Contempt order looms in Prop 8 trial

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker issued a warning on Sunday afternoon to Equality California and the ACLU, giving them 48 hours to turn over documents sought by the proponents of Proposition 8. If the groups fail to comply, they will be held in contempt of court and fined $2,000 per day each, according to the order.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker issued a warning on Sunday afternoon to Equality California and the ACLU, giving them 48 hours to turn over documents sought by the proponents of Proposition 8. If the groups fail to comply, they will be held in contempt of court and fined $2,000 per day each, according to the order.

The order is a side issue in the landmark trial to challenge the constitutionality of California’s same-sex marriage ban. But that side issue has turned into a monumental struggle by pro-gay groups who opposed Proposition 8. The groups said they do not believe they should have to turn over hundreds of thousands of emails and other internal documents to the “Yes on 8” coalition that proposed the anti-gay law.

Here’s an irony: Equality California and the ACLU are not a party to the lawsuit that is challenging Proposition 8, which the “Yes on 8” coalition is defending in court. And yet the “Yes on 8” coalition, as part of its defense of the initiative, successfully sought the order requiring the “No on 8” groups to turn over the documents as part of the original trial proceeding in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The plaintiffs in that lawsuit had previously sought and received similar documents from the “Yes on 8” groups.

The two No on 8 groups have argued that they have a first amendment right to protect the privacy of their communications, but Judge Walker said the groups have failed to submit evidence to support that claim. The groups also say it will cost them $20,000 to reproduce the documents for submission. To that, Judge Walker said, in his order on Sunday, that he will fine the groups $2,000 per day each for every day they fail to comply.

Walker has also ordered the groups to court in San Francisco on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

7 thoughts on “Contempt order looms in Prop 8 trial”

  1. The irony of this whole thing is that the Proposition 8 proponents made the exact same arguments when the plaintiffs demanded their documents. And now the shoe is on the other foot and the plaintiffs do this. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  2. Not hypocrites. The Yes on 8 group actively sought to do something. The No on 8 actively sought to prevent something. There is something different than pushing and preventing. The point of the case is to determine whether the Yes on 8 people had animus towards gay people as their motivation to push the case.

    As for the No on 8 people. Well…they aren’t even part of the lawsuit. There is no reason for them to have to turn over private communications. This is simply more stalling tactics on the part of the Yes on 8 council.

  3. James, you missed the point. Equality CA and the ACLU are NOT plaintiffs in the case, yet they are still being required to turn over the documents.

  4. Maybe because it’s all valid? Last time I checked, both YES and NO participated in the campaign, which means both made contributions. Last time I checked, NO was the side that made outright attacks against a specific minority and tried to place all blame on them, so I’m not surprised that their own communications should be in question since they obviously moved to antagonize themselves, in which case, yes, they are being hypocritical. Over the course of this, NO supporters have made so many comments about how YES kept its communications ‘hidden’ and how that MUST be proof of something, and now that the tables are turned, they are complaining how it ‘violates’ their privacy rights. Oh well, I guess those rights must only apply to them then, since obviously other organizations must not have those same rights. Here’s some advice, if you demand something of someone, be prepared to do the same yourself, otherwise, you’re just whining. That is why NO lost in the first place, self-focused thinking that caters only to those who agree with them, not to opening up communications and understanding.

  5. Yes on Prop 8 is NOT anti-gay! (See last line of 2nd paragraph.) They are PRO marriage between a man and a woman. Gays can still be gay. No problem. They’ve been doing it for years and they will for years to come.
    Lisa Keen, please state the case correctly without personal bias. Perhaps that line was just an error. In that case, please be more careful about editing.

  6. Everyone keeps saying that the No on 8 side shouldn’t have to turn over their documents – actually, that’s NOT true. Due to the nature of this case, it’s more like a lawsuit than anything else. When someone sues someone else, does anyone argue “but you shouldn’t be investigated, because you’re the one sueing”? Absolutely not.

    Part of the No on 8 argument is that [LGBT people] have no political power. Which means part of the Yes on 8’s side ability to prove they have political power could be found in the No on 8 documents.

    Establishing animus. If the Yes on 8 side can prove the No on 8 side had animus, while they haven’t, it solidifies their case.

    I’m not saying that these things WILL happen, I’m saying that the arguments the No on 8 side are using have opened them up.

    Now I know a bunch of you are going to disagree with me, but it’s apparent that two judges agree that the documents should be released.

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