Jubilant over the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, David Boies quipped to a crowd on Monday, “I’ll even forgive Justice Kennedy for his vote in Bush vs. Gore.”
The event was a reception at the home of Rob Reiner and his wife Michele, who, with political strategists Chad Griffin and Kristina Schake, hatched the idea in 2008 of pursuing a federal case that would overturn California’s Proposition 8 and help unleash the legal battle for a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
In a stroke of ingenious casting, Boies was teamed with Ted Olson, his foe in the 2000 presidential recount case, to pursue the same-sex marriage litigation through a trial, appellate hearings and ultimately to the Supreme Court.
In 2013, they succeeded in overturning California’s ban after the Supreme Court ruled that its foes lacked standing. Even though the court’s decision did not establish a national right to same-sex marriage, their case laid legal groundwork for Friday’s ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges.
Joining Boies and Olson at the event were the plaintiffs in their case, Sandy Stier and Kris Perry, and Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, and attorneys Ted Boutrous and Christopher Dusseault. Also there: Producer Bruce Cohen, who was president of the foundation that pursued the case, and Norman and Lyn Lear, who were major contributors to the effort.
Rob Reiner recalled some of the resistance they encountered from LGBT organizations in 2008 to pursuing a case at the federal level, the worry being that an adverse ruling would set back the movement for marriage equality. But they were undeterred. As it turned out, public opinion and legal wisdom shifted, culminating in the historic ruling and what Reiner calls the “greatest week.”