Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ted Olsen's about face on gay marriage

Abolishing slavery. Voting rights for women. The civil rights movement. Equal rights for women. All of these battles necessarily involved a broad coalition of activists, of all races and social strata -- and often made for strange bedfellows who would on most other issues be outright enemies.

The controversial Proposition 8 in California which banned gay marriage (although not civil unions) is being challenged in a federal court in San Francisco. And unbelievably, the counsel for the petitioners demanding the state constitutional amendment be declared illegal under the federal constitution is none other than erstwhile conservative hero -- Theodore Olson?

I made mention of this a few weeks back (when I wrote about the California Supreme Court's confusing decision to uphold Prop 8) but it looks like this guy's conversion really is genuine and I applaud him for fighting for something so fundamental to American life -- equal protection of the laws, guaranteed by Amendment XIV, Section 1 since its ratification in 1867.

The NYT story describes how the gay rights movement managed to win a most unlikely ally and how Olson has managed to alienate so many of his friends, not the least of which is Robert Bork.

All I can say is, good for Olson. Much as I oppose gay marriage, it is a matter of equal rights and it's a no-brainer: The US Supreme Court has no choice but to ultimately declare that opposite sex relationships are not the only legitimate partnerships. And the odds may be in Olson's favour: As Solicitor General, he argued 55 cases before SCOTUS (he has one white quill for each) and won 44 of them. An .800 batting average isn't too bad in the legal world.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

No comments: