June 26th, 2013
04:18 PM ET
10 months ago

Boies promises national push for same-sex marriage

Washington (CNN) - In the wake of Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling effectively allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry in California, one of the key attorneys who led the legal fight against the state's ban on same-sex marriage told CNN it will open the door to push same-sex marriages in other states.

"I think no court can now uphold discriminatory laws that prohibit gay and lesbian citizens from marrying. I think that all of those laws are going to be held unconstitutional, justifying the principle that the Supreme Court articulated today," David Boies told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Boies told CNN proponents of same-sex marriage now have a major goal. "In five years, our goal is to have marriage equality throughout the country. I think that is an achievable goal."

Boies and his co-counsel Ted Olson, who have been dubbed the legal "odd couple" because of their different political views, became an unlikely duo four years ago joining together to mount a major legal fight against California's Proposition 8. Olson was a prominent conservative lawyer who had served in the George W. Bush Justice Department while Boies was a leading Democratic lawyer. They had faced off during the Bush v. Gore 2000 election recount. Their teaming up on this issue garnered a lot of headlines and helped bring the effort a lot of publicity and money.

"We are going to make sure that the promise that the Supreme Court made today that all American citizens deserve marriage equality is fulfilled," Boies told CNN. He would not provide specific details but said "we'll be talking to state legislatures, trying to convince them they are not to waste a court case, that they are to adopt marriage equality now" and saying advocates will work state by state not only in state legislatures but through voter referendums and through the courts.

While some conservative legal experts vow to continue fighting in California, Boies said he did not believe those efforts will go anywhere. Asked about the possibility of another legal challenge in California, Boies said "Zero chance. No, that is over. Proposition 8 is dead, and it's not coming back."

One disappointment for Boies on Wednesday was that his legal partner, Olson, was not able to hear the Supreme Court announce its decision in person. He was arguing an appeals court case in Philadelphia. Olson later flew to California to join up with Boies and the two gay and lesbian couples who brought the lawsuit at a victory celebration Wednesday evening.

"My only regret…is that Ted can't be here. I mean, we've been joined at the hip for the last four years. And it could not have been a better experience. I could not have had had a better colleague and partner," Boies told CNN.

Boies and Olson were working with the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which sponsored the legal fight on Proposition 8 and bankrolled the effort. Chad Griffin, a leading national rights leader, a co-founder of AFER and the person who helped bring Olson to the case, told a conference call Wednesday the group will now use the Supreme Court decision to push same-sex marriage in the 38 states where it is not legal.

"We commit to fight like we have never fought before…this movement for equality will advance on all fronts," Griffin vowed. "It will prevail." AFER officials would not discuss specifics of their next steps to push same-sex marriage but said they are certain there will be additional litigation, and they will be engaged.

Late Wednesday night, Olson joined Boies for an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan.

“We are talking about people who love one another,” Olson said, as he and Boies stood with a celebratory crowd in West Hollywood. “If everybody in America can stand where David and I are standing now and looking at the people and the happiness in their faces and eyes that they can now be treated equally with the rest of their citizens in California, this will spread like wildfire all over the United States. Today was an unequivocal victory for gay and lesbian individuals and Americans who strive for dignity. We are so happy this came out the way it did.”


Filed under: Same-sex marriage
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Boies is correct. This state-by-state, cafeteria-style allowance of gay marriage doesn't cut the Constitutional muster.

    June 26, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. Ed1

    Still crying I see you don't have the right to interfere with the State laws go home and leave it alone.

    You have 32 states and counting that define a marriage between one man and one women not two men and two women I don't see how you can change that.

    June 26, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Sam Adams

    Case law will work, as it did previously with marriage and divorce among the several states. The cases will revolve around property rights, inheritance, child custody in those states that recognize only straight marriage.
    It's telling that the DOMA case came from a case involving inheritance.

    June 26, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. James

    Progress !!!! Next comes legalized Bestiality, Pedophilia, Polygamy, Polyandry. I wonder where we go after that ???

    June 26, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. Caribbean Reader

    The Supreme Court decisión was correct, I think, but for the wrong reasons. This is not a Fifth Ammendment issue but a federalism issue. Marriage is supposed to be a matter to be resolved by the States. If NY accepts gay marriage, the federal goverment should accept that as long as the persons involved are bona fide residents of that state. If Alabama does not accept it, then the federal government does not have to recognize a gay couple as married for purposes of federal law. As simple as that. We are a federation of 50 states. Not one big federal government with 50 administrative dependencies. If you want to engage in a gay marriage and live in Alabama, move to NY.

    June 26, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. Caribbean Reader

    In the case of Proposition 8, the Supreme Court got it absolutely wrong. They denied standing to the proponents of Prop 8 because they basically do not the authority to appeal the case as decided in the US District Court. That is absurd. With this decisión, the Supreme Court has destroyed the right of the people of California to defend the will of the people as stated in this or any referéndum. By it's own nature, propositions are designed to sidestep the government so ammendments to the Constitution not popular with the state administration can be adopted. That is true democracy. Sincé the elected officials in California irresponsably decided not to defend the will of the people,as mandated by law, a private party had to defend it. Now, elected oficial can pay no attention to this or any other proposition by simply not enforcing it and, if a case arises, not defending such law. It's a pocket veto for the government officials if they do not like the results of a proposition duly approved. Former Gov. Scwartzenegger, now Gov. Brown and California's Attorney General should be ashamed of their actions in this case. Their total disregard of the will of the people of their state is a black mark on the state's history.

    June 26, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |