January 11, 2010
By Rick Jacobs
After two and a half hours in a cold, crisp San Francisco dawn at which a few hundred dauntless supporters of full marriage equality stood together to rally for justice, I am in the overflow video room at the Burton Federal Court House here in San Francisco for the civil rights trial of our generation. The room is cavernous and imposing, called “the ceremonial room” for the District Court. Two screens are set up in front the audience pews that would typically be reserved for observers of a trial. The screen on the left is active, with three video boxes showing the judge’s chair, the courtroom and the witness chair. According to the very kind ushers here, the judge will turn on the audio when he is ready. The screen on the left is for presentation of evidence. It’s dark right now, but again will be activated by the judge when appropriate.
We’re all very disappointed that Justice Kennedy has decided to refer the question of televising the case via YouTube until at least Wednesday, when the entire Supreme Court will rule on that question. 140,000 members of the Courage Campaign and Credo Mobile signed a petition during the public comment period established by Judge Walker. We delivered those signatures on Friday and all thought that this case would be open to the public.
For decades, the right wing has used the tools of fear in the form of thirty and sixty second television ads to sew discord and to pit Americans against each other in the pursuit of the basic right of consecrating love. Maggie Gallagher and the forces of NOM seek media attention when they can control it because they know that the truth destroys their arguments. They know that James Madison and the other framers of the US Constitution never imagined that Americans would vote on each other’s rights. And they know that, whether or not the trial is televised, this is the first time that a full, considered public airing of the philosophical and legal reasons that loving couples should marry.
Ted Olson wrote a brilliant op-ed in Newsweek that lays bare the right wing’s fallacious attacks on equality. It’s here.
[UPDATE]: Judge Walker just stated that he received 138,542 comments in favor of airing the trial and 32 opposed. Those were all of our members and CREDO’s. He commented on them being overwhelmingly in favor of rule change and dissemination of information via Internet.