The 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia ended state bans on interracial marriage in the 16 states that still had such laws. Now, 44 years after Loving, the courts are once again grappling with denial of equal marriage rights — this time to gay couples. Two California couples have filed suit against Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that limited marriage to opposite-sex couples. The American Foundation for Equal Rights engaged David Boies and Ted Olson to lead the legal challenge. The plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger won in federal district court, and the case is now on appeal. Plaintiffs argue that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and impermissibly singles out gay and lesbian individuals for a disfavored legal status. The speakers on our panel believe that the principle of equality before the law transcends the left-right divide and cuts to the core of our nation’s character.
Featuring the co-counsels, David Boies, Chairman, Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Former Chief Counsel, Senate Judiciary Committee; and Theodore B. Olson, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Former Solicitor General. With comments by the co-chairs of the advisory board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Robert A. Levy, Chairman, Cato Institute; and John Podesta, President, Center for American Progress.