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Media Spotlights Couples’ Compelling Stories in Prop. 8 Case

The federal lawsuit challenging California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples opened yesterday with testimony from the four plaintiffs.

Numerous local and national media outlets covered the case, including, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, the Associated Press, PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and a host of others.  Many of the reports focused closely on the love and commitment of the two couples at the heart of the case.

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Jeffrey J. Zarillo was the first to be called to the stand, The Los Angeles Times reported late yesterday:

Zarrillo, 36, a manager in the entertainment industry, testified tearfully about being denied the right to marry Paul T. Katami, his partner of nearly nine years and a co-plaintiff.

"He is the love of my life," Zarrillo said.

Later, Kristin M. Perry, a 45-year-old child services professional, testified about her relationship with her partner of 10 years, Sandra B. Stier. In an article published on Tuesday, The New York Times recounted Perry’s statements:

“I remember thinking that she was the sparkliest person I’d ever met,” Ms. Perry is quoted as saying in the New York Times, which drew giggles from the packed courtroom. “When she told Ms. Stier of her feelings, she said, ‘she told me she loved me, too.’ Ms. Perry proposed marriage in 2003, although same-sex marriage was illegal then in California and every other state.”

The Associated Press also published a portion of Perry’s testimony late Monday:

“I've been in love with a woman for 10 years, and I don't have access to a word for it," said Kristin Perry... "You chose them over everybody else, and you want to feel that it is going to stick and that you are going to have the protection and support and inclusion that comes from letting people know you feel that way.”

Numerous blogs, advocates and LGBT groups are also keeping a close eye on the case via twitter and on their respective sites.  And, Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights is providing his legal expertise on Pam’s House Blend.  As we reported Monday, The United States Supreme Court put a temporary block on a YouTube broadcast of the federal case. The Supreme Court said the block would allow for “further consideration” about the webcast.  A final decision is expected Wednesday.

GLAAD will continue to keep our attention on mainstream media coverage of Perry v. Schwarzenegger.  Updates can be found on GLAADblog.org