Earlier this year, Rep. Barney Frank famously said it was not the time to take the issue of gay marriage to the Supreme Court (Something about Justice Antonin Scalia being on the Court).
Yesterday, veteran Supreme Court litigator Ted Olson, the staunch conservative who successfully argued Bush v. Gore in 2000, which decided the presidential election, said it is time for the Supreme Court to weigh the issue. And he wants to take it there – and win.
Olson has paired with his former Bush v. Gore rival David Boies to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 in California, which bans gay marriage. During a press conference in Los Angeles Yesterday, Olson was asked why a right-leaning, Federalist Society member like himself was fighting for gay marriage. “I didn’t know you were pro-gay,” one questioner said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of any organization that was anti-gay or felt that a group was not entitled to equal rights,” Olson replied, saying that he believed the case was about equal rights guaranteed for every American. “I hope that people don’t suspect my motives.”
Olson said he would like the case to go all the way to the Supreme Court, and that he intends on winning. “David and I have both studied constitutional law. We’ve both practiced law longer than we’d rather admit,” Olson said, glancing over at a chuckling Boies. “We think we know what we are doing. [W]e’ve studied the United States Supreme Court.”
But the Associated Press reports that gay rights activists are not as anxious to take the issue to the Supreme Court now. A loss, they fear, would take away marriage rights for gays and lesbians in states that currently grant them.