High court blocks Prop 8 video streaming

Jan. 13, 2010 at 8:59 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday blocked remote broadcasts of a federal court trial in San Francisco on California's gay-marriage ban.

The justices in a 5-4 ruling ordered a federal trial judge not to allow live-stream broadcasts of the case to courtrooms in five other federal courthouses, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

The Supreme Court ruling did not address the issues in the underlying trial, the report said.

"The District Court here attempted to revise its rules in haste, contrary to federal statutes and the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States," the Supreme Court majority said in an unsigned opinion. "It did so to allow the broadcasting of this high-profile trial without any considered standards or guidelines in place."

Justice Stephen Breyer dissented, saying, "There is no conflict among the state or federal courts regarding the procedures by which a district court changes its local rules."

In San Francisco, attorneys for backers of California's Proposition 8 argued Wednesday that gays and lesbians no longer face discrimination.

Prop 8 lawyer David Thompson vigorously cross-examined Yale University Professor George Chauncey during testimony at a federal trial in San Francisco challenging the legality of the voter-approved 2008 state Constitution amendment, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury-News reported.

Backers of Prop 8 contend the amendment is not discriminatory to gays and lesbians because they are no longer a persecuted class and are gaining political power. But Chauncey, a history professor and expert on the history of discrimination, testified gays and lesbians have been the target of unrelenting discrimination throughout history, the Mercury-News said.

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