Bil Browning

Pictures from outside the Prop 8 hearing

Filed By Bil Browning | March 05, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: California, California State Supreme Court, gay marriage, Jeff Sheng, marriage equality, photography, Prop 8, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage

Photographer Jeff Sheng has graciously agreed to provide us these shots from outside of the Proposition 8 arguments before the California Supreme Court. Jeff also sent pictures out (with commentary) via his Twitter account.

So how do you think the arguments went? How did we do? Will we pull it off? Consider this your Prop 8 hearing open thread.


More photos after the jump. Clickety any to embiggen.







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Here this is comment of CA listener... Hope I am wrong, but here is the gist I got.
So, since they already have their opionions written, and none of this mattered. I think they will uphold the marriages to November 5. ... and validate Prop 8.

So, how a minority can get rights back that are taken away I have no clue. Stewart was great and should have had all our sides time. JBrown sent substitute, who was not very good. Starr was the only one 'comfortable' in front of the court, but he was not persuasive.

Chief Justice George wants the whole Amendment process in CA changed. Yesterday preferably.

PS. Thanks for the pics here. Almost went but on communte day to be there by 8?? And then I did want to hear it all, as I had heard last years.

PPS. And I found Father Tony's pics of NGLTF Beach Party first..
that helped!

I watched the whole thing and think it's gonna be tough for us to pull this out. Color me concerned.

To overturn Prop 8, we need to keep all 4 justices from the original marriage decision and it seemed pretty clear to me that we're gonna lose Kennard. While it's possible that we could pick up Corrigan (she seemed open to the revision argument, but not sold on it), I think we may also lose Chief Justice George. So definitely 1, maybe 2 down with an outside chance of a pickup - this does not the good odds make.

On the invalidation question I'm cautiously optimistic. Overall, the justices seemed loathe to apply this retroactively without clear and unequivocal evidence that this was the voters' intent. While Ken Starr made an (unfortunately) well constructed argument that it the invalidation of the marriages is crystal clear from the text of Prop 8, several of the justices clearly weren't buying it. And the whole timeline argument - which came first, Prop 8 or the SC decision, or signature collecting or the lower court marriage decision - was so muddled that I can't imagine it changed any minds.

As far as performances go, I thought Ray Marshall, representing the amici, did the best job, followed closely by Terry Stewart. Shannon Minter was also good, especially in his rebuttal, but seemed nervous in his first bit. Mike Maroko couldn't keep his facts or words straight and kept going into crazytown tangents.

And the AG's guy? Hooo-boy. That was a shitshow. Starts his whole argument by saying that the AG believes this wasn't a revision, thereby undercutting our side's entire argument. Then he goes on to present an alternative theory for overturning Prop 8 that he seemed incapable of explaining, much less defending, and which made no sense to anyone gifted with two brain cells on speaking terms. Should have stayed home.

Sadly, Ken Starr also did a good job. He was obviously well versed and at ease with the court. The best/worst part was that he was logically consistent. When asked if his argument meant that a bare majority of Californians could vote to take away rights from other minority groups or eliminate other rights, such as free speech, he said yes. It certainly made him more credible, but I could see that turning into a PR nightmare. "Ken Starr and the Prop 8 folk think you can take away any right from any minority, as long as you can get half of the voters plus one to vote for it." I hope our side pushes how scary that is over the next few days.

So that's the perspective from a non-lawyer with no prior experience of any Supreme Court arguments. Take it for what it's worth (probably not much). But I guess we'll all know in 90 days, won't we?

I tend to agree with you, Sam. I think you've nailed it.

If Prop 8 isn't overturned, maybe gay activists should employ "christian" tactics:

Act all hysterical and warn interracial couples that they'll be on the "christian" chopping block next.

If "christians" are emboldened on the gay marriage issue, don't think they'll stop turning back the clock to where they were using the bible to justify "not mixing races".

As much as I dislike admitting it because I hate the bastard, Starr was the most professional and he has a very confident and strong voice. The Attorney General couldn't have been worse, and Minter was OK, but not great.
Prop 8 will stand as well as the 18,000 marriages (including mine). Those marriages will be challenged in court again under Prop 8.
Get ready for a revolution and blood in the streets.

It doesn't look good.... if (when) we lose, the gloves need to come off.

But for the love of GOD people, don't just have another march in the Castro. It is time for the gays to bring the fight to the places that provide the backbone for the anti-gay industry.


Come to the Central Valley, where Proposition 8 was passed by 60-75%.

Bring the fight to the backyards of the people who are systematically stripping you of your rights.

I'm not well-versed on the legal arguments at a fine level, but Justice Kennard's questioning was pointed, relentless, repetitive, mic-hogging, interruptive, and telling. Given she was one of the fence sitters we needed to topple over on our side, things don't look good. Sam Ritchie's take up there sounds on the money, though I'm more hopeful with George. His eagerness to be done with this degree of initiative-based constitutional tinkering was clear. But his commitment to let the proposition stand was not.

Still, I would be shocked if a majority voted to overturn it. I suppose one must consider it possible, but I am girding my loins and battening down the hatches (and battening down my loins and girding my hatches!).

If the June-Nov marriages stand, it will be creepy to be among the 18,000 in a lifeboat, looking at the wreckage of the Titanic, let me tell you. Cold comfort. Not really much comfort at all.

I took some pictures of the Civic Center scene as well (of some of the same people, even!) and have them in a breezy account on my blog here: "A hastily compiled photo essay of the Prop 8 arguments, outdoor rabble version."

What do we do next. The christians think were trying to make the whole world gay. I still can't believe it when I say it, but it's true. How do we make people not fear us?