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Preview: Courtroom Testimony of Prop 8 Hearing

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 11, 2010 12:05 PM

The Prop 8 hearing for the case known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger is expected to have numerous experts give courtroom testimony on things such as the nature of homosexuality and the history of marriage. This marks the first time a trial for gay marriage rights will have such courtroom testimony.

The move to actually involve testimony has convinced both sides that it will make their case more compelling. Los Angeles Times quotes Proposition 8 campaign attorney Andy Pugno as saying, "Actually putting witnesses on the stand has never been done before in any lawsuit claiming a right to same-sex marriage. So this is a very out-of-the-ordinary approach."

It is this out of the ordinary approach that has not only Prop 8 supporters revved up, but also Prop 8 challengers. Prop 8 challengers view the testimony as a way to record the challenges that gay Americans face in their fight for civil rights. David Boies, one of the lawyers challenging Prop 8, told the Los Angeles Times: "This is the first time that you will have this kind of record being made on the social, religious and legal implications of same-sex marriage."

It will be interesting to see how the Prop 8 hearing develops. The case has already had its fair share of controversy because the named defendants of the case do not want to defend themselves and because it has even divided the gay rights activists (some of whom have said that this case comes too soon). We wrote about their concerns in Law and Daily Life here.

The case has already caught the eye of the Supreme Court which has blocked all transmissions of the Prop 8 hearing until they decide on whether the broadcast of the trial should be permitted. We wrote about the cameras in the courtroom issue with Prop 8 here.

Some experts are excited to see what this case will hold for the future of contitutional rights. NPR quotes Jennifer Pizer, marriage director for Lamda Legal, as saying, "Anytime there's litigation about what the full Constitution requires, there can be great opportunities for forward progress. This case certainly is exciting and promising, and it's way too early to guess what the outcome will be." For more information about the Prop 8 hearings, please visit our Related Resources.

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