Trial of California Prop. 8 Challenge to Be on YouTube

As everyone will know, California’s Proposition 8, passed in November of 2008, added this section to the state constitution: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” On January 11, the constitutionality of that law will be challenged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (USDCCAND) in a case styled Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The case has elicited such public interest — see, e.g., the nifty media guide [PDF] issued by the court — that the judge in the matter has ruled that it be broadcast on YouTube.

At the moment there’s a test video on the USDCCAND YouTube Channel, the site for the trial, showing technicians checking the equipment and so forth.

If you’re thinking of watching some or all of the trial, you might want to bring yourself up to speed by checking out some of the relevant material on the Filings and Case Documents of Special Interest page for the case. The initial complaint [PDF], seeking declaratory, injunctive or “other relief,” argues that Proposition 8 violates “fundamental liberties that are protected by the Due Process Clause” of the U.S. constitution, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and Title 42 U.S.C. §1983.

So far as I know, no Canadian trial has been broadcast on the internet, whether on YouTube or otherwise; though, of course, the Supreme Court’s hearings are webcast; and the Ontario Court of Appeal tested the use of internet cameras in the court for a brief while.


  1. By way of related news: Portugal just voted to permit gay marriage, becoming the sixth country in Europe to allow it (Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway). As the NYTimes article points out, we, South Africa and six U.S. states also permit it.

    As an extra little fillip — it is Friday, after all — the name of the Portuguese Prime Minister is Jose Socrates.