The judge in the U.S. district court challenge of California's anti-same-sex-marriage law said Thursday the trial is being taped, and he denied the same-sex-marriage opponents' request to stop the video recording.

Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, however, said the recordings were for his own review and could not be “used for public broadcasting or televising,” which means we'll likely never see them, unless they get released 34 years later, like so many “Nixon tapes.”

The existence of unobtainable videotape of a public trial in a public institution about very public policy adds a bizarre twist to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Wednesday that video of the trial could not be streamed online via YouTube.

Same-sex-marriage opponents argued that images of its witnesses could draw angry and threatening public responses that could then also threaten their freedom and discourage them from testifying. (Indeed a few witnesses had dropped out after learning that the court would allow such streaming — before idea was quashed by the Supreme Court).

So, these witnesses don't have the courage of their conviction to argue their case before the world in living color, and the rest of us have to pay for it? We have to allow a safe, only quasi-public scenario in order for them to grace us with beliefs that severely limit a major portion of our population? For them to do so for all the world to see would be an imposition to them that outweighs the public's right to know about such an uber-public event? Really!?

Can you imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. or Cesar Chavez went into near-exile during their brave and pioneering days as civil-rights leaders because, well, to take their cases public could bring them harm? If that were the case, the outcome of civil rights could have been much different. Our guess is that it's the kind of difference same-sex-marriage opponents are counting on.

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