The Emotional Work of Turning Prop 8's Heartbreak into Triumph

This week, let's take a look back at Proposition 8. That's the fight that got me engaged with marriage, back in 2008. After the marriage ban passed, I started making YouTube videos to update people on what was happening with marriage. I'm going to play the audio for you, but if you want to watch the videos, some of which are a bit visual, you can find them in the shownotes for this episode at 

Here's one of the first post-Prop 8 videos I did, from May of 2009. 

Well, I was wrong about it going back to the ballot. At the time, that seemed like the only option, since the convention wisdom was that a court case was too risky. But the day after I put this video out, AFER revealed their lawsuit, and the rest was history. And of course, you can read all about that history -- why it seemed so risky, why AFER decided they could take a chance, and the freakout that happened once the Prop 8 lawsuit was revealed -- in my book, Defining Marriage.

Let's jump ahead a year to July of 2010. I produced a recap of everything that had happened with Prop 8 to get everyone caught all caught up. At this point, we'd heard initial arguments in the Prop 8 case, but there had been no ruling yet.

How about that prediction from Nate Silver! Fifteen years to marriage equality? Turns out it was five.

Next up, a video from 2013, summing up AFER's case before the Supreme Court. I made this video for AFER the week before they presented oral argument, to help folks understand the case. 

I also produced a video showing the behind the scenes work that had gone into the case. We followed the plaintiffs and lawyers and PR people all over Washington, documenting what it was like to finally land at the Supreme Court. This one's pretty visual, so I do recommend checking to watch it if you can.

At that point, it was all up to the justices. And that meant a few tense months of waiting, and waiting, and waiting. While we waited, I put together another video that summed up the entire case, drawing on interviews and media coverage from 2008 to 2013. Here's a sprint through the entire case, from its very first day to the moments before the Supreme Court ruled:

Well I hope I'm not spoiling any surprises by revealing that we won. Here's a roundup of that day of decision, all of the celebrating, all of the rallying, all of the excitement and disbelief and joy.

Turns out we had some more surprises in store. Within a week, marriage had resumed in California, much earlier than anyone expected. It was a huge shock to everyone, and I was able to arrange to have cameras present to document the first weddings. Here's one more video -- you'll first hear some interviews from the day of decision, and then you'll hear footage from a few days later, when we suddenly learned that the couples could marry.

Please do get in touch and let me know your thoughts and questions on Twitter -- I'm @mattbaume. Check out my other podcast, The Sewers of Paris, for revealing personal stories about the entertainment that changed the lives of gay men. And don't forget to hop over to Amazon to get Defining Marriage in print or via download. If you do pick up a copy, it would mean a lot if you could leave an Amazon review with your honest opinion.

Thanks again for listening, watching, and reading!

In Your Arms Kevin MacLeod ( 
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