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Bringing Perry v. Schwarzenegger to the public in spite of the US Supreme Court
February 3, 2010 6:45 PM   Subscribe

In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (37 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
At the audition, the director said I wasn't convincing enough as a homophobic bigot.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:48 PM on February 3, 2010


I was hoping they'd have the CGI reenactment for Taiwanese television do this.
posted by birdherder at 6:59 PM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


This case is extremely interesting but having watched about ten minutes of the re-enactment I have to say I'll be glad when this gets made into a concise TV movie or mini series or film. I commend the makers of marriagetrial.com but I'll stick to reading about this story for now.
posted by nola at 7:00 PM on February 3, 2010


Didn't the OJ trial teach America that court is boring?
posted by The World Famous at 7:01 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So are these actors or lawyers? If they're actors...I don't understand why they're glorifying this horrible ruling. If its lawyers...can they not do something more productive for the fight than this?

I kinda don't understand the motives behind this.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:05 PM on February 3, 2010


There's a lengthy documentary series about a court trial called "The Staircase" which is absolutely gripping. Probably the best legal drama in any medium that I have ever experienced.
posted by stammer at 7:06 PM on February 3, 2010


hal_c_on, what's not to understand? They're recreating the trial. They're working from the transcripts. Some of the people in the movie are actors. No one's making any money off of this.

Imagine you're watching a docudrama about the Scopes trial. Like that.

The guys making it are two gay men who married before Prop 8 happened.
posted by rtha at 7:14 PM on February 3, 2010


I kinda don't understand the motives behind this.

Well it would seem to be an effort to make the transcripts more life like and to document the events as true to life as possible. It could be great tertiary source material for a film maker but like I said it's not very easy to watch as there will be many hours of this trial to re-enact. Over all though I'm glad they went to the trouble I'll just be more interested in reading about it or seeing a documentary or the like.
posted by nola at 7:16 PM on February 3, 2010


I kinda don't understand the motives behind this.

An interesting element to the case was that, in a neat turnaround, it was the anti-gay people who wanted anonymity, not the gay people. I think the point is that there were people testifying against gay marriage who did not want to have broadcast their voices and faces, despite the fact that their testimony is intended to define public policy and is purported to represent some objective factual basis for preventing gay marriage. I'm glad someone took on the project, as these are faces and names that should be widely known.
posted by troybob at 7:17 PM on February 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


In my limited experience (as a juror) with trials, they are generally staid and as dramatic as watching grass grow. Testimony and cross examinations are important, but can be kind of tedious. I'll check some of these out, but honestly, I think I'll get more out of reading the courtroom transcripts.
posted by rtha at 7:19 PM on February 3, 2010


Another 5-4 decision from the SC. These things are like little cold sores from our 8-year affair with Bush (Iraq is crabs, warrantless wiretapping is the clap).
posted by mullingitover at 7:20 PM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why they're glorifying this horrible ruling.

What ruling?
posted by empath at 7:21 PM on February 3, 2010


troybob! THANK YOU for a legitimate answer. I also agree the faces and names should be widely known...
posted by hal_c_on at 7:23 PM on February 3, 2010


I presume this is for people who are interested, but not interested enough to read a transcript.

Me, I'll wait for the twitter version.
posted by pompomtom at 7:26 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


as these are faces and names that should be widely known.

The actors' faces?
posted by The World Famous at 7:30 PM on February 3, 2010


Me, I'll wait for the twitter version.


That one went out live. I followed the case through @NCLRights who tweeted all day every day of the trial.
posted by TwoWordReview at 7:37 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the twitter version happened already, which is how I listened in on this case as it happened. It was a clunky first attempt - and I'd bet that we'll see livetweeting (and its progeny, whatever that might be) get more sophisticated as time goes on.

This is, as pompomtom said, for people who don't have the energy to read through the transcripts. As someone who eats, sleeps and breathes transcripts I'm not bothered by doing so - but I could see why someone might not want to do that. Journalists, interns, and activists have neither the time nor the inclination to give a thorough reading. You can fire up a video and do other things while you're listening for relevant information.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:49 PM on February 3, 2010


In my limited experience (as a juror) with trials, they are generally staid and as dramatic as watching grass grow. Testimony and cross examinations are important, but can be kind of tedious. I'll check some of these out, but honestly, I think I'll get more out of reading the courtroom transcripts.

