On Wednesday, in San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will hold one more pre-trial hearing before lawyers meet on January 11 to start a non-jury trial on the constitutional merits of Proposition 8.

The long-anticipated trial is shaping up to be quite the showdown, with hot shot attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies delivering a bare-knuckled brief last week — American Foundation for Equal Rights, a Los Angeles-based, Hollywood-connected pro-gay marriage group, hired the lawyers.

One devastating passage reads:

“Plaintiffs will show that they are denied the fundamental right to marry, and that domestic partnerships are an unequal and unconstitutional substitute for the 'expression of emotional support and public commitment' associated only with marriage.

“Proponents therefore have the burden of demonstrating that Prop. 8 is narrowly drawn to serve a compelling government interest.  But they fail to demonstrate even a single legitimate interest that it even rationally serves.  In fact, when asked by this Court to identify any harm to opposite-sex marriage that would result from permitting gay and lesbian individuals to marry, counsel for Proponents tellingly responded, 'I don't know.'” 

“At trial, Plaintiffs will present evidence that convincingly dismantles each of the purported state interests now cobbled together by Proponents, demonstrating that Prop. 8 is an irrational, indefensible, and unconstitutional measure.”


Judge Walker is considering televising the historic trial, which we hope happens.

Not only would it be helpful for journalists covering the event, but the trial would give some much-needed exposure to the cold, hard legal

facts and arguments for and against gay marriage … with religion

separated (pun intended) from the discussion.

We also hope West Hollywood and any other city or town in California will show the televised hearing — if that happens — in public auditoriums across the state. The trial is that important.

Frontiers news editor Karen Ocamb also has coverage of the trial, with reporting about the Olson/Boies witness list.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly