President George W. Bush’s first Solicitor General, Ted Olson, filed a lawsuit in US district court on May 22 to protest Prop 8, the California law banning same sex marriage.
Joining with his former opponent in Bush v Gore, David Boies, Olson is suing on behalf of two same-sex couples in California, The Advocate reports: Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier of Berkeley, who have been together for nine years and are the parents of four children, and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo of Burbank, who have been together for eight years.
Their argument: the State of California giving same sex couples "the separate-but-unequal institution of domestic partnership," instead of full marriage, violates equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, creating a class of "second-class citizens"
"We believe this is the kind of matter where Americans must come together and recognize the rights of all citizens," Olson told the AP.
"This is a federal question," he said, expressing the desire that the case end up before the US Supreme Court. This is about the rights of individuals to be treated equally and not be stigmatized."
“For a long time I’ve personally felt that we are doing a grave injustice for people throughout this country by denying equality to gay and lesbian individuals,” Olson told The Advocate. “The individuals that we represent and will be representing in this case feel they’re being denied their rights. And they’re entitled to have a court vindicate those rights.”
Olson said that recent US Supreme Court rulings “make it clear that individuals are entitled to be treated equally under the Constitution. I’m reasonably confident that this is the right time for these [injustices] to be vindicated.”
It should be noted, for those not fully aware of Mr. Olson’s resume, that he is a full-throated conservative, a Federalist hero who in 1999 welcomed conferees to "the heart" of the proverbial "vast right-wing conspiracy" he is perhaps the most highly respected conservative lawyer in the land. As Assistant Attorney General, he defended President Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal, served on the board of directors of The American Spectator, and helped Paul Jones’s lawyers prepare for their case.
At Americablog, gay activist John Aravosis writes in response: "Ted Freaking Olson is now better on gay marriage than our president – than most of our party…At what point will President Obama realize that the year is 2009 and not 1993? America has become accustomed, inured, and possibly even bored with all the gay rights victories of the past five years. They just don’t care any more. And I mean that in a good way. Gay marriage is bursting across the land and the American people have shrugged. They just don’t care. So why does our president? Why do he and his advisers seem to be treating gay people and their issues as, at best, an embarrassing inconvenience?"