Monday, August 03, 2009

Conservative Lawyer Takes on Prop 8

I see that Ted Olson, who served in Reagan's Justice Department and as Solicitor General for George W. Bush, and who argued Bush's case in Bush v. Gore, is getting set to challenge Prop 8 in federal court. He has teamed up with his nemesis in Bush v. Gore, David Boies. From the Los Angeles Times:
You and Boies -- you're a version of Hepburn and Tracy in "Adam's Rib."

That's a nice way to put it. I like that. I thought we needed someone who was a well-recognized lawyer but who would provide balance for my perspective. I wanted to convey the message that this was not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, that this is about human rights and human decency and constitutional law. David was my opponent in Bush v. Gore, but he's someone for whom I have great respect and affection. We spend some time together once in a while socially. We've done some biking in Europe together. He didn't hesitate for a second.

Does your argument have more purchase with conservatives because you're the one making it?

I'm hoping that it does. I hope some people will open their eyes to the decency of getting to the point where we allow gay and lesbian individuals to be married and have a happy life.

I expect some of your fan mail has flipped 180 degrees because of this?

I am getting comments from some segments of the society who feel that it's the wrong thing to do and I'm betraying the conservative cause and things that I've stood for in my life. Some of it is quite hostile. But that goes with the territory. On the other hand, I'm hearing from people, including plenty of Republicans, who are very, very grateful. It has been overwhelmingly gratifying to hear from very decent people who are touched by the fact that we're trying to help.

A woman came up to me in our library in our law firm and said, "You and I haven't worked together, but I'm a lesbian. My partner and I have two children." And she burst into tears. I put my arm around her and she put her arms around me. This stands for what we're trying to accomplish here. It's a principle, but it's a principle that deeply touches human beings. If we're successful, we can help the lives of literally millions of people. And what a great service that would be.

This should be interesting.

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