In November of 2000, if you'd have bet your life against the fact that the man representing Bush in the case of Bush v. Gore would one day lead the fight to legalize gay marriage, you'd be dead now.
As Jo Becker reports in today's New York Times, former George W. Bush attorney Ted Olson filed a federal lawsuit challenging California's recent ban on gay marriage. Olson's hope is that his arguments in the case will lead the Supreme Court to reverse the California law and thus reshape the country's social landscape in ways similar to past monumental Supreme Court decisions. Preparing his opening statement for an initial hearing in federal court in San Francisco, Olson said the following:
California's ban is "utterly without justification" and stigmatizes gay men and lesbians as "second-class and unworthy."
"This case," he said afterward, "could involve the rights and happiness and equal treatment of millions of people."
Interestingly, Olson was brought onto the case by one of the biggest big shit liberals in Hollywood, director Rob Reiner, at the suggestion of Olson's ex-wife's sister, who is an acquaintance of Reiner. Olson then recruited David Boies, the attorney for Al Gore in the Bush v. Gore proceedings, to join him in the fight, and with that one of the more unlikely alliances in American legal/political history was formed. Olson, for his part, seems confident.
Paul Katami, one of the plaintiffs recruited for the lawsuit, recalled Mr. Olson's words shortly before it was announced: "He put his arm around me and said, ‘We're going to plan your wedding in a couple of years - this is going to happen.' "
What is it that they say about politics making strange bedfellows?