The Year in Sanity: Ted Olson

Bush's solicitor general has become a staunch defender of gay marriage in the courtroom and on Fox News

By Christopher Hickey
Published October 19, 2010 8:30PM (UTC)
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Attorney Ted Olson gives a news conference after giving his closing arguments in a case challenging California's ban on same sex marriages in San Francisco, California, June 16, 2010. The judge weighing the constitutionality of gay marriage in a San Francisco courtroom will ask how weddings between gays and lesbians could undermine marriage between men and women. REUTERS/Kim White (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) (© Kimberly White / Reuters)

I'd like to nominate Ted Olson -- the former U.S. solicitor general under Bush, not the Red Sox pitcher. He also represented Bush in the Bush vs. Gore case. And yet, despite those shining credentials, Olson served as the plaintiff's attorney in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, challenging Proposition 8. A leading conservative lawyer arguing in favor of gay marriage ... I think he's been pretty courageous, and notably sane. 

The defining moment came in August, when he defended Judge Vaughn Walker's decision on Fox News Sunday:


He does a great job throughout, but the kicker is his closing statement. Chris Wallace gives Olson a slimy question at the end about whether "Hollywood director and liberal Rob Reiner" got him to take on the case. Olson's response:

We believe that a conservative value is stable relationships and a stable community and loving individuals coming together and forming a basis that is a building block of our society, which includes marriage. We believe that that is a conservative value. We also believe that it's an important conservative value to sustain the rights of liberty of our citizens and to eliminate discrimination on invidious bases whether it's race or sex or sexual orientation. It should be a liberal and a conservative value. It is a fundamental American value. All men and all women are created equal under the law.

He also wrote a fantastic article for Newsweek called the Conservative Case for Marriage Equality.


Money quote (hat tip: the Daily Dish): 

When we refuse to accord this status to gays and lesbians, we discourage them from forming the same relationships we encourage for others. And we are also telling them, those who love them and society as a whole that their relationships are less worthy, less legitimate, less permanent and less valued. We demean their relationships and we demean them as individuals. I cannot imagine how we benefit as a society by doing so.

Christopher Hickey

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Gay Marriage Proposition 8 The Year In Sanity