U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker is now seeking public comments about whether or not to televise the Proposition 8 federal trial in San Francisco.

Anyone from any state in the country can write to the court, including both supporters and opponents of California's same sex marriage ban.

Walker has set a Friday deadline for the comments to reach him, which will certainly influence his decision. The trial, which will examine the constitutionality of Proposition 8, starts on Monday, January 11.

Anti-gay marriage forces from across the country will undoubtedly send a barrage of letters and emails to the judge — they oppose a televised trial that can be watched by a nationwide audience.

But Courage Campaign, a Los Angeles-based, grassroots group that supports gay marriage, has recently set up an easy-to-use petition on its Web site to demand TV cameras in Walker's courtroom.

Transparency rather than secrecy, after all, has been the cornerstone path to empowering gays and lesbians and winning over straight America's hearts and minds.

Whether you live in West Hollywood, California, or Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania, within a matter of seconds, you can sign the petition, add your own personal

comments, and send it to Judge Walker.

With the way legal strategies are so far playing out, the Proposition 8 trial promises to not only explore the validity of gay marriage but homosexuality itself.

A televised court hearing diving into these issues could be a boon for gays and lesbians across the country — and it's exactly the kind of thing that anti-gay forces want to squash.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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