Proposition 8 Foes Make Odd Couple David Boies and Theodore Olson might be one of those couples that make outsiders do a double-take. The two top attorneys were on opposite sides in the Bush vs. Gore case, which decided the 2000 presidential election. Now they've joined forces to challenge the validity of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure passed by California voters that prohibits same-sex marriages in the state.
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Proposition 8 Foes Make Odd Couple

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Proposition 8 Foes Make Odd Couple

Law

Proposition 8 Foes Make Odd Couple

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D: just don't see that. The two top attorneys were on opposite sides in the Bush v. Gore case, which decided the 2000 presidential election. Mr. Olson, of course, is a former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush. Mr. Boies has represented not only Al Gore, but Napster, the New York Yankees, and Michael Moore. Mr. Boies and Mr. Olson have joined forces to challenge the validity of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure passed by California voters that prohibits same-sex marriages in the state. David Boies joins us from our studios in New York. Mr. Boies, thanks so much for being with us.

: Pleasure to be here.

: And Ted Olson joins us from Paris. Mr. Olson, thank you very much for being with us.

: It's my pleasure as well.

: First, if I could ask each of you in turn, how did discover you agreed on this and that it was important to you?

: Well, maybe I'll start. I was first contacted about this case, the potential of representing individuals in California in connection with a case such as this last fall. Before we decided to go forward I thought that it was important that we present a legal team that represented in some sense the entire political spectrum in the United States so that people would not think that it was a Republican issue or a Democrat issue or a conservative or liberal issue, but an issue involving human beings and human rights and the way we treat people in America. And I thought that David, who is a very, very good friend, and as fine a lawyer as there is on the planet, is someone who might be willing to participate with me in representing these individuals.

: Mr. Boies, let me turn to you with I guess the nub question. It's a referendum and it passed. Don't the voters of California have the right to make this determination?

: If you were to leave our constitutional rights simply to a vote, you wouldn't need a Constitution. The whole point of having a Constitution is to guarantee that there are certain basic rights that no legislature and no vote, no referendum, can take away. That's why the United States Supreme Court held, for example, 42 years ago that a Virginia law that had been democratically passed that forbid African-Americans and whites from marrying each other was unconstitutional because it violated the fundamental right of every human being to marry the person they love.

: Do you disagree with the vice president on that?

: Vice President Cheney is not a lawyer. I don't think he was speaking in that capacity. And I don't think he was asked nor did he address the constitutional question. The point that David Boies just made is that we have written into our Constitution certain fundamental rights. Those things are not decided by states and they're not decided by a plebiscite.

: As I don't have to probably tell both of you gentlemen, there're some long-time gay rights advocates who are concerned about your legal strategy.

: Yes, I think that a lot of people believe that the right way to do it is to go state by state, and certainly we've made a lot of progress in that. On the other hand, that didn't work in California. In California you've got 18,000 couples who were allowed to marry, gay and lesbian couples, and those marriages are still valid, the California courts say. And yet every other gay and lesbian couple cannot get married. That's a violation of equal protection and it's one where going state by state has not solved.

: Mr. Olson, we're living in still very politically polarized times. Do you think there is an argument, constitutionally and morally, in behalf of gay marriage on what's often considered to be your side of the political spectrum?

: Oh, I do. I think so, and I think that attitudes are changing very, very rapidly. Marriage is a conservative value. Of course it's a liberal value too. I'm not taking sides when I say that. But for people who love one another and want to be in a stable, committed relationship, that's a good thing for the community. That's a good thing for the body politic. It's good for the economy. I think more and more people who are conservative are recognizing there are gay people, there always will be gay people, and we want them to participate equally in the rights that we have. That is good for all of us.

: Gentlemen, thank you both very much for being with us.

: Thank you.

: Thank you, Scott.

: David Boies from New York, Ted Olson speaking from Paris. They are challenging Proposition 8 in court, the ballot measure that was passed last year that prohibits same-sex marriage in California.

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