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Court won't unseal video of landmark same-sex marriage trial

Federal Appeals Court Holds Hearing On Prop 8

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File: People watch a live telecast of a hearing about Prop 8 at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 6, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

A federal appeals court says it won't unseal video recordings of a landmark trial on the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban.

Siding with the ban's supporters, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Thursday that the public doesn't have the right to see the footage.

The 2010 trial was the first in a federal court to examine if prohibiting gay couples from marrying violates their constitutional rights.

The proceedings were open to the public and former U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker had staff members record them with the caveat that the footage would be used only by him to help him reach a verdict.

A coalition of media organizations and lawyers for the two couples who successfully sued to overturn Proposition 8 in Walker's court had petitioned to have the recordings made public on First Amendment grounds.

The ban's sponsors argued that distributing trial footage could subject their witnesses to harassment.

 

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