NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The drama continues in the battle to unseal the videotapes of the California gay marriage trial.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday said it would stay a September trial-court ruling that allowed the videotapes to be unsealed. The court also said it would expedite an appeal on the matter.
Videotapes of the trial, about the constitutionality of California's ban of same-sex marriage, had been kept under seal in federal court in San Francisco.
Before proceedings began in January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they could not be broadcast publicly. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who oversaw the trial, kept a videotape to help him decide the issues. He struck down the ban, known as Proposition 8, as unconstitutional.
Walker retired from the bench earlier this year and at a presentation to law school students in Arizona in February played a brief segment of trial testimony. That broadcast triggered opponents of gay marriage to ask Walker to return the recordings, and supporters to ask that the tapes be unsealed.
In September, U.S. District Judge James Ware sided with the proponents of gay marriage, ruling that there was "no compelling" reason to keep the tapes of the trial under seal.
Opponents appealed that ruling to the Ninth Circuit, which is also hearing the underlying case about Proposition 8.
The Ninth Circuit on Monday said it would hear oral arguments on the matter during the week of December 5.
Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer representing proponents of gay marriage, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Andrew Pugno, general counsel of ProtectMarriage.com, didn't respond to an email seeking comment.
The appellate case is Perry v. Brown, No. 11-17255
For Perry et al: Theodore Olson and Theodore Boutrous of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; David Boies and Jeremy Goldman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner.
For the gay marriage opponents: Charles Cooper, David Thompson, Howard Nielson, Nicole Moss and Peter Patterson of Cooper and Kirk; Andrew Pugno of the Law Offices of Andrew Pugno; Brian Raum and James Campbell of the Alliance Defense Fund.
(Reporting by Carlyn Kolker)