Karen Ocamb

Behind the Scenes Look: AFER Takes Prop 8 Case to the Supreme Court

Filed By Karen Ocamb | April 01, 2013 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: AFER, Antonin Scalia, Bruce Cohen, Chad Griffin, Cleve Jones, Dustin Lance Black, Harvey Milk, Prop 8, Rob Reiner, Supreme Court

AFER-Prop8-team.jpg

Reporting on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases is far from over. For instance, I was on a serious conference call with the Williams Institute the other day pushing back on Justice Scalia and his inaccurate comments about same sex parents and children.

I want to share this video with you and, frankly, since this is on a blog, I'm going to step out of my journalistic comfort zone and say something as a "real human being."

I've covered the long march to marriage equality and the before-during-and-after of Prop 8, including the disagreements among leaders, old and new. Most are folks with real integrity. And then there are those whose authentic depth of commitment and passion is so awe-inspiring, I sometimes choke up with appreciation.

I've known gay and union activist Cleve Jones for what seems like forever and as he stands on the steps of the US Supreme Court talking about the American Foundation for Equal Rights Prop 8 case, he recalls standing in the back of Harvey Milk's store in the late 1970s as Milk urged gay people to "Come Out!" The arc of history.

Oscar-winning producer and new proud father Bruce Cohen has been involved in the LGBT movement for equality - often behind the scenes as he has been here - since I started reporting on the LGBT community in the late 1980s.

Meanwhile, on the frontlines, bringing visibility to the issues of equality and injustice at the root of the Prop 8 case, are AFER founders Chad Griffin and Rob Reiner with their brilliant odd-couple attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies and the Galahad-ish Ted Boutrous who so felt the pain of their plaintiffs' discrimination, they consider the case one of the most important of their already illustrious careers.

Those plaintiffs - Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and their incredible kids and Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, the guys we know from around LA who decided to do something to fight back against Prop 8. The two couples stood in for all same sex couples, all same sex couples with kids, and all LGBT people who want their relationships legally and equally recognized by the government.

And then there's the newer gay on the block - Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, whose appearances at schools and writing the play '8' have inspired a new generation of people, gay and straight, to understand the stakes of equal protection under the law. In this behind-the-scenes video, Lance says: "We're not done in this movement for LGBT equality. So get back to work and keep fighting to make sure the next generation's lives are better than ours. I think that's our job as Americans."

In my 12 Step program, we're taught to promptly admit our mistakes. For me, the flip side of that is always saying "Thank You" when appropriate. It's appropriate now.

Before I sprint back to supposed detached "objectivity," may I just say, as an LGBT American, thank you AFER team for putting your heart and soul and back into this hard work of fighting for equality. Thank you to everyone who filed those amazing amicus briefs!

And thank you to the younger generation for understanding we can't take equality for granted!


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