But this is no ordinary trial. This is a trial in a case where thousands of ordinary citizens have already faced a wave of hatred for participating in democracy. On Oct. 22, the Heritage Foundation released a report titled "The Price of Prop. 8," which concluded that "supporters of Proposition 8 in California have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, loss of employment, economic hardships, angry protests, violence, at least one death threat, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry." (Read it at www.heritage.org.)
To deliberately and needlessly expose these people to a new wave of publicity and attacks by televising the trial is outrageous.
Full disclosure: As the president of the National Organization for Marriage, which created a ballot initiative committee -- NOM California -- that worked with Protect Marriage, I was intimately involved in putting Prop. 8 on the ballot. So I know dozens of people who have been personally threatened, some of whom still live in fear today when they walk outside their door as a result of an organized effort to distribute personal addresses of donors to Prop. 8. NOM is involved in a separate federal lawsuit to protect donors' constitutional rights in future marriage amendment battles.
At stake in this case is not only the future of marriage in all 50 states, but the future of democracy, the future of fair play, ordinary decency and common sense. Not to mention a little thing like constitutional limits on the power of judges.
After Prop. 8, gay couples continue to enjoy unmolested all the legal civil rights of marriage under California law through civil unions. Who will stand up for the core civil rights of the people of California and the rest of the USA to participate in democracy without fear?
Certainly not Judge Vaughn Walker.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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