Friday, the court rejected an emergency petition that cameras be kept from the courtroom.  Also on Friday, one of the defenders of Prop 8 asked to be excused from the trial.  Citing fears for his family’s safety as well as noting that “the case has been more time-consuming and more intrusive into his personal life than expected,” Hak-Shing William Tam no longer wishes to be part of the trial, according to the Associated Press.

I don’t mean to make light of feeling threatened, but it’s important to remember that portraying themselves as victims has been a public relations game from the start for those opposing same-sex marriage.  And as for the trial taking up too much of Hak-Shing’s time as well as being too intrusive in his personal life, I’m sort of speechless that he had the audacity to use that as an excuse.  His very opposition to same-ex marriage in California intruded into the most personal aspects of LGBT people’s lives.  And too much of a time commitment?  Ask a same-sex couple what it’s like to have to spend almost every waking hour defending your relationship to the public.  And if you're going to try to keep people from marrying -- a civil right -- you'd better be ready to give up as much privacy and time as gay people do to try to keep our marriages in tact and free from government interference.

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