A summer for gay rights

Posted by Richard Socarides on huffingtonpost.com:

"This is shaping up as the summer of gay rights in the courts. The twin victories last week from the US District Court in Massachusetts striking down as unconstitutional key portions of the anti-gay 'Defense of Marriage Act' and the eagerly anticipated decision in the federal Proposition 8 case in California have made for enormous excitement in the legal and civil rights communities.

"We are at a tipping point in which the federal courts appear finally willing to recognize and more aggressively enforce civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans. Much as they did for African Americans a generation ago.

"In the Proposition 8 gay marriage case especially (Perry v. Schwarzenegger), lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies have made a comprehensive and overwhelming case for basic fairness and full equality. Their opponents, on the other hand, presented no credible expert testimony and made arguments so flimsy -- and at times even patently false - that a ruling in their favor appears highly unlikely. The decision is expected soon.

... "Let's be clear: this is not an argument about public opinion polls, political environments, or even what motivates the anti-gay movement - we're talking about a basic civil right.

"As lead counsel Ted Olson said in his summation, 'This case is about marriage and equality. The fundamental constitutional right to marry has been taken away from the plaintiffs, and tens of (if not hundreds of) thousands of similarly situated Californians. Their state has rewritten its constitution in order to place them into a special disfavored category where their most intimate personal relationships are not valid, not recognized and second rate.'

"In cases like this, our history tells us that the courts are the most appropriate, effective and productive battlefields."

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