Prop 8 Trial Will Be Televised

In just a few days, the fight for civil rights is coming to a small screen near you.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said it will permit cameras in the courtroom when it hears a challenge to Proposition 8, which eliminated marriage rights for millions of gay Californians.

Oral arguments will take place on Dec. 6, and will be broadcast on C-SPAN.  Rules about televising court proceedings are notoriously unpredictable, with no federal trial ever having been televised before.

Those favoring the marriage ban have opposed the cameras, saying that it would subject witnesses to harassment. They want to be able to testify without having to reveal their identities.

The feed from C-SPAN is expected to be picked up and broadcast on numerous stations, so it won't be difficult to get a front-row seat for the riveting arguments. No viewing parties have been scheduled so far, but it's likely that a crowd will assemble outside the courtroom.

Previously, Proposition 8 was found unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. That ruling was appealed by anti-gay groups, and December's appeal hearing is the next step on a course that many believe will lead to the Supreme Court of the United States, which is expected to have the last word.

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