"Today the United States Supreme Court in two important decisions brings us that much closer to true equality," David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller and Flexner, said. "In the decision striking as unconstitutional the so-called DOMA or Defense of Marriage case, the United States Supreme Court held there was no purpose for depriving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry the person they love.”
The plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case—couples Kris Perry and Sandra Stier and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo—surrounded Boies as he spoke to a group of reporters shortly after the high court’s rulings were announced.
Boies teamed up with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partners Theodore Olson and Theodore Boutrous, Jr. in challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. The high court today left in place a federal trial judge’s injunction against the enforcement of the proposition, clearing the way to the return of same-sex marriage in that state. (Olson was tied up in an unrelated case today and wasn’t able to be at the high court.)
"The two decisions really pave the way for marriage equality in this country," said Boutrous, who co-chairs Gibson’s appellate and constitutional law group. "The DOMA decision—the framework that is laid out by the court—paves the way for striking down marriage restrictions across the country. We are going to have equality for all citizens across this country very soon."
Perry said that from the beginning, the Proposition 8 case was about not only achieving equality for gay and lesbian couples, but for their families as well.
"We believed from the very beginning that the importance of this case was to send a message to the children of this country that you are just as good as everybody else no matter who you love, no matter who your parents love," Perry said. "Now we will be married and we will be equal to every other family in California."
Proponents of Proposition 8, including Austin Nimocks, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, and Andrew Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com, vowed to continue the fight against same-sex marriage.
"We are disappointed on the Supreme Court's decision on standing, but we are happy that Proposition 8 does remain the law of the state of California," Nimocks said outside the Supreme Court today. "Proponents of proposition 8 and its legal team will continue to defend proposition 8 unless and until there is a court with jurisdiction that strikes it down."
Shortly after 10 a.m., the crowd, which packed the sidewalk in front of the high court on First Street N.E., erupted in shouts and applause as news of the DOMA opinion came out. Chants filled the air. Police kept onlookers and the press from entering the Supreme Court plaza.
Spotted in the crowd on the sidewalk was Barney Frank, the openly gay former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who last year married his longtime partner James Ready.
"I want to thank the House republicans, because if John Boehner and the House Republicans hadn't voted to step in as the defenders in the DOMA case then there might not have been a case," Frank said. "I think it's a very important step in terms of equal protection. We now have a critical mass of Americans who can have same sex marriages. That reality is going to further erode the prejudice surrounding gay marriage."