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Wall St. Journal on Testimony: A “Marisa Tomei makeover” for the Prop 8 trial


By Eden James

Earlier today, Academy Award-winning actor Marisa Tomei helped the Courage Campaign kick off “Testimony: Equality on Trial” — the most important campaign for full equality we have ever waged.

The Wall Street Journal quickly followed up with a piece on the campaign, calling it a “Marisa Tomei makeover” for the Prop 8 trial and describing how Tomei’s trial reenactment video came to pass:

Acting in a West Hollywood park Tomei portrays Kristin Perry, one of the lesbian plaintiffs in the case seeking to marry her partner. Actor Josh Lucas plays Theodore Olson, one of the legal powerhouses supporting the challenge. The scene portrays the plaintiffs’ argument that gays and lesbians face discrimination in their everyday lives.

Other Prop 8 trial reenactments on the site star Alan Cumming, Michael Urie, Cheyenne Jackson and more. Dramatic portrayals of real trials haven’t been this star-studded since Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly in 1960’s “Inherit The Wind” about the Scopes trial.

Hmmm… a “Testimony” movie on the Prop 8 trial? I can already see the marquee.

Speaking of films, here is the full text of Marisa Tomei’s email to Courage Campaign members about Testimony and her trial reenactment video with Josh Lucas. If you want to see their video, click on the links below…

Dear Eden —

They thought they could get away with it. With your help, we can prove them wrong.

Supporters of Prop 8 tried to stop Americans from watching one of the most important trials in a generation, televised for all to see on TV. They didn’t want the public to see the pain caused by decades of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The Supreme Court let it happen, overruling U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to televise the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.

But you have the power to change it. You can bring this trial to life, just like I did a few weeks ago in a park with my friend and fellow actor Josh Lucas.

Please join me in participating in Phase 1 of “Testimony: Equality on Trial” — a national, year-long volunteer-driven campaign to get the truth out about the Prop 8 trial.

“Testimony” is the vision of legendary LGBT community organizer Cleve Jones and it starts today with live reenactments of the trial in cities and towns across America, from New York and Durham to San Francisco and Shaker Heights.

Americans need to see the truth about the Prop 8 trial. That’s why I filmed a reenactment of one of the most provocative moments of the trial for “Testimony: Equality on Trial.” Will you watch the video now, check out the Courage Campaign’s amazing new web site and then do your own reenactment?


My good friend Bruce Cohen — one of the Academy Award-winning producers of the film “MILK” — has personally selected the most important, dramatic or emotional scenes straight from the court transcripts.

But Phase 1 of “Testimony” — reenactments of key scenes from Perry v. Schwarzenegger — is not about professional actors and producers making a film. It’s about people like you grabbing a video camera, a couple of friends and bringing this trial to life in your own town square, living room or park.

So while Partricia Clarkson, Alan Cumming, Ellen Greene, Cheyenne Jackson, Josh Lucas and Michael Urie all made videos, there was no script memorizing, no crew, not even a director.

Today, volunteers just like you are participating in live reenactments of the Prop 8 trial in cities across America. Will you share this email with your friends and consider creating your own reenactment video? Click here to watch my “Testimony” video. And then watch the videos created by my fellow actors as well as volunteers just like you:

Through “Testimony: Equality on Trial” the American people will finally be able to witness and participate in the most transformative trial in modern American history. They will witness how Perry v. Schwarzenegger destroyed the myths and lies that have been used to discriminate against LGBT people.

Together, we will make sure that the truth about this historic testimony is heard outside the courtroom. Together, we’ll change the way America thinks about equality.

Thank you for helping my friends at the Courage Campaign get the truth out. We can’t do this without you.



  • 1. Richard A. Walter (s  |  May 13, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for this opportunity. We did not get o film our scene today as we had planned, but will try again tomorrow here in Fayetteville.

  • 2. K!r!lleXXI  |  May 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

    When there was a talk about this project in April, I thought it's about personal stories of real people who have something to contribute about their own lives, to testify to all the injustices and discriminatory acts towards them because they are gay or allies… Now I see it's simply about re-enactment. Not that it's simple or anything. It's a great way to share the trial with people.

    The problem is, who's gonna go and watch those videos? Exactly — same gay people and allies… maybe some other people who question their beliefs will join… and that is our target audience… Not much, but at least something. I wish we could do more. Alas!

    Like they say, it's all about changing the world one person at a time. Kudos for that!

