Home Judge: Gay Marriage Trial Must Go on YouTube

Judge: Gay Marriage Trial Must Go on YouTube

The controversial Proposition 8, same-sex marriage ban is back in California courts and this time around the trial proceedings are expected to be broadcast on YouTube.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a California judge ruled earlier today to broadcast the trial thanks to a pilot program approved last month. The program permits the “telecasting of selected nonjury civil trials” and could be a bold move for the government to further open up proceedings to the eyes of its citizens.

The trial will not be broadcast live, however. Instead, it will be recorded and broadcast on delay, giving the judge the ability to have witnesses’ faces blocked out or voices muted. Prop 8 supporters, the side that opposes gay marriage, are pushing to stop the trial’s broadcasting altogether, saying that it might discourage witnesses from testifying.

Ironically, the pro-8 camp made frequent use of YouTube in the run-up to the election. Both sides of the debate posted a number of much-watched videos on the site supporting and opposing Prop 8. Media organizations, including Chronicle-owner Hearst Corp., are pushing for a real-time broadcast of the proceedings. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to sign off on the decision to broadcast the trial.

In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples could marry. Voters passed Prop 8 later that same year. It overturned the court’s decision and amended the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The trial begins on Monday, Jan. 11, and will be available for viewing on YouTube sometime later that day or early the next.

Here’s hoping the Internet can shine a light in another dark corner of democracy.

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