Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

Prop 8 Complaint Backfires Spectacularly: This Week in Prop 8 for April 18, 2011

Marriage equality Prop 8 trial Televising Videos

Leaked footage of the Prop 8 trial sparked a legal tug of war this week, with anti-gay groups renewing efforts to keep their work out of public view. Delaware’s on track to be the 8th state to offer marriage-ish protections, and activists gear up in New York.

[youtube w=640 h=390]

This is our last episode of “This Week in Prop 8.” Next week we’re launching a brand new news show, with a more national focus and more headlines from around the country than ever before. It’s going to be great.

And it’s fitting that our final episode of this show starts where we began, with Proposition 8.

There was a lot of legal excitement this week over leaked footage of the Prop 8 trial. Or … is it leaked? It’s hard to know what exactly to call it.

Here’s what happened: Last year, Judge Vaughn Walker wanted to televise the Prop 8 trial, anti-gay groups wanted to keep it secret, and the US Supreme Court ruled that the trial could be taped, but not broadcast.

So, until now, we’ve never seen the actual trial. Then Judge Walker retired. And a few weeks later, he gave a talk about cameras in the courtroom in which he showed a few short never-before-seen clips of the trial.

Now these were not particularly revealing clips. In fact, here’s what they look like. Kind of hard to make anything out, not really a huge deal.

But for some reason, the Prop 8 proponents decided to make some noise about it.

To paraphrase, they told Vaughn Walker, “hey, you’re not allowed to do that, and you have to get rid of that footage.” To which Vaughn Walker said, “I think I am allowed to that, and I’m only going to get rid of it if someone makes me.”

Then our side got involved and said, “not only is he allowed to do that, and not only are you not allowed to stop him, but the public should have access to ALL the footage, not just a few clips.”

Then the city and county of San Francisco wrote a filing of its own, which boils down to, “the Prop 8 proponents can’t show any harm from releasing these videos. And besides, they’ve been begging for attention outside of court.”

San Francisco had good timing with that argument, because it came on the same day that various members of the anti-gay industry staged a hearing in Washington DC. And they had no problem publicly denouncing gay couples there. So obviously, they’re only camera shy if they can’t control the venue.

But that’s the whole point of a trial — when you’re up on the stand, you don’t get to control the court. And if you admit that you’re wrong, you don’t get to add, “but don’t tell anyone.”

Now it’s up to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They could recall the clips, or, now that the issue’s come up, they could decide release everything.

So, ultimately, it’s huge miscalculation by the Prop 8 proponents. It was just a few fuzzy minutes of video, and if they hadn’t said anything, it would have flown under the radar. But because they complained, now the whole thing might finally be released.

We’ll keep an eye on it and let you know what happens.

Meanwhile this week in Delaware the House overwhelmingly approved civil unions by a margin of 26 to 15. The bill was already passed 13 to 6 in the Senate, and now it heads to Governor Jack Markell, who has said that he’ll sign it.

Of course, civil unions are nice, but what we really want is to get married.

That’s why New York is the state to watch right now. Legislators in Albany are likely to consider a marriage bill at some point in the next few weeks. At this point, it’s impossible to guess what’s going to happen. On one hand, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that he’ll give his full attention to getting the bill passed. And a survey last week showed that we have the support of 58 percent of New York voters.

But Republicans control the Senate right now, and they’ve managed to kill marriage in the past. That’s why it’s crucial for New York residents to tell their legislators to support the marriage bill.

The good news is that has come up with a new tool to make it easier than ever to contact New York State Senators. The site lets you create a goal, for example, getting 25 of your friends to call their Senators. Then as your friends make those calls, your progress bar fills up like a fundraising thermometer. I have an interview with them here.

For more on all these stories, visit us over at Click here to subscribe, and click here to watch previous episodes. We’ll see you next week on a brand new show.


  • 1. Harriet Forman  |  April 18, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I could not get the clip to run…just a description of it's contents.

  • 2. Harriet Forman  |  April 18, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Nevermind…got it.

  • 3. Alyson  |  April 18, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Really? Me first? Wish I could sub from phone!

  • 4. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 18, 2011 at 1:33 am

    OT: Has anyone heard from Richard or BZ? I'm a bit worried about them following the weekend and all those tornados in NC.

  • 5. Alan E  |  April 18, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I thought I saw somehing on Facebook yesterday, but I need to double check.

  • 6. Ed Cortes  |  April 18, 2011 at 1:41 am


  • 7. Kathleen  |  April 18, 2011 at 1:48 am

    I saw a note that someone heard from them. I think they're without power, but otherwise fine.

  • 8. Alan E.  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:09 am

    For all you waiting about DOMA, here is an article from NPR about the pending action due today:

    One GOP source told NPR that Boehner has enlisted a big-name Republican lawyer to argue for the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

  • 9. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Oh cool! Thanks guys 😉

  • 10. Sagesse  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:12 am

    That several states have passed civil unions this year matters (a) because it is a step toward marriage equality, (b) because it is a vote FOR recognition of LGBT couples, not against, and (c) because the opposition doesn't seem to have any traction at all against them… they just pass.

  • 11. Kate  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I've been worrying about them, too, after seeing those terrible news reports on TV.

  • 12. DazedWheels  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:20 am


  • 13. Mouse  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Wow. It was impressive enough just reading the transcripts, but listening to Boies cross-examine Kenneth Miller, I almost felt bad for the guy.

