Day Two of the Same-Sex Marriage Trial in San Francisco

January 12, 2010 9:07:11 AM PST
Day two of a landmark court hearing in San Francisco on California's Prop-8 ban on same-sex marriages. As the federal court listens to arguments for and against it, the court of public opinion is also weighing in.

The poll conducted by SurveyUSA asked if same-sex couples should receive the same legal benefits as couples consisting of a man and a woman. 61-percent say yes, they should; 36-percent say no.

But when asked if the state's ban on same-sex marriage should remain law in California; 46-percent say it should, 42-percent say it should be overturned, 11-percent weren't sure.


Opening day of testimony featured the testimonies of the two gay couples challenging Proposition 8 who both said despite how the public voted; the same-sex marriage ban is wrong and constitutionally illegal.

Opponents and supporters of the Prop 8 ban on same sex marriage demonstrated outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco. Including one couples suing to overturn the ban, Jeff Zarrillo and his partner Paul Katami from Southern California.

"We are all Americans who simply want to get married just like everyone else. We believe in our constitution and that the courts will lead the way to equality like they have so many times in the past," said Plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo.

Two hours before court began, at the request of same-sex marriage opponents, the Supreme Court blocked video of the proceedings being posted on YouTube. The justices want more time to study the issue.

"We are very concerned about our witnesses and the safety of their families. And we are concerned to televise this trial is going to put people at risk," said Prop. 8 supporter Andy Pugno.

"They'll be seen all over television except under oath. They are cowardly and I'm sorry the Supreme Court made the decision and we are not seeing it," said same-sex marriage supporter Robin Tyler.

Diane Tyler and Diane Olson were the first couple to sue for marriage equality in 2004 and the first couple to marry in L.A. County four years later.

Proposition Eight, which bans same-sex marriage, passed with 52-percent of the vote. The judge wanted to know how the ban could be discriminatory since California already allows domestic partnerships; something that opponents of same sex marriage also point out.

"In California there is a domestic partnership that gives them similar rights to married couples but marriage is an institution designed for children to protect children," said Lavern Tolbert.

"When they say its equality a domestic partnership is separate but equal that's like saying to African Americans you have two water fountains it's the identical water be happy you are drinking our water just not of our fountain. Separate is never equal," said Robin Tyler.

The trial is expected to last for several weeks. Many experts predict the California case could eventually force the Supreme Court to determine if states have the right under the Federal Constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.