U.S. Supreme Court

Lawyer who backed gay marriage in California sees possibility of disappointing victory

  • Print

Litigator David Boies acknowledged Tuesday that a U.S. Supreme Court win in his challenge to California’s ban on gay marriage could fall short of the victory he is seeking.

Boies has joined with Ted Olson to challenge California’s Proposition 8 referendum banning gay marriage. On Tuesday, Boies said he doesn’t predict Supreme Court outcomes, but he offered some ideas about how the court may rule. The Huffington Post covered Boies’ speech at an event sponsored by a moderate Democratic think tank called Third Way.

Boies said he could win the case based on a finding that gay-marriage opponents didn’t have standing to appeal a ruling striking down Proposition 8. California officials had opted to let the lower court decision stand, spurring the appeal by those who wanted to keep the ban intact.

“The question is, do those people have a standing to come before the court and defend it? Under Supreme Court precedent, they probably do not have standing,” Boies said, according to the Huffington Post account. “The court is very restrictive in terms of to whom they grant standing, and they never granted standing to private citizens who do not have a fiduciary relationship to the state. And one way that the court could solve this particular case is to hold that these people do not have standing.”

If the Supreme Court finds the gay-marriage opponents lacked standing, same-sex marriage would be legal in California, but there would be no broad ruling on a constitutional right for gays and lesbians to marry.

The case is Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “David Boies is optimistic about Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage”

ABAJournal.com: “Chemerinsky: Decoding the gay-marriage oral arguments”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.