Trials are exciting in the same way baseball is exciting, meaning that it's all about knowing the little rules and strategies, because big home-run plays are few and far between. If you don't know the intricacies of what's going on, though - and there's no earthly reason why most people should ever have to know - they're about as interesting as watching 9 people standing around in a field occasionally throwing a ball past a guy with a stick.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:55 PM on February 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Exactly, Navelgazer. I am also a baseball fan, and I think it helped me stay focused during the trial, even when I got impatient listening to one or the other of the lawyers ask the same question six times. That's a great analogy - thank you!
posted by rtha at 8:09 PM on February 3, 2010


pompomtom: "Me, I'll wait for the twitter version."

There's been a Twitter version, actually, and it's pretty interesting. Some choice updates:
AmerEqualRights: Defenders of Prop 8. object to the showing of one of their TV ads from the campaign

AmerEqualRights: When Loving v VA reached Supreme Court in 1967, more than 70% of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage.

AmerEqualRights: Dr. Cott notes that Massachusetts, which has marriage equality, has the lowest divorce rate in the nation.

AmerEqualRights: Cross-examiner citing "Will & Grace" & "Brokeback Mountain," implying power of gays and lack of discrimination

AmerEqualRights: Tam's answer: "Right," agreeing that part of 'gay agenda' is legalizing underage sex

AmerEqualRights: Prop. 8 proponents' cross-examination so far has brought up Carrie Prejean, "Will & Grace," and studies from 1954

AmerEqualRights: Defendants asking Dr. Lamb whether men can breastfeed

AmerEqualRights: Defendants asking Dr. Lamb about research showing that men have lower intelligence, bringing up examples like Homer Simpson

AmerEqualRights: Defendants asking Dr. Lamb whether stepfathers are more likely to molest than stepmothers

AmerEqualRights: Defense asking whether science can be wrong

AmerEqualRights: Zia says she registered for her domestic partnership at the same window that issues dog licenses

AmerEqualRights: Defendants arguing to keep Ryan Kendall, a plaintiffs' witness who is a gay man who underwent "conversion therapy," off the stand

AmerEqualRights: Objection denied w/ note that defendants opened the door by suggesting that sexual orientation is a "conscious choice"

AmerEqualRights: Defenders of Prop. 8 now introducing footage from Bill O'Reilly's program to illustrate that Prop. 8 supporters are victimized

AmerEqualRights: Defenders of Prop. 8 now reading from an article called "The Gay Mafia," which notes they are like a "homosexual justice league"

AmerEqualRights: Equal marriage compared to 9/11

AmerEqualRights: If Prop. 8 doesn't pass, "Pedophiles would have to be allowed to marry 6, 7, 8 year-olds"

AmerEqualRights: Pro-#Prop8 video in reference to households without a male parent: "Who do you go to when you need to learn how to change the oil?"
I can see now why they didn't want this televised.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:11 PM on February 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


Trials are exciting in the same way baseball is exciting...

*click*
posted by pompomtom at 8:19 PM on February 3, 2010


Dear Founding Fathers: thank you for the First Amendment. Good one.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:20 PM on February 3, 2010


I'll wait for the twitter version.

The twitter version was happening live from the courtroom from many different feeds.

If you're waiting for it, you're too late.
posted by hippybear at 8:39 PM on February 3, 2010


Hrm. I guess it had been a while since I refreshed the page. How embarassing.
posted by hippybear at 8:41 PM on February 3, 2010


as these are faces and names that should be widely known.

The actors' faces?


The last link in the post matches photos of the actors to those of the participants.

