Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Opposing Lawyers In Bush V. Gore Team Up To Overturn California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Excerpts of Strange Bedfellows In Prop 8 Fight

In choosing sides over the legality of gay marriage, two of the nation's top lawyers are saying, "I do."

Opposing attorneys in the 2000 election fight for Florida - David Boies, who represented Al Gore, and Ted Olson, George Bush's lawyer and later the U.S. Solicitor General - are teaming up to ask a federal court to throw out California's ban on same-sex marriage.

The two filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of two gay men and two gay women, arguing that the marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Olson said he hopes the case will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This is a federal question," he said. "This is about the rights of individuals to be treated equally and not be stigmatized."

And they may go up against Ken Starr, the former prosecutor who almost got President Clinton removed from office over the Monica Lewinsky affair. Starr successfully argued before the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8.

"Gay and lesbian kids are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight brothers and sisters, and four times more likely if they come from an unaccepting environment," Black said. "I tuned in and I was watching the pundits on either side, and I was listening to the pundits who were afraid of equality saying gay marriage hurts their family and children. It's the exact opposite; it's the homophobic thoughts that hurt the citizens."

Gay rights groups are starting work to gather the 700,000 signatures required to place a repeal of Proposition 8 before voters in November 2010.

Both Equality California and the Courage Campaign, a political action group based in Los Angeles, said they had polled their members in recent days and found overwhelming support for going back to voters next year instead of waiting until 2012.

But they may still find an uphill battle: A poll of 600 California voters by CBS Station KPIX said that 56 percent agree with the Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8, although 60 percent agreed with the Court's decision not to nullify the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed last year.

Earlier in the day, police arrested at least 175 protesters after a large crowd blocked a major intersection to protest the ruling.

In New York City, more than a thousand people marched from Sheridan Square to Union Square to rally support for same-sex marriage, reports CBS Station WCBS. New York state lawmakers are poised to make a decision on same-sex marriage legislation some time next month.

"Those who use anti-gay rhetoric in religion are practicing religious bigotry," said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.

"Children need families, people need to love and we need to move forward, not backward," Drew Barrymore said. "What defines a family? We do!"

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