Ted Olson and David Boies: The Prop 8 Lawyers In Their Own Words

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Fresh on the heels of the well received HBO documentary “The Case Against 8,” which is a filmed record of the landmark lawsuit that restored marriage equality in California and helped open the marriage floodgates around the country, comes “Redeeming the Dream: The Case For Marriage Equality.”

The just published book has been co-authored by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, the legal team who took the Proposition 8 lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Proposition 8 was the voter approved ban on same sex marriage in California. Passed in 2008, it took away the right of same sex marriage from the state's LGBT couples. The Prop 8 case was one of two marriage equality suits which went before SCOTUS in June 2013. Equality advocates were shocked and overjoyed when they scored a double victory on that historic day.

Ted Olson explained the books title.

"We felt that there was a dream in California that had been taken away," he said. "But the dream was still there. We read a lot of Dr. King during the case." In 1963, Martin Luther King delivered the historic I Have A Dream speech at the March on Washington, which was a turning point for the Civil Rights movement.

Many in the LGBT community were apprehensive about the legal team of Olsen and Boies. Olsen is a conservative, while Boies is a liberal. The pair were legal adversaries during the infamous Bush v. Gore case in which the Supreme Court put a stop to the Florida recount, and resulted in the George W. Bush presidency.

"We felt passionate about our cases during Bush v. Gore," Boies said. "But we are not enemies. I respected his integrity. Lawyers ought not to be enemies when they are on opposite sides. "We've got to work together and find common ground."

Olson, who remains a supporter of former President Bush, addressed his commitment to the Prop 8 case. "Marriage is a conservative value," he said. "To build a family and to raise children in a stable environment, well, what are we thinking to say that this is wrong? I feel passionate about equality. California is such a beacon of diversity, how could they do this? We thought that if we put our firms together people would see that this is a non-partisan issue, and we would win in the court of public opinion."

Boies recalled the Winter of 2004 when former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom defied then state law and allowed Del Martin and Phylis Lyon, a lesbian couple who'd been together since the 1950s, to get married at City Hall.

"It was Newsom who brought me face-to-face with discrimination," Boies said. "I remember the TV images of people coming to San Francisco to get married and seeing the joy in their faces. It was important from that moment on to establish marriage equality. Equality is important. When you deprive rights, it establishes that the government thinks that certain people are second-class. We try, in the book, to explain the stories of our plaintiffs, who are wonderful people."

Those plaintiffs are lesbian couple Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and gay couple Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. Thanks to the courageous vision of their attorneys, they, along with thousands of other LGBT couples, are now legally married. The story of their remarkable journey makes for riveting reading in “Redeeming the Dream.”

"There have since been identical ruling in places where you wouldn't expect to see such rulings, like Texas, Oklahoma and Utah," Boies said proudly.


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