Plaintiff Seeks to Unseal Video of Historic California ‘Prop 8’ Marriage Equality Trial

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is backing efforts by Prop 8 plaintiff Kris Perry to release the full record of the groundbreaking case, including videotapes, which have remained under court seal. Prop 8 was the 2008 amendment to the California Constitution that stripped the state of marriage equality and was ultimately overturned by the United States Supreme Court in the case Perry v. Brown.

“The lives of millions of Americans have been changed by the historic fight to secure marriage equality nationwide. The effort to keep the Proposition 8 trial proceedings hidden from the public was wrong then, and it is wrong now,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The stories of our plaintiffs — Kris & Sandy and Paul & Jeff — are a crucial part of the historic record and our nation’s civil rights history. So are the claims made by those who have fought at every turn to deny loving couples their most basic fundamental rights.”

“Discrimination was put on trial and discrimination lost,” Griffin said. “The proponents of Proposition 8 made their arguments in a court of law. Why would they oppose making the video of their arguments public? What do they have to hide? The Human Rights Campaign believes it is crucial that these tapes be released to the public.”

On May 22, 2009, two same-sex couples — Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo — filed suit against the State of California in federal court, arguing that California’s Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution by denying them a fundamental right and depriving them of equal protection of the laws.

The couples were represented by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies and supported by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), an organization co-founded by HRC President Chad Griffin.