David Boies: 'Many Areas of Social Discrimination That We Need to Address'

Bush v. Gore, Prop 8 lawyer reminds students of modern social issues during NYU commencement.
8:13 | 05/22/13

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Transcript for David Boies: 'Many Areas of Social Discrimination That We Need to Address'
Ladies and gentlemen I'm pleased to introduce David Boies who respond on behalf of the honorary degree recipients David. Thank you president sexton. Thank you Marty Lipton in the -- On behalf of myself from all of the recipients. For this honor. And in particular thank you to the class of -- thirteen and all your families and friends for letting us share this day your day. With you. There's a little intimidating. To be here. In Yankee Stadium on second base. It's a little intimidated me. To speak to this crowd. I can take some comfort from the fact. -- probably ten years from now none -- you'll remember what I said. A friend of mine. With at the Naval Academy when Jack Kennedy. I spoke at the commencement. And he told me when he heard that I was delivering the commencement speech. Don't worry is that. I don't remember a single thing president Kennedy said. And if I don't remember what Jack Kennedy -- then I can remember what you said. Another reason that people tend not to remember -- commencement speakers saying. Is because this is a day that you don't have your mind. And what other people are saying to you. Because you quite justifiably have your mind. On what -- just accomplished. In the last. Reason people tend not to remember what we say. As we tend to talk on a day like this and platitudes. Keep learning and change the world don't be afraid to fail. The problem. Is that it's too easy. To dismiss platitudes. A good working definition of a platitudes. Is something that is so true and is repeated so often. That people began to ignore it. One of the platitudes. Of our country. Is that all people -- -- people. One of the platitudes. Of our country. Is that every person. Has an inalienable right. To life. Liberty. And the pursuit of happiness. We are engaged. Today. In a civil rights struggle. To try to end the last official bastion. -- discrimination in this country. Where the government discriminates. Against its own citizens. There are many areas. Of social discrimination. That we needed to address. We made enormous progress. Since I was born. In a time. When blacks and whites couldn't go to school together or drink from the same water fountain. Or eat at the same diner. Where women had few rights. Could be legally raped by their husbands. Couldn't control their own property. Where gays and lesbians. Were hunted down. Subject. To -- horrific violence. Where when I was a senior in high school. President Dwight David Eisenhower. Issued an executive order. That prohibited the federal government from employing. Any gay or lesbian citizens. In any capacity. Could not be clerk typist he could not be any mail carrier. -- could not be a government lawyer. We've come a long way since then. But we have a long way -- ago. Sometime in June the Supreme Court. Is -- -- hand down a decision. Not only and Edith Windsor -- case. And what a hero as she heads. But also. In the case. That we brought in California. To invalidate. Proposition eight. That band. Gay and lesbian marriage. The California. Supreme Court had ruled. That everyone. In California. Had a constitutional right. And the California constitution. To marry the person that they live. Proposition eight. Overturned. That aspect of the constitution in California. And we then -- any lawsuit in federal court. To hold that proposition eight. Violated the federal. Constitution protection. And equal protection. And due process. If you think about it. Prohibiting. People from getting married because. There sexual orientation. Is no different than the prohibition at the state of Virginia had in 1967. That prohibited. People of different races. For marriage. The Supreme Court in lobbying against Virginia. Struck that discriminatory statue down. We are asking the United States Supreme Court. In Hollingsworth be preparing. To strike down California's. Discriminatory gone. I can't tell you today. -- the Supreme Court -- groin. To rule in June. But what I can tell you. Is that if we don't win that in Perrier. We will continue the fight until we do when it. No -- civil rights struggle. Proceeds in a straight line. There are reverses. And there have been many -- -- in this civil rights struggle already. But fundamentally. We are right. Because. As everyone knows. At the platitudes stage. Everyone is entitled to equal protection. And we have as a society. Only succeed. And ignoring that. Because we have been able to characterize. People. Women. African Americans. People of different religions and people of different sexual orientation. As different. They are not. We know what. They know -- And some day the United States Supreme Court will recognize -- hopefully in June but if not June there will come a day. So congratulations. And join us. In trying to make. Platitudes real thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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