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Opening arguments on Prop 8 to start Monday

January 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Opening arguments will begin Monday in a federal courthouse in San Francisco on whether banning same sex marriage goes against the constitution.The federal court house in Pasadena has been chosen as one of four places nationwide where people can watch a live broadcast of the trial. Those proceedings will eventually be shown on YouTube at a later date.

This is the first time that a federal case is getting such treatment, and that's because this will most likely be one of the most closely watched cases in recent history.

"California has an opportunity to be a headlight instead of a tail-light on the issue of marriage equality," said the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church.

Russell is one of 6,000 faith-based leaders in California hoping Proposition 8 will be overturned with this court case.

"When we pledge allegiance to the flag and we say liberty and justice for all, and what I think tomorrow is going to do is spotlight that we can't say that and put an asterisk after 'all' eliminating gay and lesbian people from that equation," said Russell.

It was an expensive and at times violent issue in California. In November 2008, the ban on gay marriage passed with just a five percent margin.

And supporters are confident the second time around, the law will uphold the vote.

"I am surprised that the will of the people is being challenged again. It makes one wonder about the voting process," said Dr. La Verne Tolbert of the Protect Marriage Coalition.

This time though, a conservative and liberal are joining forces.

David Boies represented the democrats in the infamous Florida recount and Theodore Olson fought for George Bush.

Monday, both will be arguing in support of gay marriage.

With 18,000 gay couples still considered married in California, there is a lot at stake here and across the country.

"We are committed to defending the seven million voters who supported Proposition 8 all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to," said Tolbert.

It's unclear exactly how many people will be let into the Pasadena court house Monday to watch the live proceedings or when that video will be distributed on YouTube. Gay marriage opponents have filed an appeal to ban all the cameras, and if that appeal is not granted, opening arguments are scheduled to begin in San Francisco at 8:30 a.m.