Activists Gear Up for Next Round on Gay Marriage

Posted August 8, 2010 at 10:32am

A California judge may have overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage last week, but advocates on both sides of the issue made clear Sunday that it is far from a closed case. And already they offered a preview of arguments they could make at the U.S. Supreme Court.

David Boies, a chief lawyer who argued against California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that in a court of law, “junk science,” as he called the other side’s facts, doesn’t work. “We put fear and prejudice on trial, and fear and prejudice lost,” Boies said.

He added that the court agreed with his side that gay marriage does not harm heterosexual marriage or children. “Why do you make these people suffer if it doesn’t harm anybody?” he asked.

But on the other side, Tony Perkins, president of the Christian-conservative organization Family Research Council, indicated that his side is energized to fight. Perkins called the decision “flawed” and, citing news reports, said the judge who decided the matter is “an openly homosexual judge.”

“He ignored a lot of the social science in his opinion,” Perkins said on “Face the Nation” in an apparent reference to Vaughn Walker, the chief judge of the court that decided the Proposition 8 case.

“We hope that sanity will reign when it does make its way to the Supreme Court,” Perkins said. “This is far from over.”

Even though Perkins and other conservative advocates have called the judge’s decision an example of judicial activism, one of their fellow conservatives disagreed.

Ted Olson, who was a solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration, said on “Fox News Sunday” that it was about constitutional rights.

Olson, along with Boies, argued that California’s Proposition 8 should be overturned.

“It is not judicial activism,” Olson said. “It is judicial responsibility.”

Republican and Democratic governors appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” drew sharp contrasts in their reactions to the California decision.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) maintained the decision “has no impact on the people” of his state. He advocated for an appeal and said he hopes the case reaches the Supreme Court.

“Every state that’s taken up a constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage has passed it,” he said. “I think the court is wrong to overturn the will of the people.”

But Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) noted that she opposed Michigan’s constitutional bans on gay marriage in 2004 and said she hopes the
California decision prompts action in other states.

“I think the court was courageous, and I’d like to see this move to a higher level and affect more states,” she said. “And I’m glad for — for Michigan’s sake, I’m glad that it actually happened, because I’d like to see this moved to a higher level and affect more states.”