I think that one of the most enduring images in civil rights struggles of the 50s and 60s is the news footage of those who proudly, on camera, offered up twisted rationalizations for inequality that (nearly) all of us would view now as shameful; we can get a sense of that from a text archive, but seeing and hearing it expressed--a more direct link between speaker and viewer/listener--is powerful. I hope to see to the day when modern anti-gay arguments are similarly reviled, and I'd like the same kind of record on hand. In this particular case, close is better than nothing; and, depending on how the case turns out,maybe something like this will lead to a dramatization in the manner of Inherit the Wind.
posted by troybob at 8:46 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


That twitter version is ludicrously awesome. As I scrolled down the page it kept getting more and more crazy.

I agree with the Prop 8 guys, though. Homer Simpson is pretty dumb.
posted by graventy at 9:24 PM on February 3, 2010


As soon as I heard about the ruling I had this idea myself, so I'm quite glad to see it happen. It's just in my nature when somebody tells me I can't do something, to find a way around it. But more importantly I think having the lines spoken can have a bigger impact than just reading them on a page. Now it just needs the right mash-up to get it heard & seen by the public at large.
posted by scalefree at 9:57 PM on February 3, 2010


AmerEqualRights: Defenders of Prop. 8 now reading from an article called "The Gay Mafia," which notes they are like a "homosexual justice league"

AmerEqualRights: Defendants asking Dr. Lamb whether men can breastfeed


This malarkey should have been televised live, for the world to see.
posted by sallybrown at 10:03 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This malarkey should have been televised live, for the world to see.

We live in an era that sees the media report bizarre "facts" without any qualms. Torture is simply 'enhanced interrogation' and anyone who rejects global warming science need only say they have an 'expert opinion' to get a tv interview. A strange mass of "the world" doesn't seem to be too disturbed by this 'malarkey'.

I would love to believe this court case can end up in a just decision based on constitutional law and human rights. It would be good to see some signs of decency in this country. I am just not holding my breath.
posted by Surfurrus at 10:45 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, for people who just want a day-by-day summary of the trial with highlights and some analysis, is there a site for that?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:01 PM on February 3, 2010


So, for people who just want a day-by-day summary of the trial with highlights and some analysis, is there a site for that?

I've been following it on Laist. The coverage isn't perfect, but it has been a decent way to get a daily summary. Here's a link to their posts with the relevant tag.

(The trial is over, but that link should get you to the past day-by-day posts.)
posted by The World Famous at 11:53 PM on February 3, 2010


For daily summaries of the 12 day trial (and other motions) check out:
American Foundation for Equal Rights Hearing Transcripts.

Courage Campaign Prop 8 Trial Tracker.

San Jose Mercury News Prop 8 Trial Coverage.
posted by ericb at 8:11 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Mercury coverage of the last two days (day 11 -- day 12) is pretty fascinating. The defense appears to be shockingly incompetent; their "political expert" only has a degree in labor history and admitted to not having read much on the subject. The family values guy (Blankenhorn) attacked gay marriage in his testimony then admitted that he has written that it would be a "victory for the worthy ideas of tolerance and inclusion," and an "expansion of the American idea."

He's also unintentionally hilarious, esp. arguing that marriage is only about procreation.
"There might be an example of a husband and wife not interested in sex, but I've never met one." Also:

David Boies: ""I don't want to fall into the trap of making sex boring."
Blankenhorn: "Maybe together we can do that."
posted by msalt at 10:32 AM on February 4, 2010


Are they trying to lose this trial on purpose? To give them another 'activist judge' bullet point?
posted by graventy at 10:47 AM on February 4, 2010


Also available: School House Rock-style video, "They Can't Turn the Lights off Now." Video was produced by HitRECord (founded by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt). It discusses the whole prop8 legal situation and emphasizes the importance of transparency in government. Umm, and it's cute!!
posted by Craig at 4:58 PM on February 4, 2010


HitRECord (founded by actor Joseph Gordon Levitt)

The fact that "Tommy" from 3rd Rock is growing up to be 1) an excellent actor and 2) a bit of a mover/shaker in things like this just sort of 1) blows my mind and 2) makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
posted by hippybear at 5:00 PM on February 4, 2010


Prop 8 Trial Judge is Gay, and Media is Finally Talking About It.
posted by ericb at 12:55 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


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