March 27, 2013 |
The Supreme Court, hearing arguments on the emotionally charged issue of gay marriage for the first time, appeared willing Tuesday to restore marital rights to gays and lesbians in California but uncomfortable with legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. The justices sounded sharply divided as they considered Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage, and wary of going too far, too fast. None of them spoke up for a sweeping ruling that would require every state to change its marriage laws.
March 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - As lawyers debated gay marriage inside the Supreme Court on Wednesday, activists outside delivered speeches, cranked up boom boxes and hoisted hand-made signs. "Kids do best with a mom and dad," one said; "Jesus had two dads, he turned out OK," another declared. Advocates for same-sex marriage turned out in larger numbers than supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to legally married gay couples and was before the court. But the crowd of hundreds was smaller than the raucous gathering for Tuesday's arguments on California's ban on same-sex marriage.
March 26, 2013 |
It's hard to remember an initiative campaign that tore California in two as painfully as Proposition 8 did. The state might as well retire the number 8 when it comes to propositions; it will long be associated only with the 2008 measure that took the right to wed from gay and lesbian couples, on the same ballot that helped elect Barack Obama president. Proposition 8, which shamefully wrote a ban on same-sex marriage into the state Constitution, was a backlash against the defining civil rights struggle of this era: the quest for equal rights for homosexuals.
March 25, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Four years ago, many gay rights advocates shook their heads when super-lawyers Theodore B. Olson and David Boies announced they would challenge California's ban on gay marriages in federal court and take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was too risky, the skeptics said. Voters in state after state were rejecting same-sex marriage, and no federal judge had said such bans were illegal. One liberal legal scholar called the lawsuit a "Hail Mary" pass. But now that Proposition 8's ban on gay marriage is set for a hearing Tuesday before the Supreme Court, the lawyers and activists who started the case think they may be on the verge of a historic victory.
March 23, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Certain law partners no longer call Theodore B. Olson for lunch. Old friends no longer come to dinner at his sprawling house in the woods near the Potomac. One of his best friends died in December, somewhat estranged. All since Olson - the conservative legal hero, crusader against Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, defender of George W. Bush - signed on to fight for same-sex marriage in California, a battle that he will take to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday when he challenges Proposition 8, the state measure that banned gay marriage.
March 1, 2013 |
Supporters of same-sex marriage are both pleased and perplexed by the friend-of-the-court brief the Obama administration has filed with the Supreme Court in the Proposition 8 case. They're pleased because Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argues that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and that the court should examine it with “heightened scrutiny” because (among other reasons) gays and lesbians have suffered discrimination. They're perplexed because, having massed this heavy constitutional artillery, the brief doesn't insist that same-sex couples everywhere in the country have a constitutional right to marry.