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Federal judge orders release of Proposition 8 trial video

Chief US District Judge James Ware of the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] decided Monday to unseal video recordings [order, PDF] from last year's trial over Proposition 8 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive], California's same-sex marriage ban. Unless a higher court overrules the order, it will take effect [AP report] September 30. In August of this year, Ware held a hearing over whether there was a compelling reason to keep the videos a secret. A group a lawyers, along with the Associated Press [corporate website], argued that the videos should be released. The trial judge had ruled [JURIST report] last year that the trial could be broadcast live to five federal courthouses and posted to the court's YouTube [website] channel, but that decision was later overturned [JURIST report] by the US Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments on whether intervening advocacy groups can defend Proposition 8 in court, in response to a certified question [JURIST reports] by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website]. When Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report] last year, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former attorney general and current Governor Jerry Brown [official website], who were originally defendants in the lawsuit, refused to continue defending the measure on appeal [JURIST report], leaving defendant-intervenors Project Marriage [advocacy website] and other groups to defend the law.

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