Prop 8 Defender Flees Televised Discussion
by Legal Director Jon Davidson
"On Wednesday, October 6, I participated in a public panel discussion of the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger case and the constitutionality of denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Hosted by the renowned public policy organization The Aspen Institute, the program was to include Chuck Cooper (counsel for the Proponents of Prop. 8 in the Perry case), Matt McGill (one of the senior lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case), and Prof. Helen Alvare of George Mason Law School (who has worked in the past for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and has assisted the Holy See). The dialogue was to be recorded and made available online.
"The day before the program was to be held, CSPAN indicated it was interested in televising the discussion. Hearing this, Chuck Cooper refused to participate and withdrew, based on opposition to having his discussions of the case appear in any way that could be seen by judges who might rule upon the case. At this point, Prof. Alvare also objected to a recording of the dialogue even being placed online (although that had been part of the terms of the original invitation) because, she said, prior public debates she had participated in had led to her receiving threatening phone calls and her husband urged her not to do something that might lead to that recurring. As a result, CSPAN was disinvited and the discussion was not put online.
While these events may not seem momentous, they are emblematic of a frightening strategy increasingly used by the opponents to equal rights for gay people."