Thursday, May 28, 2009

Prop 8 Opposition Crosses Partisan Lines?

This morning the New York Times has a very interesting article symbolizing the way that the fight for gay marriage is now crossing partisan lines.


SAN FRANCISCO — The David and Ted show is back in business.

Eight and a half years after their epic partisan battle over the fate of the 2000 presidential election, the lawyers David Boies and Theodore B. Olson appeared on the same team on Wednesday as co-counsel in a federal lawsuit that has nothing to do with hanging chads, butterfly ballots or Electoral College votes.

Their mutual goal: overturning Proposition 8, California’s freshly affirmed ban on same-sex marriage. It is a fight that jolted many gay rights advocates — and irritated more than a few — but that Mr. Boies and Mr. Olson said was important enough to, temporarily at least, set aside their political differences.

“Ted and I, as everybody knows, have been on different sides in court on a couple of issues,” said Mr. Boies, who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, the contested 2000 vote count in Florida in which Mr. Olson prevailed for George W. Bush. “But this is not something that is a partisan issue. This is something that is a civil rights issue.”

I grew up around a fair number of Republicans and I understand that party's pre-Bush philosophy. While I think their individualist policies can be a tad heartless at times they hold some appeal for me. What I never got was why so many Republicans got so bent out of shape about what other people decided to do in their sex life, since that opposition seemed at odds with their fierce support of self-determination and a person's right to live their life without interference from the government. Now that the GOP has fallen on hard times I'm overjoyed to see some Republicans are reexamining their hypocrisy.

However, not everyone is so happy by this indication that Republicans are pulling their heads out of their asses. A lot of people who have been fighting the battle for gay marriage a lot longer than these two seem to think they're a couple of ambitious glory hounds trying to argue another major case before the Supreme Court and are on the verge of a colossel blunder that their more experienced comrades have been avoiding. A bit further down in the article you'll read:

Not everyone in the gay rights movement, however, was thrilled by the sudden intervention of the two limelight-grabbing but otherwise untested players in the bruising battle over Proposition 8. Some expressed confusion at the men’s motives and outright annoyance at the possibility that a loss before the Supreme Court could spoil the chances of future lawsuits on behalf of same-sex marriage.

“It’s not something that didn’t occur to us,” Matt Coles, the director of the LGBT project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said of filing a federal lawsuit. “Federal court? Wow. Never thought of that.” (...)

“We think its risky and premature,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal in Los Angeles, adding that a loss at the Supreme Court level could take decades to undo.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal are probably two of the largest players in the fight for marriage equality and their opposition is not a good sign. I admit when I read that I had a paranoid thought -- what if this isn't two celebrity lawyer hogging the limelight. What if it's deliberate sabotage? Are Republicans that smart?

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