Ted Olson and David Boies Join Virginia Gay Marriage Case, Eyeing SCOTUS Once Again

Bostic v. Rainey, a Virginia case challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage which is expected to go to the Supreme Court is about to go very high profile, the Washington Post reports:

Olson_boiesThe American Foundation for Equal Rights — with its attention-getting political odd couple of conservative Republican lawyer Theodore Olson and liberal Democrat David Boies — will announce Monday it is joining a lawsuit against what the lawyers called Virginia’s “draconian” laws prohibiting same-sex marriages, the recognition of such marriages performed where they are legal, and civil unions.

Olson and Boies are hoping the case will inspire the justices to find that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right.

The paper adds:

Olson said AFER was invited to join the case by attorneys for the plaintiffs, Norfolk residents Timothy Bostic and Tony London, whose marriage application was turned down, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley, who have a 15-year-old daughter and whose marriage in California is not recognized by the commonwealth.

Virginia is an “attractive target,” said Olson, who lives in the state, because its rejection of same-sex marriage and civil unions is so complete.

Virginia's voters amended the state Constitution in 2006 to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions, and forbid recognition of unions performed outside of the state.

BosticTony London and Timothy Bostic are the main plaintiffs in the case, which they filed back in July.

Wrote the Virginian Pilot at the time:

"They thought about getting married in another state, but decided against it," said Robert Ruloff, an attorney for London, a Norfolk real estate agent, and Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor of English. "They are Virginians and they want to be married in Virginia."

The lawsuit is the first such legal challenge filed in Virginia. It came one week after the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia announced plans to file its own lawsuit, and about three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court undercut two laws that stood as barriers to gay marriage.

Chris Freund, a spokesman for the Family Foundation, a conservative nonprofit based in Richmond, said he was not surprised by the lawsuit. He said the plaintiffs are trying to circumvent "the will of the people."


  1. Lymis says

    Too bad that the defendants are trying to circumvent the will of the people who ratified the Constitution and the 14th Amendment.

    I like the fact that the plaintiffs include both a couple who cannot marry in their own state and a couple who are already legally married (now, with federal recognition) and a minor child (though she probably won’t be by the time this gets to SCOTUS.)

    And yeah, isn’t Virginia the state where the law can be read as even invalidating things like wills and business contracts between gay people because it’s worded so harshly?

  2. johnny says

    “…trying to circumvent the will of the people.”

    Yeah, because everyone should live their lives according to what other people want, right? Who gives a sh*t what we might want for ourselves…

    Can these idiots hear themselves or are their heads too full of their own crap?

  3. says

    I take it that Ken “Sodomy Law” Cuccinelli will be defending this law in court. That ought to make for some interesting theater. I’d guess that we won’t get to see the proceedings on video this time though, which is unfortunate.

  4. oncemorewithfeeling says

    I don’t trust Ted Olson for a second and I think we were all very lucky that SCOTUS, essentially, threw out the Prop 8 case (the wrong case at the wrong time) instead of deciding it and setting us back fifty years.

    That being said, the DOMA decision is enough of a foundation set by SCOTUS to make a decision against marriage equality basically impossible when the next case for it comes before them.

    I still don’t trust Ted Olson, but SCOTUS can only go in one direction now, so it’s all good.

  5. says

    @OnceMore, you don’t trust Ted Olson because … ? He’s a Republican? Another reason? What about his partner in this, David Boies? I shared the skepticism when he first signed on to the Prop 8 case, but a man like him is not going to dedicate years of his legal life to secretly work against a cause he says he believes in. Makes no sense. And the Supreme Court didn’t exactly throw out the Prop 8 case. The truth is he ‘s a great ally, as is Boies.

    It would be a loving full circle if a Virginia case went all the way in our favor.

  6. anon says

    Boies’ background is in corporate liability and patent law. He rarely takes politically charged cases, and they rarely pay the bills either. Olson’s career has been more govt. oriented and he’s been a legal consultant for ages. He often takes high profile cases, unlike Boies, which keeps him in the headlines.

  7. Diego says

    I love the fact that this case is going on in the same state that was the setting for the recognition of interracial marriage nationwide.
    At first, when they filed the suit I was really skeptical because Virginia is such a bigoted state, but I can now see their strategy, it’s actually really clever.

Leave A Reply