by Rex Wockner
National News Briefs
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker on Aug. 19 blocked Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT Project, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights from joining the federal lawsuit seeking to overturn Proposition 8.
The case is being argued by famed attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, who say Prop. 8 (perhaps along with other same-sex marriage bans) violates the due-process and equal-protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution by singling out gays for disfavored legal status and discriminating on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights, which hired Olson and Boies, opposed the gay legal groups’ becoming parties to the suit, saying the groups refused to join the suit earlier when invited to participate, have denounced the suit publicly and would slow down the court process if allowed to take part.
In a scathing letter to the groups on July 8, AFER Board Chair Chad Griffin wrote: “Given our (previous) willingness to collaborate with you, and your efforts to undercut this case, we were surprised and disappointed when we became aware of your desire to intervene. You have unrelentingly and unequivocally acted to undermine this case even before it was filed. … Your strident criticism of our suit has been constant.”
More recently, the gay groups have said that while they still believe it’s the wrong time to take a same-sex marriage case to the U.S. Supreme Court, if one is heading there anyway – which is the goal of the Olson and Boies suit – then they want to be a part of it to make sure all the legal bases are covered.
Judge Walker, however, rejected the notion that Olson and Boies wouldn’t or couldn’t cover all the bases, and set a Jan. 11 trial date.