Can opponents of same-sex marriage plausibly claim that they face threats to their lives and property comparable to those faced by civil rights workers in the Deep South in the 1950's and 1960's? Former New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Linda Greenhouse poses that question in commenting on the high court’s refusal to allow cameras in the San Francisco courtroom hearing the challenge to the state’s Proposition 8.
Proposition 8 defenders asserted that their witnesses would face harassment if their testimony was broadcast beyond the courtroom. The Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to block the broadcasting, in a rebuke to Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, who wanted to allow it. Judge Vaughn Walker had planned to provide a live video feed to enable remote viewing elsewhere in his courthouse as well as in courthouses in four other cities. He also raised the additional prospect of later posting on YouTube and the Internet.