Ted Olson and David Boies won their battle against Prop 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, when a federal court judge ruled it unconstitutional in 2010, and again, when the Ninth Circuit upheld the ruling in 2012, and again, in essence, this year, when the Supreme Court ruled opponents of the law did not have standing to challenge it.
Now, just a few months after putting Prop 8 in its rightful grave, Olson and Boies are announcing this morning they are taking on another state’s marriage equality ban: the 2006 Virginia constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Often called the “odd couple” — Olson is a staunch old school conservative and Boies a liberal Democrat — the team this time will join forces in an existing case, Bostic v. Rainey.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the organization formed to fight Prop 8 and which funds Olson and Boies’ work, explain that the “case, filed in U.S. District Court for Virginia’s Eastern District on behalf of two couples, calls the Virginia Marriage Amendment, which prohibits gay and lesbian couples from marrying, unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, violates Due Process and singles out gays and lesbians for a disfavored legal status, thereby creating a category of ‘second-class citizens.’”
The Washington Post notes, “Olson said AFER was invited to join the case by attorneys for the plaintiffs, Norfolk residents Timothy Bostic and Tony London, whose marriage application was turned down, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley, who have a 15-year-old daughter and whose marriage in California is not recognized by the commonwealth.”
Virginia is an “attractive target,” said Olson, who lives in the state, because its rejection of same-sex marriage and civil unions is so complete.
“The more unfairly people are being treated, the more obvious it is that it’s unconstitutional,” Olson said.
Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed adds that “unlike in 2009, AFER is not alone. The ACLU and Lambda Legal have several pending challenges to the constitutionality of marriage bans in various courts across the country, including in Virginia.”
Additionally, several unaffiliated lawyers — as initially was the situation in the lawsuit AFER is joining Monday — have filed lawsuits in state and federal court.
As such, Olson and Boies know the clock is ticking and that some case is going to present the issue again to the Supreme Court in short order. With Monday’s announcement, the duo aim to place their marker on the map with Bostic and London’s case.
Ultimately, Olson and Boies are looking for a ruling that would end all bans on same-sex marriage, which means they may be thinking this is another opportunity to bring a case to the Supreme Court.
Image of Ted Olson and David Boies by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, via Facebook
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