More than 50,000 people ask U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker to televise Prop 8 trial

Leading progressive organizations launch signature drive asking federal judge to televise landmark equal rights case; 51,244 sign in first 12 hours as signature push continues to Friday morning deadline

LOS ANGELES, CA – Facing a Friday deadline, the Courage Campaign Institute and CREDO Action launched an unprecedented signature drive Tuesday to ensure that the most important equal rights trial in a generation be accessible to the public. The signature drive — which has gathered more than 50,000 signatures in less than 12 hours — asks U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker to publicly televise the proceedings in the federal case to overturn California’s Proposition 8.

Judge Walker, who will be overseeing the federal court challenge to Prop 8 starting on Monday, January 11, is considering whether or not to open the court room to TV cameras. The plaintiffs in the case, who are challenging the federal constitunality of Prop. 8, support cameras in the court room in the interests of openness and transparency. The defendants oppose the motion.

Late Monday, the court announced that it was seeking public comment on the proposal to televise the trial — and that all comments be submitted to the court by Friday, January 8. Within hours of the announcement, the Courage Campaign Institute teamed up with CREDO Action to launch a letter and asked its members to sign on in support. Within just 12 hours, 51,244 people responded to demand that cameras be allowed in the courtroom. Both organizations plan to continue the signature drive through Friday, hand-delivering the total number of signatures, including comments, to the court.

“It’s vital that this trial be open to the public,” said Rick Jacobs, founder of the 700,000-member Courage Campaign Institute and former chair of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in California. “The outcome will affect millions of people and it’s the American way to open the judicial process to the public. For too long the debate over marriage equality in California has taken place in 30-second sound bites — it’s time for the public to learn about the real, negative impacts the marriage ban has on their families and friends.”

Jacobs also noted the incredible response to the online signature drive, saying, “The response to our call for openness is simply incredible. From the moment Prop 8 passed, our online community has been leading the battle to overturn Prop. 8. Today was an amazing example of their activism in support of marriage equality.”

The total number of signatures will be updated frequently on the following page, until Friday’s 9 a.m. deadline. Click here now to read the letter to Judge Walker and the current number of signatures collected to date:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/TeleviseTheTrial

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The Courage Campaign Institute is part of the Courage Campaign’s online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.

Rick Jacobs is the founder and chair of the Courage Campaign Institute. He chaired Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in California. He is also the co-founder of Brave New Films and a featured contributor to Arianna Huffington’s Huffingtonpost.com. Rick has an extensive background as an international investor and senior executive.