Historic Prop 8 Trial: Closing Arguments!

I want to marry Sandy. I want to have a stable and secure relationship with her that then we can include our children in. And I want the discrimination we are feeling with Proposition 8 to end and for a more positive, joyful part of our lives to begin.

This is how Kristin Perry, on Jan. 11, 2010, the first day of the federal trial challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, explained her involvement in the case. She and her partner Sandra Stier, along with a gay male couple, are the lead plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, and this week they may be one step closer to achieving their hearts’ desires.

Closing arguments are set for Wed., June 16, and even though this part of the trial won’t be televised, you can follow along on the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker site and on FireDogLake, where live-bloggers will be posting updates as events unfold.

You can read the questions Judge Vaughn Walker has asked be addressed by both sides in closing arguments here.

Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV has posted the following schedule for the day’s hearing:

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Plaintiffs (argued by Ted Olson and David Boies)

11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. City and County of San Francisco

11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Governor, Attorney General and county defendants

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Proponents (argued by Charles Cooper)

3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Plaintiffs’ rebuttal

If you missed the 12 days of the trial itself back in January, transcripts are available here. To immerse yourself in the drama of this trial, check out the Prop 8 Trial Reenactments produced in protest to the Supreme Court’s ban on cameras in the courtroom during the trial. For even deeper immersion, you can submit a video reenacting a portion of the trial yourself, or view top submissions at the Courage Campaign’s Equality on Trial site.

I’ve written a couple of pieces that give a sense of what’s at stake in this trial. Here on the Ms. Blog I wrote about what the Prop 8 defenders are trying to hide; for the Huffington Post I wrote on why straight people should be paying close attention to this case (hint: it’s not just about “the gays”).

The New York Times published an op-ed last week on the case, taking a strong stand in favor of marriage equality, and Frank Rich’s column this past weekend, “Two Weddings, A Divorce and ‘Glee'” is a must-read.

There’s no way of knowing how long it will take the judge to reach a ruling in this case, but this Wednesday we’ll be able to follow another stage of history-in-the-making as this groundbreaking civil rights case moves closer to its conclusion. Let’s hope Kristin gets her wish!

Photo by Diana Walker of lead plaintiffs from first day of Prop 8 trial, January 11, 2010; left to right, Paul Katami, Jeff Zarrillo, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier. Courtesy American Foundation for Equal Rights.


Audrey Bilger is the current president of Reed College, and previously served as vice president and dean of Pomona College. She is also a former professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College and faculty director of the Center for Writing and Public Discourse. She also teaches gender studies, and occasionally yoga. Her latest book, which she co-edited with Michele Kort, is Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage (Seal Press, 2012). She is also the author of Laughing Feminism, editor of an edition of Jane Collier’s 1753 satire "An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting," and a frequent contributor to Bitch magazine. Her work has been featured in The Paris Review, Rockrgrl, the Huffington Post and the Women's Media Center.