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Federal judge rules Proposition 8 trial can be broadcast on YouTube

[JURIST] A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the trial over the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage [JURIST news archives] in California, will be videotaped and broadcast on YouTube. Judge Vaughn Walker of the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] ruled [San Francisco Chronicle report] that while the trial will not be broadcast live, it will be recorded and posted on the court's YouTube channel [website]. Walker's ruling came over the objection of Proposition 8 supporters, who argued [LAT report] that broadcasting the proceedings would result in an unfair trial because of witness intimidation. The broadcast is allowed under an experimental program approved by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] last month that allows cameras in civil, non-jury cases. The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger [case materials], is set to go to trial on Monday.

Last month, the Ninth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex marriage proponents cannot access Proposition 8 supporters' internal campaign communications. The court denied disclosure of the documents on First Amendment [text] grounds, reversing a decision by Walker. In November, the Ninth Circuit affirmed [JURIST report] Walker's denial of a motion to intervene in the suit by conservative advocacy group the Campaign for California Families. The lawsuit was filed [JURIST report] in May by former US solicitor general Ted Olson and prominent litigator David Boies [professional profiles], who were opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore [opinion], which decided the outcome of the contested 2000 US Presidential election [JURIST backgrounder]. Proposition 8 was approved [JURIST report] by California voters in November 2008.

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