Alex Blaze

AFER rejects San Francisco's help

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 10, 2009 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: ACLU, AFER, boies, gay marriage, lambda legal, law, legal, lesbian, LGBT, marriage equality, NCLR, olson, Prop. 8, proposition 88, same-sex marriage, san francisco

Why does everyone think this is so complicated? They're saying they want the equal protection promised by the US Constitution, and the Supreme Court will totally just give it to them because they expressed their displeasure with Prop 8. It's almost like people think that the Court is biased against gay rights or something:

Attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson petitioned U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker with legal arguments meant to block the city and the groups from standing together with the lawyers at trial. San Francisco put gay marriage front and center on Valentine's Day 2004 when Mayor Gavin Newsom opened City Hall to same-sex weddings.

Boies and Olson argued that allowing San Francisco into the legal fight would needlessly delay the case's resolution.

I know I'm a minority on this one, but I find AFER (the new org that just formed, hired Boies and Olson, and then filed suit to overturn Prop 8) to be substantially more arrogant than the typical LGBT org. Apparently they think the only reason the Supreme Court hasn't decided in favor of same-sex marriage is because no one's ever taken the question to them. Maybe someone should have tried it during Reconstruction and we could have been spared the ugliness of actually having a movement.

I posted about this back when the City of San Francisco filed to intervene in this case, and they seemed to have a fairly strong argument for their inclusion: they had already done a whole lot of legwork to establish large factual record at trial for saying that denying same-sex marriage is a form of inequality. It's how they won Lawrence, and there's really no reason to assume that the Court is so up-to-date on these issues that they can decide on same-sex marriage without being presented with expert testimony.

It's similar to what Lambda Legal, ACLU, and NCLR wanted to do (although they had a different focus that led to some conflict with the City of SF, according to the petition filed by the City), and they were rebuffed by AFER because they dared to question these straight lawyers' generosity to the poor, incompetent LGBT community.

(Don't bring up the fact that Boies and Olson are getting paid, though, because that totally ruins the odd-couple lens the media's been viewing this case through. What are these two adversaries doing on the same side of a case? That is whack! Who would have thought that there are professionals out there who would provide their services to people who are able to pay for said services?)

Obviously, their whole "we're offended you disagreed with us publicly so we can never work with you" act was just hot air, because San Francisco's attorneys never said anything objectionable about the Boies and Olson case (as far as we know), and their help is still being rejected. To me, that means that either AFER wants all the credit after they win this case or they actually think it'll be quick and easy without the help of any other body.

Failing should be considered a bad, not neutral, consequence to a case like this. Even the federal government's kinda-sorta statement/controlling precedent against same-sex marriage made it in to four state supreme court rulings against the same. But when you're putting ego above movement, this is what it ends up looking like.


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I'm with you on this one. The more I hear from AFER, the more I suspect that they are the ones trying to hog the glory and grab at power in the community leadership game.

AFER is just becoming one big punchline... except one that's not very funny because it could set a nasty precedent for us for a long long time.

Or maybe they have been hired to bring a dog before the court and LOSE so that the court will have a clear guide for the future. Just thinking out loud.

Actually, I was thinking the same thing ever since they first stepped up.

If they lose the case while 'pursuing the issue diligently' they can claim that it’s a dead issue. It would be far, far harder to bring the issue back to the bar to argue the merits of the case.

It’ll be a done deal. Yes, it may come back but the precedent will be set. If it goes to the US Supreme Court… well… it’ll be dead on arrival.

I can only see them ‘turffing the ball’ on this and taking a knee and waiting out the clock for the loss. Its not that important to them and …. Well, does anyone in the local community know these ‘victims’ in real life? Are they long term partners or just some posers that are doing this to kill the issue?

WHO are they? Can anyone answer the question? Not mysterious names but real, honest investigation in to these strangers who claim to fight for our rights?

I don't think they plan to lose on purpose. That would be unethical and the kind of thing that gets lawyers disbarred. I do, however, think that they're hired guns who have no experience with LGBT civil rights law and a tremendous amount of hubris, and they're being paid by people with a similar lack of experience and similar hubris, coupled with very deep pockets.