Supreme Court Showdown

With Prop. 8 and DOMA heading for SCOTUS, historic hope mingles with quieter caution

By Justin Snow
Published on December 11, 2012, 11:16am | Comments

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A PERFECT VEHICLE

Attorneys for plaintiffs opposing Proposition 8, including lead attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, had asked the Supreme Court not to take up the case on the grounds that each day gay Californians' right to marry is denied ''is a day that can never be returned to them — a wrong that can never be remedied.''

Had the court announced it would not hear Hollingsworth v. Perry, then the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against Proposition 8 would stand and same-sex marriages could have resumed in California.

In a conference call with reporters after the Supreme Court's Dec. 7 announcement, Olson and Boies expressed excitement, despite originally arguing that the court should not take up the case.

"We felt all along that this case was a perfect vehicle to decide the fundamental rights of all Americans with respect to the right to marry," said Olson, noting that their arguments against taking up the case were based on their desire to see same-sex couples in California be allowed to marry right away.

The implications of these two decisions will be monumental. Marriage equality has become a rallying cry for the broader LGBT-rights movement in recent years and never before has the end-goal been closer.

''We are now literally within months of getting a final resolution of this case that began three-and-a-half years ago,'' Boies said, adding that he and Olson are hopeful the justices will address the fundamental issue of whether it is unconstitutional to discriminate against same-sex couples' right to marry.

"And if they decide that — as we're confident they will if they reach that issue — our way, that would mean there would be a fundamental right to marry in every state in the country, because obviously the federal Constitution applies to every state in the country."