    K, Russia

  • 3. couragecampaign  |  May 13, 2010 at 9:12 am

    This actually just Phase 1. Phase 2 is all about getting people to share their stories.

    We have only just begun!


  • 4. K!r!lleXXI  |  May 13, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Oh, pardon my ignorance!
    Now, that sounds much better!
    I wish there was some info about all the phases this project has on the very Equality On Trial website (I believe there is no secret about them if you're sharing this information), if they are already thought of, that is.


  • 5. Carvel  |  May 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

    This is the type of thing we need to do on all fronts to bring this to the attention of the main stream press and everybody in the country. We need everyone talking about it and getting on our side if possible. When this issue eventually comes before the US Supreme Court we need to bulk of public opinion on our side.

    This is a social issue which has come to full bloom and it is now time to show the flower of our labors to the public. I understand that not everyone likes us and that many hate us, but I will not let them ignore us and sweep us under the rug with the common trash.

  • 6. Ronnie  |  May 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I'll make a video during NYC Gay Pride…which just so happens to be ON my B-day this year…sweeeeeet….lol….<3…Ronnie

  • 7. Ronnie  |  May 13, 2010 at 10:45 am


  • 8. JonT  |  May 13, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Good stuff. Reading the scripts was much easier than the actual trial transcripts 🙂

    Hope it makes a splash.

  • 9. Kathleen  |  May 13, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Just subscribing

  • 10. David Kimble  |  May 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I have been away from the site for a while now, but just found this – apparently Judge Walker has set a date for final arguments in this case at June 16th.

  • 11. Ronnie  |  May 14, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Yesterday 8 out of 500…. : / ….were arrested in NYC were President Obama addresses the crowd at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

    The protest was l led by HIV/AIDS activists Larry Kramer and Zackie Achmat…..

    "Obama is not my president," he said. "Obama is not your president. Obama does not like AIDS. Obama does not like gays. Now what are we going to do about it? Because we continue to sit on the sidelines while our world is denied us, yes, our world, which is as much our world as anyone else’s, is denied us. Our rights are denied us. Our love is denied us. We are even denied the right to fight for our country. How long must we be denied all of this before we truly rise up in united anger!"

    (me) WOW!!!!…..well said…<3…Ronnie:

  • 12. Carvel  |  May 14, 2010 at 2:01 am

    This is what i am talking about that civil unrest will increase if we are denied our civil rights. The world is dividing itself up into two camps. those who want civil rights for all and those who want to blame and eliminate gay people. The biggest problem is in Africa and in opressive countries in Eastern Europe. We are seeing some of this here in this country.

    The scientists tell us we could end HIV and AIDS in one generation with proper education and public information. It is almost an entirely preventable disease. It would be eliminated if it was contracted by some other method than through sex. The conservative people just think all sexually transmitted diseases are treated the same way as you treat illegal drugs. Scare the people from using them them or engaging in sex.

    When are we going to learn that fear will not stop us from having sex.

  • 13. Sagesse  |  May 14, 2010 at 1:45 am

    The California Legislature passed a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to end its "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.

  • 14. Sagesse  |  May 14, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Have to take the bad with the good, I guess.


    Obama author and investigator Andy Martin will announce Friday that he is launching investigations into Elena Kagan’s private and professional life in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at Harvard Law School.

  • 15. Bill  |  May 14, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Heterosexual douchebaggery at its finest!

  • 16. Monty  |  May 14, 2010 at 4:47 am


  • 17. Carvel  |  May 14, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Why don't they launch an investigation into the sex lives of senators and elected officials. They wouldn't investigate her if it was roumored that she was heterosexual. This is just trying to find something against her like she is gay that they can use to smear her. I don't blame her for hating gay people. She hasn't been roumored to be gay more than three weeks and already she hates being labeled gay.

    If she gets confirmed and she is straight this shoulc prove to her that we need the protection of law. I hope she is straight and she gets wrongly labeled as gay and then it is shown that she is straight. She will relaly want to protect us then.

    Remember, if being gay was acceptable and we could marry her sexuality would not be at issue. However, because she can possibly vote on same sex marriage it is relevant. God, they are hypocrites.

  • 18. Monty  |  May 14, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Her speculated sexuality is an issue, but the well-established religious views of other justices aren't, even though that undoubtedly has a much greater impact on their decisions overall. The double standard is sickening.

