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Karen Ocamb

Karen Ocamb

Posted: December 4, 2010 11:04 PM

It could all end Monday. All the angst, all the rage and heartbreak - the second class citizenship made official by California voters who stripped same sex couples of their fundamental constitutional right to marry when they passed Prop 8 in 2008. For two hours Monday morning, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Perry v Schwarzenegger over whether District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional should be upheld or overturned. The court will also hear arguments that the proponents of Prop 8 have no legal "standing" to bring an appeal because they are citizens and not government agencies that issue marriage licenses.

There are a number of ways the court could rule - one of which is to uphold Walker's decision by denying the Protect Marriage/Yes on 8 "defendant-interveners" standing. The three-judge panel does not generally issue a decision on the same day, so it may be a couple of weeks before a ruling is announced. It is widely expected that the loser will appeal to the US Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court does not take the case and the ruling stands, limited to California alone, Chad Griffin of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group sponsoring the lawsuit, told reporters Friday that AFER will seek another case to try to achieve marriage equality at the federal level, making use of the mountain of evidence presented in the Perry case.

Unlike the first trial in the district court - you can watch the proceedings in remote viewing areas, including in the historic Council Chambers in LA City Hall downtown, courtesy City Council President Eric Garcetti and the LA GLBT City Employees Association. The doors open at 9:00am. At 9:30am, Abbey Hudson from Gibson Dunn Crutcher, the law firm representing the plaintiffs for the American Foundation for Equal Rights will give an overview of what to expect.

In Hollywood, the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, in conjunction with Lambda Legal, is providing a large screen in the Center's Renberg Theatre. Doors open at 9:30am with the hearing starting at 10:00am. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza is located at 1125 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood, 90038. Jon Davidson, Legal Director of Lambda Legal, will be giving a preview/overview of the trial and what to watch for in the arguments.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has created a special website section devoted to Perry v. Schwarzenegger, including all the briefs that have been filed in the case and a page with a list of public viewing areas in 9th Circuit courthouses: Public Announcement Regarding December 6 Proceeding.

The AFER has an excellent website chock full of information, photos and video regarding their federal challenge to Prop 8 and marriage equality. They also have a "viewing page" with a list of ways to watch the trial - in person, via broadcast and online. AFER has teamed up with Andy Towle to provide live coverage on Towleroad with commentary from attorney and former Clinton Administration advisor Richard Socarides, and bloggers Andy Towle and Corey Johnson.

Broadcasts are available at C-SPAN and The California Channel. ABC News affiliate KGO-TV will stream live on their website and streaming audio can be found on ABC News, KCBS radio, KGO radio, KQED News.

Among those live blogging will be Prop 8 Trial Tracker- which started when the US Supreme Court said no to the district court's request to broadcast outside the courthouse. John Culhane will be blogging at www.365.com. Kate Kendell says that she and the legal team at the National Center for Lesbian Rights - which includes Legal Director Shannon Minter - will be commenting via Facebook and Twitter, with a subsequent "thorough analysis and breakdown of the argument" on NCLRights.org and NCLR's WordPress.com blog.

The court has structured the two hours so that the first hour deals with the standing issue and any other procedural matters that need to be handled. Plaintiffs' attorney David Boies will be arguing the standing issue. In the second hours, the court has allowed 30 minutes for the proponents of Prop 8 to argue why Walker's decision should be overturned, 20 minutes for Perry plaintiffs' attorney Ted Olson to argue why Walker's decision is correct, and 5 minutes for the plaintiff-intervenor, the City and County of San Francisco.

Keen News Service's Lisa Keen, author with attorney Suzanne Goldberg of the book Strangers to the Law: Gay People on Trial has a good "viewers guide" to watching the arguments.