By a 2-1 vote, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 California ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman, is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The architects of the amendment have pledged to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is likely to hear it next year.
We recently spoke with Ted Olson of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, who, along with David Boies of Boies Schiller & Flexner, has been leading the effort to repeal the law. Here’s what he told us about his work on the campaign.
“I grew up in public schools in California, near San Francisco, and I went to college and law school in California, and it is amazing to me that California is a place where Proposition 8 could have passed because people there have always been tolerant of people of different religions, races and backgrounds,” Olson says. “This case represents millions of people. If we can make this change here to recognize the decency and equality and dignity of gay and lesbian people in California, we can change it for the people of America, and we can have an impact on the rest of the world. Did you know there are people in certain countries in Africa where it’s a death penalty to be gay? In certain countries in the Middle East you can be mutilated because of it. It is a terrible, terrible thing that exists in this world, and if we can help to bring about a change, think of all the people whose lives will be affected? David Boies and I feel strongly that this is one of the most important things, if not the most important thing, we’ve ever done in our lives.”
Look for more from Olson in an upcoming issue of Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers magazine.