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Author Archives: Scott Shafer
When Theodore Boutrous, Jr. hopped on the phone the other day from Washington, he was giddy. “We just got a unanimous ruling at the Supreme Court!” He was referring to the 9-0 decision on behalf of his client, an insurance company fighting a class action case.
I asked Boutrous, who goes by “Ted”, how many times he’s argued in front of the Supreme Court. “Twice, “ he said. “And I’ve got 18 votes!” When I suggested he should retire while he has a perfect record, he emailed back “It’s tempting!”
Since the start of the Prop. 8 debate in federal court four years ago, Boutrous has been overshadowed by his high profile colleague, attorney Theodore Olson. Both are partners at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (Boutrous in the Los Angeles office, Olson in D.C.) and have worked together for nearly 30 years. Olson is renowned in legal circles as a leading conservative, which makes his pairing with David Boies (whom he faced on opposite sides of the Bush v. Gore case in 2000) so interesting.
Boutrous may not get the “ink” they get, but he’s been an integral part of the legal strategy against Prop. 8.
On Valentine's Day last month, about a dozen gay and lesbian couples showed up at San Francisco City Hall. They wanted something they knew they couldn't have: A marriage license.
The protest, organized by Marriage Equality USA, happens every year. And every year the couples are turned away.
Thom Watson from Daly City came with his partner.
"You're really never fully prepared for what it's going to feel like yet again to be turned down for something that you want so badly and that other people take for granted," Watson said.
The right to get that legal document from a county clerk is what Tuesday's U.S. Supreme Court hearing is all about: whether California's Proposition 8 — a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman — violates equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
You might say the long journey of Proposition 8 began May 15, 2008, when a ruling came down from the California Supreme Court declaring that gay and lesbian couples had a legal right to get married.
Mayor Gavin Newsom celebrated at City Hall with a crowd of thrilled San Franciscans, “This door’s wide open now. It’s gonna happen whether you like it or not. This is the future, and it’s now.”
It was a historic ruling, but not a done deal.
The ruling infuriated supporters of traditional marriage, including Randy Thomasson, with Protect Marriage.
“It will spur Californians to go to the polls to override the judges and protect marriage licenses for one man and one woman in the California constitution,” Thomasson said.
Four years after narrowly banning same-sex marriage in California through Proposition 8, state voters now approve of gay nuptials by 61 to 32 percent, a new Field Poll finds. That's a couple of points more in favor of same-sex marriage than in last year's poll, which found a 59 to 34 percent margin of support. In 2010, the numbers in favor were 52 to 48 percent.
The survey, released today, finds more support than opposition to gay marriage in every demographic subgroup except registered Republicans and self-identified conservatives.
The poll comes on the last day for friend of the court or "amicus" briefs to be filed in the U.S. Supreme Court case challenging Prop. 8.
Several gay and lesbian couples disrupted business at San Francisco's city hall Friday morning. The couples entered the city clerk's office asking for something they knew they couldn't get … a marriage license.
"We love each other and we want the rights that everyone else gets. I don't want if I die that she can't get my Social Security or come take my house because we're not legally married," said Linda Gates who attended the protest with her partner Betty.
During the demonstration, heterosexual couples, including Mario Caballeros and his fiancé Jessica from Richmond, were told to come back later.
"That just sucks. They can pick another time and another reason or do it the right way," said Caballeros. "Just taking up peoples' time. We have to wait just for them to get their little word out? That's not cool, you know?"
Protesters sang and chanted until sheriff's deputies ordered them to disperse. Thirteen protesters who refused to leave were detained for just a few minutes, then released without being charged.
KQED 9 will broadcast A Church Divided on Friday, Feb 15, at 7:30 p.m. The television documentary will take viewers to the United Methodist Church’s convention in Tampa, FL, where delegates from around the world gathered to decide the future … Continue reading
As President Obama's second inauguration draws near, the Capitol seems oddly quiet. On Thursday, Republican House members retreated to a golf course in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a secret strategy session on how to regain some political mojo. Democrats, meanwhile, are … Continue reading
It's always fun to truck up to Capitol Hill and interview our elected representatives — but what can top seeing them at a California fashion show in the Ritz Hotel in Georgetown!? No, they're not going to walk the runway … Continue reading
The halls of the U.S. Capitol are stately and ornate. Statues of important people (almost all men), majestic paintings and white marble everywhere. The Congressional office buildings for most senators and House members are a little less fancy, but still … Continue reading
Washington D.C. is a company town. And the company is the U.S. government. Everywhere you go — cafes, restaurants, hotel lobbies, bookstores — you overhear people talking politics. So maybe it should come as no surprise that riders on the … Continue reading