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Marriage equality supporters to rally Thursday before Prop 8 appeals hearing

SAN FRANCISCO -- Same-sex couples and their friends and family will hold a “Free the Tapes” and “Motion to Marry” rally on the steps of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals building at 1 pm PT on Thursday, Dec. 8, immediately preceding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s hearing on two key Proposition 8 motions.

The three-judge panel will hear motions on whether videotapes of the Prop 8 trial should be made public and whether the trial court’s exhaustive decision invalidating Prop. 8 should be overturned because the trial judge was gay and in a long-term relationship.

The hearing will begin at 2:30 pm and last about two hours.

“We say ‘Free the tapes!’ What do the opponents of equality have to hide? Every American has the right to see for themselves the truth about Prop. 8 and how it hurts lesbian and gay people and their families,” said Marriage Equality USA’s Ellen Pontac and Shelly Bailes, who have been together for 37 years and are legally married in California.

Rally organizer Billy Bradford of Marriage Equality USA and GetEqual urged a big turnout from supporters.

“We will continue to come together as a community to speak out for fairness and equality until Prop. 8 is overturned and we have achieved full LGBT equality nationwide,” Bradford said.

John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s legal director, said the evidence from the Prop 8 trial should be viewed by the American public.

“Same-sex couples presented overwhelming evidence at trial about the unfairness of Prop. 8 to lesbian and gay Americans. With no evidence to stand on, what do those seeking to uphold the marriage ban do? – impugn the integrity of the judge. We are very hopeful that the Ninth Circuit will reject this cynical tactic,” Lewis said.

Founded in 2000, Marriage Equality USA is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to secure legally-recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation. For more information go to www.marriageequality.org .