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Closing Arguments

I’m in San Francisco today for the closing arguments of the Prop 8 Trial, where the crowd of spectators is considerably larger than it was during the testimony phase in January, which seems now like a long time ago.

The plaintiffs in the case, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, and Sandy Stier and Kristina Perry, arrived at about 8:30 and gave very brief remarks. Zarrillo said simply that the case is about “equal protection under the law.” They are joined by Chad Griffin, the Los Angeles based political consultant who spearheaded much of the case and organized a group of entertainment industry activists to fund it.

The proponents of Prop 8 did not give statements, but are expected to be present at a series of press avialabilities during breaks in the proceedings.

The big question on everyone’s mind: How much will Judge Vaughn Walker interrupt each attorney as they give their closing statements? During opening arguments, he seemed to surprise each side with his unexpected queries, and broached the idea that if the issue is inequality in the way the state recognizes marriage, why doesn’t the state get out of the business altogether?

Because of the interest in the case, much of the press and public is in the court’s ceremonial courtroom on the 19th floor, which has created some unexpected mixtures of proponents and opponents. Among them are Kate Kendall of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Maggie Gallagher of National Organization for Marriage.

I will be doing updates throughout the day.

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