  • 19. Mark M.  |  May 14, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Who says she hates Gays? She certainly hasn't said anything of that sort. In fact one of the biggest issues for her is explaining why as Dean of Law at harvard she kept military recruiters off campus because of DADT.

  • 20. Straight Ally #3008  |  May 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Gee, did he launch an investigation into the private life of the unmarried David Souter? And while I'm at it, how offensive is this cartoon?

  • 21. JonT  |  May 14, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Oh wow… How sad. And how typical of haters.

  • 22. Phillip R  |  May 14, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Hi…long time reader/first time commenter.

    I dunno how much of an impact that these reenactments will have. As has been said before, you're probably only likely to find GLBT or allies among the crowd. Just doesn't seem like much more than an attempt at more publicity which I'm unsure is the best route.

  • 23. Ray in MA  |  May 14, 2010 at 5:56 am

    The 'real' personal testimonies will be much more popular…the re-enactments appear to be warm up for more to come (and maybe an example of how-to)

  • 24. PamC  |  May 15, 2010 at 2:58 am

    My spouse, Cathy, was crying her eyes out and blowing her nose during the Marisa Tomei re-enactment. I think it's time they started making the feature film–there's certainly enough human interest, drama & comedy in this trial!

  • 25. Carvel  |  May 15, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Dear Pam C
    It was for her because it struck a chord in her heart and it applied to the two of you. I never appreciated military funerals being somber and the significance of them playing taps emotionally. However, my lover of 15 years was former military and at his funeral they played taps. Now I can not hear taps without crying. When the emotions acted out by actors ring true or the incident reminds you of something personal then the flood gates of emotions come pouring forth.

    However, to the civilian in this war for civil rights, if you have your rights and never have identified with the struggle or can emotionally put yourself in their place, then you have to realize that it is just so much maudlin pap to those people.

    The woman or man who has lost a child understands the grief of a parent who loses a child because with each new child that they learn someone has lost they relieve their own personal hurt all over again. Empathy with the pain and suffering of others can drive a person to dispare, but hopefully it will drive us into action.

    the comedy is that it is as plain as the nose on their faces and they can not see it. Such is the human condition that we can not see our own faults and short comings.

  • 26. Bob  |  May 15, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Carvel, that was so well said, and exactly my personal experience, LGBT members and their allies get these things, but members of the religious right, even here in Canada, see it as a lesbian crying cause she wants what God denies her.

    The religious right , (my family of origin), cannot, will not, see it any other way than what they were taught to believe, that through some weird loophole created through politics, I managed to be married to a man. and no matter how emotional that is for many people, the only emotion in it for them is that I'm going to hell.

    But I do believe to continue to put it in their face, and likewise for acting out the trial, somehow somewhere it has to click with some of them,

    Pam C like your spouse, it brings up the same emotions for me.

  • 27. PamC  |  May 16, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Carvel & Bob,
    You both put it beautifully. My spouse just said that these re-enactments remind her of the "Radio Free Europe" commercial (remember these, with "On Broadway"?)–they send a message of hope to those of us who live on the wrong side of the "Marriage Curtain." We are married in CT, but still feel keenly the lack of federal marriage rights. And not just during tax time; I think that until we get federal marriage rights and the entire country knows about this, our tiny state marriages will continue to meet with blank stares or discomfort or outright sneers. These are only a few of the reactions we've gotten. However, the state law has given us a taste for freedom–we still have the feeling of "always coming out" whenever we have home repairs or joint purchases or medical care, but the salesmen and workmen and other professionals are at least aware that "our kind" exist and have so far treated us like any other married couple. But that's in CT. We're going to Florida to visit my mother in August, and I'm not looking forward to it.

  • 28. Carvel  |  May 16, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Dear Pam C
    DOMA does not even make sense. It is obviously unconstitutional. Since states recognize marriages, the federal government can not perform a marriage and can not declare marriages as not being valid. Only state courts with proper jurisdiction over the parties can perform those functions. The federal government does not issue birth certificates so the federal government can not declare that all birth certificates of a certain race, or ethnic group are suddenly invalid. The law does not work that way.

    The IRS can not refuse to recognize a valid state marriage as the federal law would be singling out a class of people and depriving them of the same rights and privileges of others of the same state. the US Supremes have already addressed this issued in the Colorado state constitutional amendment prohibiting statutes protecting the civil rights of homosexuals and invalidating such legislation and state constitutional amendment even though it was passed by a majority of the voters.

