|Written by||Dustin Lance Black|
|Date premiered||September 19, 2011 (Broadway)
March 3, 2012 (worldwide broadcast)
|Place premiered||Eugene O'Neill Theatre
Ebell of Los Angeles broadcast live on YouTube
|Subject||Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial reenactment using original court transcripts and first-hand interviews of the people involved|
8 (or 8 the Play) is an American play that portrays the closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal trial that led to the overturn of Proposition 8—an amendment eliminating rights of same-sex couples to marry in California. It was created by Dustin Lance Black in light of the court's denial of a motion to release a video recording of the trial and to give the public a true account of what transpired in the courtroom.
The play is written in the style of verbatim theatre reenactment, using transcripts from the trial, journalist records, and media interviews from the plaintiffs, defendants and proponents involved. 8 first premiered on September 19, 2011 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City, and later broadcast worldwide from the Ebell of Los Angeles on March 3, 2012.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, sponsors of the play, have licensed the play for readings nationwide on college campuses and in community theaters free of charge, as an educational tool.
In May 2009, AFER filed a lawsuit, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of plaintiffs, two same-sex couples, to challenge a voter-approved constitutional amendment, known as Proposition 8, that eliminated same-sex couples' right to marry in the state. The same-sex couples were represented by David Boies and former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, two high profile attorneys who opposed each other in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Bush v. Gore.
During the trial, the plaintiffs presented expert witnesses of which nine the court found "were amply qualified to offer opinion testimony on the subjects identified" and "offered credible opinion testimony on the subjects identified." The defense presented only two expert witnesses who were willing to testify under oath. David Blankenhorn, who had been allowed to testify for the defense, was ultimately judged as lacking "the qualifications to offer opinion testimony". During Blankenhorn's cross-examination, he identified 23 benefits of adopting same-sex marriage, published on page 203 of his book "The Future of Marriage", stating only 5 with which he disagreed. Some of the benefits with which he did agree included that it would: improve the happiness and well-being of gays, lesbians, their children and family members; increase the proportion of gays and lesbians in stable, committed relationships; lead to higher living standards for same-sex couples; lead to fewer children growing up in state institutions and more growing up in loving adoptive and foster families; decrease the amount of anti-gay prejudice and hate crimes; and decrease the number of those warily viewed as "other" in society, further reaching the American idea.
Kenneth P. Miller admitted that he lacked awareness of official anti-gay discrimination and harassment, anti-discrimination statutes, and scholarly literature on gay issues. Due to his lack of focus on gay and lesbian issues in his research; his lack of basis for comparison; his lack of familiarity with relevant research; his inability to confirm he had "personally identified the vast majority of the sources that he cited in his expert report"; and his admission that gays and lesbians face discrimination and "current discrimination is relevant to a group's political power", the court ruled that his testimony was "entitled to little weight...only to the extent...amply supported by reliable evidence." Opponents of same-sex marriage were unable to provide credible evidence proving their claim that same-sex marriage would harm society or the institution of marriage. Instead, the defense witnesses consequently testified favorably for the plaintiffs' case.
On August 4, 2010, Chief District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that there was no legitimate reason to deny same-sex couples the fundamental right of marriage.
- Court Clerk
- Kris Perry
- Christine Lahti (Ebell of Los Angeles)
- Christine Lahti (Broadway)
- Sandy Stier
- Spencer Perry – son of Plaintiff
- Bridger Zadina (Ebell of Los Angeles)
- Jay Armstrong Johnson (Broadway)
- Elliot Perry – son of Plaintiff
- Jansen Panettiere (Ebell of Los Angeles)
- Ben Rosenfeld (Broadway)
- Jeff Zarrillo
- Matt Bomer (Ebell of Los Angeles)
- Matt Bomer (Broadway)
- Paul Katami
Witnesses for Plaintiffs
- Yeardley Smith (Ebell of Los Angeles)
- Yeardley Smith (Broadway)
- Rory O’Malley (Ebell of Los Angeles)
- K. Todd Freeman (Broadway)
- Dr. Gary Segura – (vulnerability of gays and lesbians in the nation's political process)
Witnesses for Defense
- David Blankenhorn – (marriage is a socially-approved, sexual relationship between man and woman)
- William Tam – (same-sex marriage leads to polygamy, pedophilia, and incest)
- Broadcast Journalist
- Campbell Brown (Ebell of Los Angeles)
- Campbell Brown (Broadway)
- Ng, David (March 4, 2012). "George Clooney, Brad Pitt lead all-star Prop. 8 play reading". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Martin Sheen headline West Coast premiere of marriage-rights play". Associated Press. March 5, 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "8: Stage A Reading". 8theplay.com. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- Riel, Elizabeth; Hersh, Brandon (February 15, 2012). "Complete All-Star Cast for West Coast Premiere of Dustin Lance Black’s "8" Announced" (Press release). American Foundation for Equal Rights. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Kennedy, Mark (January 17, 2012). "'8,' Dustin Lance Black Gay Marriage Play, Goes National During 2012". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- Hernandez, Greg. "Dustin Lance Black's Prop. 8 play set for U.S. colleges: At least 40 schools will put on productions of 8 this year". gaystarnews.com. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- Long Beach, CA: "'8' The Play Brings Marriage Equality To Long Beach". lbpost.com. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- Sacramento, CA: "Dustin Lance Black's "8" Comes to Sacramento". The Sacramento Press. sacramentopress.com. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- Sacramento, CA: Becker, John M. "Prop 8 Play Comes to Northern California". Truth Wins Out. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- McKinley, Jesse (May 27, 2009). "Bush v. Gore Foes Join to Fight Gay Marriage Ban". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- "Complaint, Perry v. Schwarzenegger" (PDF). American Foundation for Equal Rights. May 22, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- Brown, Willie (May 31, 2009). "Bush–Gore legal pair push gay marriage suit". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
- Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F.Supp.2d 921, 940 (N.D. California 2010).
- "Perry Trial Transcript Day 12: Blankenhorn testimony regarding 23 benefits of same-sex marriage begin on pg.12 marked 2846". American Foundation for Equal Rights. afer.org. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
- "David Boies cross-examining Kenneth Miller, Jan. 25 2010". YouTube. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Hutchinson, Bill (August 16, 2010). "Gay marriage put on hold indefinitely in San Francisco, court rules, after judge overturned Prop 8". Daily News (New York). Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- "The Characters". American Foundation for Equal Rights. afer.org. Retrieved March 19, 2012.