  • 14. Ann S.  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Yes, I think Felyx and Thom heard from them?

  • 15. Ann S.  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:26 am


  • 16. Ronnie  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:26 am

    subscribing & sharing…..

    Meet Debbie & Lynda, Delaware tax paying & law abiding citizens, who will benefit from the legalization of Civil Unions in Delaware (stage whisper: they will befit equally from legalization of Civil Marriage)……<3…Ronnie:

  • 17. Mouse  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:34 am

    And I really love Ted Olson.

  • 18. Ronnie  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:40 am

    I was about to ask the same thing…I was about to text him….I just saw on the news about the tornados…Hope all is well….<3…Ronnie

  • 19. gaydadtobe  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:43 am

    BREAKING: A letter from Boehner re: DOMA

  • 20. Kathleen  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:52 am

    I want to see and hear the Boies cross of Blankenhorn.

  • 21. gaydadtobe  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Good God Man!

  • 22. gaydadtobe  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Good God Man!

    (put the other one in the wrong place)

  • 23. Kathleen  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:55 am


  • 24. Kathleen  |  April 18, 2011 at 2:57 am

    (that comment was meant for Boehner)

  • 25. Sagesse  |  April 18, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Goes without saying :). It's already begun, with new DOMA challenges regarding bi-national couples and immigration, but now would be a good time for a bunch of new DOMA challenges :).

  • 26. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 18, 2011 at 3:24 am

    What a total A-hole! He just can't seem to understand the reason the DOJ is not defending DOMA is that it was ruled uncontitutional (sct 3) by the courts. The only thing not being defended is the appeal of that ruling.
    I am so sick and tired of the leaders of the GOP making it sound like this is all something Obama and the AG decided on their own

  • 27. Southern Bell  |  April 18, 2011 at 3:58 am

    I second that. I know everyone is gearing up for elections but the AG and certainly the President don't make decisions without considerable forethought and planning.

    This whole defense of DOMA is turning into a real mess. While I don't want my tax dollars or anyone anti-DOMA to unwillingly defend it, it also seems silly to try to get reimbursed by DOJ.

    Does anyone more legally or politically minded understand why Boehner is requesting this? Does he realize it likely won't happen but is trying to please both sides?

  • 28. Ann S.  |  April 18, 2011 at 4:04 am

    He's not trying to please both sides. He's trying to please his base.

    He's also setting Pelosi up — when she refuses, he'll use it against her in the next election.

  • 29. Rhie  |  April 18, 2011 at 4:11 am


  • 30. AnonyGrl  |  April 18, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Hopefully Pelosi will respond:

    Dear Mr. Boehner;

    Did you take Social Studies in grade school? I did, and so I know that this was not a "unilateral" move by the President to declare DOMA unconstitutional. In fact, the COURTS declared it unconstitutional, and our President very wisely decided to abide by that ruling and save our taxpayers a great deal of money.

    Sir, if YOU wish to defend a law that the courts have found unconstitutional, I suggest YOU pay for it, and stop forcing my constituents to do so. Their tax burden is high enough, and, as yours is the party of "smaller government" it only makes sense that you should stop this nonsense.

    Of course, you do have the option of making the whole matter moot, by standing with ME on the repeal of DOMA, which is the right thing to do. I hope you will join me in this important effort, and this will solve the issue with no additional expense to taxpayers, no harm to anyone, and great benefit to citizens who are currently being denied equal rights.

    Thank you.

  • 31. DaveP  |  April 18, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Hi AnonGrl,

    This is excellent! Please forward your comments to Pelosi!

  • 32. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 18, 2011 at 5:32 am

    AnonyGrl that is perfection!!!! You should send this on to Madam Pelosi :-)

  • 33. AnonyGrl  |  April 18, 2011 at 5:54 am

    OK… I did send it to her. :)

  • 34. Leo  |  April 18, 2011 at 6:07 am

    That's not quite true. DOJ is not defending Pederson, Windsor, Dragovich — those cases are in district courts and haven't been decided yet. In the two cases where DOMA was ruled unconstitutional (Gill and Mass), DOJ actually did appeal the ruling and continued to defend DOMA until the recent announcement. The change in course (at least, according to the administration) was prompted by the filing of challenges in 2nd Circuit, not by Judge Tauro's ruling.

  • 35. Leo  |  April 18, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Misaligned, meant as a reply to Mark

  • 36. Ronnie  |  April 18, 2011 at 7:30 am

    "Law & Order" star, Sam Waterston, is a New Yorker who supports Marriage Equality…..<3…Ronnie:

  • 37. Sheryl Carver  |  April 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I totally agree with DaveP & Mark M, AnonyGrl! Glad you sent it; hope she responds to you with a personal thank you. Whatever you get as a reply, please let us know.

    Thanks for all you do!

  • 38. Chantell  |  April 10, 2014 at 5:07 am

    GreySells and others? Adultery, fonctraiion and masturbation? In terms of modernity? PLEASE? Lets all try to study our bibles, OK? For a teency weency introduction into what a crock of balderdash most people divorce over, try reading Divine Sex’ with an open mind and a digital bible with many translations in hand.. With an open heart to all and your eyes lifted towards heaven, perhaps a few revelations can turn some of this vituperative lashing out towards what the Lord our God instructs us to do.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!