Those who make careers of raising and banking money by denying equal rights to others -- Maggie Gallagher of National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Frank Schubert -- want to maintain total control over the media on the eve of the most historic civil rights case in at least a generation.
Judge Vaughn Walker, who will on Monday preside over the lawsuit brought respectively by a gay and lesbian couple and argued by Ted Olson and David Boies, has asked for public comment on whether or not the trial should be televised. Predictably, the plaintiffs argue for transparency and openness while those who created the injustice through their thirty second ad campaign of fear, seek to keep the public out.
A bit of history is in order here. Prop. 8 passed on 4 November 2008 by a 52%-48% vote here in California. Since that time, four other states joined Massachusetts to legalize same-sex marriage for a total of five (Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut.) The District of Columbia city council passed a law permitting same-sex marriage, but it has not yet come into force and the Congress, with nothing more important to do than prevent loving couples from marrying, still has the ability to overrule the city council. In November 2009, Maine also passed a referendum that overturned the state's same-sex marriage law, with funding largely via Maggie Gallagher's NOM. Ms. Gallagher is suing in Maine court to keep the source of that private, contrary to Maine's election law.
Ms. Gallagher would be well-advised to read the Constitution and the writings of such radicals as James Madison who wrote in Federalist No. 51 about the need for separation of powers. Neither Madison, nor the US Constitution, ever contemplated the concept of citizens voting to take each other's rights away. In fact, Madison wrote, "It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part." Ms. Gallagher and her crew seem intent on setting Americans against Americans, using every tactic at their disposal to sew fear and discord, thus deeply fearing public scrutiny.
Enter the now-famous lawsuit, in which the legal dream team of Olson and Boies will argue that Prop. 8 violates many constitutional provisions, not the least of which is the Fourteenth Amendment that provides equal protection under the law. While NOM is not a party to this suit, its finger prints are everywhere as is its constant demand for secrecy in our democracy. Ms. Gallagher's staffer, Brian Brown, had this to say about the Reagan-selected and Bush- nominated Federal judge who is overseeing the case: "He has attempted to make this entire process a circus, and he wants to be the ringleader by putting it on television."
The Courage Campaign Institute, together with our partners at CREDO Mobile, yesterday responded to Judge Walker's call for public comment on whether or not the trial should be televised by asking our members to sign a petition to the judge. Within less than twenty four hours, well over 70,000 have signed it. We will deliver those signatures along with the comments to the court in Oakland on Friday, to meet the judge's deadline.
This case will affect millions of people in America. We see only one rational response in a democracy: let the people see the trial. Because individual lives may change as a result of this trial, secrecy has no place in our civil society. We would think that Ms. Gallagher and her colleagues would want the public to side with them. Are they afraid that their cause fails when it is fully understood by the American people?