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Ed Watson, the 9th Circuit, and the Prop W8 trial

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Prop 8 trial

By Adam Bink

Thank you so much for all of your comments and condolences on yesterday’s thread to honor Ed Watson’s memory.

As Jacob wrote this morning, the same LA Times journalist who put their story on the front page also wrote a nice piece.

The memorial will be in January. Because we’re not planning to publish anyone’s home address on the web, if you’d like to send flowers or other notes, you can send them to:

Courage Campaign

c/o Anthony Ash

7119 West Sunset Boulevard, No. 195

Los Angeles, CA 90046

Rick and Anthony will be attending and visiting Derence between now and then, so they will take them along on their drive. If you have any questions, you can drop a note to anthony dot ash at couragecampaign dot org, or myself. And a special shout-out and thank you to the David Rohr Floral Studio, a representative of which read yesterday’s post here on P8TT and kindly reached out to offer to create a flower memorial for donation.

On another note, all of yesterday’s events inspired not just sadness but anger. Anger that Ed had to go the way he did without the chance to marry the one he loved in what has really become the Prop “W8” trial. 368 days since the 9th Circuit first heard the appeal of Judge Walker’s ruling. 493 days since Judge Walker struck Prop 8 down. And still nothing.

Rick wrote a note to our members this morning — you can read it below. If you agree, please help honor Ed’s memory by signing our respectful ask to the 9th Circuit to rule immediately on the case.

Courage Campaign

Dear Adam,

Ed Watson of Palm Springs died Wednesday at the age of 78. Alzheimer’s caught up with him. All Ed wanted to do was marry his partner of over 40 years, Derence Kernek.
I got this news en route to yesterday’s Prop. 8 hearing at the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco. I was at the courthouse to live-blog once again, nearly two years into a trial that has changed the world. But for people like Ed and Derence, nothing has changed, because it’s been 493 days since Judge Walker ruled Prop. 8 as unconstitutional, and still nothing.
How many more Eds will there be before the court rules? Please click here to tell Judge Reinhardt and his colleagues to issue their ruling immediately so that we can go on with life, not watch people die waiting to marry.
I can hear it now. “You’re not supposed to pressure a judge. It’s bad form.” Tell that to Derence. At age 80, with Ed gone and no marriage, Derence will have a very hard time making ends meet since after 40 years he gets none of the survivor benefits he would have otherwise received. None.
I never met Ed, but I spoke with Derence many times earlier this year when we ran a campaign to get the California Supreme Court to hurry up. They did a really powerful video you may remember going viral. As a result, Los Angeles Times reporter Carol Williams put their story on the front page.

But the courts refused to listen to their plea, which is sad, considering yesterday what they did listen to: arguments about whether tapes should be released and whether Judge Walker’s verdict should be vacated because he’s gay and might or might not want to marry someday. Of course, none of that matters to Ed and Derence now.

Please help us honor Ed’s memory. Join us to respectfully tell the 9th Circuit judges to issue their ruling immediately.
Ed Watson is gone, but if the 9th Circuit rules now, this case can move again and maybe, just maybe, we won’t lose another amazing person like Ed, who simply wanted to marry the one he loved.
-Rick, along with Anthony, Adam, Aidan, Ana, Arisha, Caitlin, Cheyenne, Eddie, Jacob, Michael and Sarah (the Courage Campaign team)


  • 1. Susan Russell  |  December 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    We will keep the fight alive and at All Saints Church in Pasadena tomorrow our prayers at all four services will include thanksgiving for the life of Ed Watson.

    The Reverend Susan Russell
    All Saints Church, Pasadena

  • 2. Bob  |  December 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks Reverend Russell,,,, rest in peace Ed!!!!!!

  • 3. Sagesse  |  December 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm


  • 4. Fr. Bill  |  December 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Ditto at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, Lahaina, Maui

  • 5. Drpatrick1  |  December 9, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I believe it was David Boise who in arguing against the stay said that the stay will hurt real people, not only in the lofty way that we are all hurt when someone is denied equal rights, not only that gays will be denied a fundamental right, the right to have an option to marry, but in the very tangible way that there will be some out there, for whom any delay may just be too long… Of course I'm paraphrasing, but this couple really puts a face on the tragedy of a stay when it comes to giving people basic fundamental rights. For Maggie and her ilk, this is an intellectual discussion, a debate, for us, this has very real and direct effects on our lives!

  • 6. MightyAcorn  |  December 10, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Rick and Anthony, it's very kind of you to go visit. Thanks for taking the time to do that, and I hope you'll convey our condolences as well. <3

  • 7. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  December 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    […] I wrote about the media reaction to the Perry hearings, while Adam brought us a message from Rick and the entire Courage Campaign honoring Ed Watson’s memory. ┬áLater in the day, I […]

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