Thursday, May 28, 2009

Berkeley Couple, Bush Lawyer Team Up Against Prop. 8

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 28, 2009 at 10:06 AM

A lesbian couple from Berkeley has teamed up with Ted Olson, who was US solicitor general under the Bush administration and was one of George W. Bush's top lawyers in Bush v. Gore, in an attempt to overturn Prop. 8 in the federal courts. Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley also are working with attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore and squared off against Olson in the 2000 election fight. Olson and Boies believe that Prop. 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative upheld by the California Supreme Court on Tuesday, violates the federal constitution's ban on discrimination. As a staunch conservative, Olson's involvement in the case is somewhat surprising, but he said that he has believed for some time that not allowing gays to marry is wrong. Olson and Boies explained their views last night on CNN.

Some gay rights advocates, however, think the challenge by Olson and Boies is a mistake, because they don't think the US Supreme Court is ready to endorse same-sex marriage. On the other hand, Olson and Boies have a ton of experience arguing cases in front of the high court. Moreover, Olson may know something about the Supreme Court that others overlook: Chief Justice John Roberts, a staunch opponent of any form of discrimination, could be convinced to strike down Prop. 8. In a recent New Yorker piece, veteran Supreme Court watcher Jeffrey Toobin paints a revealing look of the conservative Roberts and his anger toward any form of discrimination. Based on that portrait, it's not hard to envision Roberts being on the same page as Olson, who like Roberts, also once served under Ronald Reagan.

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