Prop 8 plaintiff reflects upon trial’s first week

by Roger Brigham
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jan 19, 2010

Sitting through hours of courtroom testimony about clinical, medical, political or legal terminology can certainly prove daunting, but one of those challenging Proposition 8 told EDGE last week he has absolutely no regrets.

"It's been a real range of emotions," Jeff Zarrillo said. "I think that first day you could see the range of emotions. You could see the whole courtroom was moved."

That was the day that Zarrillo and his partner Paul Katami, as well as Sandy Stier and her partner Kris Perry, testified about the problems they have encountered as a result of their inability to marry in California.

"I think the reason for the suit is the same for all four of us," Zarillo told EDGE. "The deep love we have for each other. The thing we want most in the world is to be able to marry each other."

The trial has brought in a Who's Who of LGBT leaders into the crowded courtroom to watch the proceedings--state Sen. Mark Leno to Stuart Milk, the nephew of slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.Katami has not been able to attend portions of the trial.

"We text each other constantly," Zarrillo said. "I got 50 texts from him today."

For Zarrillo, being married would mean being able to have a real reason to celebrate with his family.

"You want to have a reason to celebrate, a special day to celebrate," he said. "We want there to be that one day that everyone in the families can remember, 'Today is Jeff and Paul's anniversary.'"

The trial resumes today, and although the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the trial's broadcast, Prop 8 challengers continue to pick-up editorial support from some surprising sources.

"Some Republicans support gay rights, but prefer progress through legislative action or majority rule at the ballot box, rather than judicial action," Fox News commentator Margaret Hoover, a conservative great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover, recently blogged. "But what if a democratic election imposes mandates that violate a citizen's constitutional freedom? In the event that majority rule insufficiently protects individual liberty, our system of checks and balances puts forth that it is the role of the courts, to guarantee and protect the rights to individual Americans."

Roger Brigham, a freelance writer and communications consultant, is the San Francisco Editor of EDGE. He lives in Oakland with his husband, Eduardo.


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