Prop 8 tug of war over cameras continues

January 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The tug of war over cameras in the courtroom continues in the Prop 8 trial despite Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court ban on broadcasting the proceedings.

The cameras remain on in Courtroom 6 -- the setting for the landmark trial over same-sex marriage in California.

Prop 8 attorneys sent a letter Thursday to presiding Judge Vaughn Walker, objecting to further recordings and requesting "that any recordings previously made be deleted."

"We see no reason that they should continue to float around seeing as how they could never be used for any legitimate purpose," said Andy Pugno from the legal counsel to protect marriage.

"The defendants simply do not want the public to know what witnesses are saying," said David Boies, the anti-Prop 8 attorney.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court indefinitely blocked any live broadcasting, but federal Judge Walker said on Thursday that order does not prohibit him from recording the proceedings for his own review of the case.

The Prop 8 attorneys say that is OK and characterized the U.S. Supreme Court ruling as a rare break for their side, calling themselves "underdogs." ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson says that is a tactic.

"So really it's public relations, but this also serves I think in their own minds as a rationalization for the fact that they are simply getting out gunned at the trial court level," said Johnson.

Sketches of Thursday's proceedings depict San Francisco's chief economist Ted Egan as he testified that the ban on same-sex marriage is costing the city millions in everything from tourism dollars to higher payroll taxes.

"We don't ask judges to decide whether policies are constitutional or not based on how much tax revenue we can squeeze," said Pugno.

"The point was to show that permitting gay marriage only benefits the state, only benefits society," said Boies.

Last on the stand on Thursday was a Columbia professor who testified about the stigmatization of gays and lesbians. There are now seven or eight more witnesses to go for anti-Prop 8 side.