Eric Leven

The Bride Wore Red

Filed By Eric Leven | August 21, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: gay marriage, Prop 8, same-sex marriage, socially liberal conservatives, Ted Olson, Theodore Olsen

In an unlikely twist, the California Gay community now stands an even greater chance of hearing wedding bells ring in their name.

Olson.jpgTheodore Olson, the Republican Lawyer who helped steal argue George Bush's election, could now be same-sex marriage's strongest friend.

The New York Times reports:

While Mr. Olson came to the case by a serendipitous route that began late last year with Rob Reiner, a Hollywood director widely known for his Democratic activism, he said his support of same-sex marriage stemmed from longstanding personal and legal conviction. He sees nothing inconsistent with that stance and his devotion to conservative legal causes: The same antipathy toward government discrimination, he said, inspired him to take up another cause that many on the right applauded -- a lengthy campaign to dismantle affirmative action programs.

A hearing in the marriage case, filed on behalf of two gay couples, is scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco. Practicing his opening argument recently, Mr. Olson declared that California's ban is "utterly without justification" and stigmatizes gay men and lesbians as "second-class and unworthy."

"This case," he said afterward, "could involve the rights and happiness and equal treatment of millions of people."

Lately I've been coming into a lot of contact with several socially progressive conservative thinkers.

Meaning, I've been meeting a lot of people who are socially forward, yet too economically focused and conservatively opinionated, to vote for Obama or even Democratically for that matter.

These people are both gay and straight alike and I often say to them, "I understand you have different conservative stances and fiscal opinions but can't you see by voting Republican you are inadvertently tugging along the most ignorant, arrogant, racist people (the right of the right) to maintain power in this nation, feel righteous and absolved?" Although I seem capable of putting this algorithm together, they see it from a different perspective. They believe change will happen by being within the party more than it will from being on the outside, where the same Dem Vs. Repub tit-for-tat argument will inevitably continue to churn and churn and churn. These socially progressive but republican voting gays and straights feel as though they are welcomed to sit at the Republican table while I think, "well you may be welcomed to the table but that doesn't mean they're not going to spit in your food nor swipe the chair out from under you," but still it's becoming increasingly more obvious that we have to find friends within the red party to help further the gay community's cause. It's a hard pill to swallow but a necessary one.

If Theodore Olson, the man who was a saint to Bush administration, is now arguing for the gay cause, while also looking at the case from an completely non-objective human rights standpoint, then maybe this will help us in the end? I'm not entirely sold, but what's the harm in continuing my low expectations for hope anyway?


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Anyone who has seen this guy in action know he's got a mouth of gold and incredible ability as a lawyer. 80% win rate on SCOTUS is a pretty strong record; let's just hope this won't be the twelfth out of 55 cases he lost.

There's always praying for a simultaneous fatal stroke to Scalia and Thomas in the several years it will take for the case to get to SCOTUS, so the decision isn't so close.

This doesn't surprise me that much. One columnist pointed out recently that in the old days, both the Democratic and Republican parties embraced a wide range of ideological viewpoints, and party affiliation was based more on class than personal views.

The problem is that over the last 30 years, the GOP has mostly lost its liberal and libertarian wings (i.e. the Nelson Rockefellers and Barry Goldwaters) and become the party of people who, a couple generations ago, would have been Dixiecrats.

I'm actually with the Republicans on a lot of fiscal and economic issues and consider myself a moderate. Unfortunately, however, voting Republican today usually means voting for someone who might agree with me on those issues but is against me as a gay person.

Matt Foreman | August 21, 2009 2:56 PM

I'm sure he's a great lawyer. He has a good track record with the Supreme Court. BUT he's rolling the dice with the future of the marriage equality movement - my life.

There are a lot of solid reasons why our legal groups have not mounted a head on constitutional assault. None of the reasons involves a lack of courage or intelligence - far from it. History shows that the Supreme Court rarely acts - the right way - on "controversial" issues until there is a combination of public opinion, state action, lower court precedents and public opinion that enables them to do the right thing.

We are not there yet on any of these fronts.
It's now too late and all we can do is hope (or pray or sacrifice to the goddess, your choice) for the best.

I deeply resent a group of (mainly straight) Hollywood elites making a unilateral decision to roll the dice this way. I deeply resent the notion that the gay legal groups don't know what they're doing = and we poor folks need help from the big boys. The facts prove the opposite: in nine years, we've gone from 0.6% of the population living somewhere that offers protections to same sex couples to 36% today. No, we're not where we need to be but that's damn amazing progress.

If he wins, fantastic, and he will be a hero. Unfortunately, if he loses, he personally has lost nothing, gained a lot, and will still be touted as a hero. We - the gay folks - will be set back at least 15-20 years.

I'm sick of haterosexuals lording over gay people. They no business getting involved in this case when they did shit to convince other haterosexuals not to vote to take away gay people's rights.