A federal appeals court refused Thursday to make public the video of the Proposition 8 same-sex marriage trial, a victory for opponents of gay marriage.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the video from the 2010 federal trial in San Francisco should remain sealed because the trial judge promised the defenders of the proposition that it would be used for internal court purposes only.

“The trial judge on several occasions unequivocally promised that the recording of the trial would be used only in chambers and not publicly broadcast,” the panel said.

The 9th Circuit ruling overturned a lower court decision in favor of making the video public, a position favored by the news media and gay rights groups.

The same panel is weighing the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that ended a brief period in California when same-sex marriage was legal. A decision on that is expected any day.

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-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Gay rights marchers in downtown L.A. in 2010. Credit: L.A. Times