    Now if the federal government had the authority to issue marriage licenses and pass on marriages, then there might be some ground. the only thing the feds have said in the past is that STATES can not restrict the right to marry based on the race of the parties. We are simply asking the same thing based on the sex of the parties to the marriage. It is something that only limits what the states are doing and does not require the federal government to do anything. It is a prohibition of what the states can not do.

    I personally would have filed my federal tax returns as married and then defied them to not recognize the marriage. that would be a quick trip to the US Supremes.

  • 29. Carvel  |  May 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Dear Pam C
    Thank you for your kind words. The problem with religious zealots and with religious dogma is that you must believe the words to believe in the religion. Their reasoning is that what is in the Bible is unerring and the direct word of God. Yet the religious people see that the Christian religion said that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the sun revolved around the Earth. They excommunicated people from the church is you said it was different. The church used to burn witches and execute them. In some years they KILLED AS MANY AS 100,000 women as witches. The problem is that when the old ways clash with the new ways do doing things religion always seems to have a way of getting involved.

    For example, religion is an after the fact story to explain why something happened. If a story was written about Mt. St. Helems errupting it would be that God had finally had enough of the wicked ways of the evil people who lived around the mountain and he smite them with the fire from the sky. He sent mountains of ash to blanket the area and punish the people for not listening to the warning of the righteous people telling the wicked people to change their ways.

    There are so many things in the Bible that are gratuitously put in there that are not really necessary in today's society and that cause us no end of grief. The parts that some people think about homosexuality are just plain wrong. So are the parts about diet restrictions. So are animal sacrifices at the altar of God. Jesus is supposed to have released us from the diet restrictions, but he did not change everything or why keep the Old Testament in the Bible at all. He didn't change the fact that we are not to round the corners of our beards or our heads. We are not to wear cotton and wool at the same time. We permit divorce now.

    i believe in the concept and a belief in God, just not the ticky and picky God that they believe in. I believe in jesus, just not the hateful and mean Jesus that they seem to believe in.

    The problem is that they believe in the literal word of God and not the message of God. They find a word or a phrase and they hold on to that worse than a Chihuahua with a pull toy. Believe me, I have two of them and they don't let go of things. They are as determined and hard headed as the religious zealots.

    The problem with religions is that they point to a word or phrase and the entire belief in the religion depends on that word or phrase. They need to learn to give it up. The Earth revolves around the Sun and the existance or nonexistance of God does not depend on that fact. But that belief and the unerring belief in religion and God is the reason that the organized church did not admit a mistake with Galileo for more than 400 years. all I can say to the church and to the religious zealots is to go and sin not mre by preaching hate and intolerance in the name of God and Jesus.

  • 30. Bob  |  May 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    The religious reformation is evolving the same as everything else, the present form the reformation takes is to separate the people who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible , as opposed to those who have become more enlightened in their process of spiritual evolution, which is what we are meant to do as human beings. Evolove Spiritually, this is the gift, the rainbow people of the world bring to the threads of humanity we weave into the tapestry of becoming all that we are.

    History teaches of how the reformation began, through revealations by good old Luther, who told the pope where to go, with his idea of buying forgiveness.
    Today, again we have to tell the Church where to go with it's idea that the words in the Bible are inerrant. Fear not, this type of teaching and believing is being challenged, and this court case, was a good example of that, we need to continue mometum, with this notion of reforming the churches, and keeping them in their place.

    I read somewhere , never to give up hope, it is part of the human journey, our existence, to move two steps forward, before we take a step backwards, but if we pay attention, it's the step back, that shows us our true direction.

    As a species their is no denying that humanity continues to evolve, towards light truth love and equality, this is natural, it's the step back that brings the fear , darkness, and despair, We know where we are headed, Because we're the ones who are given this experience to learn these things, it wouldn't happen if we weren't different. We;re meant to stand out and cause a scene, at this time, it's our turn, we hold the torch , finally we can carry the flame towards equality and justice. WE Can

  • 31. Bob  |  May 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I failed to mention how important this prop8 trial is to the world, like I said on an earlier post, Canadian relidious right, wants to be like it's big brother in the States, if we win the court case for prop8, it goes a long way in shutting up this religious nuts in our Country, and I'm sure many others, we could do more to advertise this importance of this case Globally,
    You've managed through testimony to show once again, the earth revolves around the sun, to put it bluntly, Like Boise said we're fighting a bumper sticker ad , that says marriage is between one man and one woman.
    If we succeed we do the whole world a favour. This is an international case.

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