GO HOME: Griffin & Co. Formally Shun Gay Rights Groups In Prop 8 Lawuit


Ted Olson and David Boies have made clear (on behalf of their clients!) they don’t want anyone messing with their federal Prop 8 lawsuit. They don’t even want the City of San Francisco mucking things up. And they said as much in open court. Or at least open court filings.

When the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights bashed the lawsuit, Olson and Boies’ clients (notably, Chad Griffin, who’s the public point person for the American Foundation for Equal Rights) were all “whatever.” Then these orgs wanted in. And Olson and Boies were again, “whatever.” But also: “Go F yourselves.”

With Perry v. Schwarzenegger suddenly expected to yield favorable results, marriage equality supporters of all stripes are trying to join teams. Griffin doesn’t want that nonsense, and is publicly saying that adding any new plaintiffs to the lawsuit will only hold things up. Which may be true. But he’s probably also hella pissed the very organizations who he thought should’ve supported him from the beginning are now Johnny Come Latelys, who will happily take credit for all the work (and money) his team has expended.


But it’s not just civil liberties organizations who are trying to join the lawsuit. The City of San Francisco wants to play, too.

Not so fast, Griffin & Co. once again warn. They’ve got to make their case to the judge overseeing things, and on Sunday they did just that with new motions trying to block all third-parties from joining the suit. To be sure, the motions make clear Griffin is slightly more keen on letting San Francisco join the suit than a bunch of Gay Inc. organizations, but as has been their position all along, they want these guys kept on the sidelines, not clogging up the plaintiff’s table.

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  • Bill

    I don’t blame these attorneys one bit. ‘Our’ people fucked this up royally the first time. I mean, Jesus H Christ, did you see Shanon Minter argue this case? It was a joke. Worse than a joke. Didn’t even have the balls to argue the merits of the case, instead choosing to try and get Prop 8 repealed on a technicality. It was embarassing. For ALL of us.

    It is time for ‘our’ groups to move aside. They seem more interested in keeping our $$$ rolling in than they do in securing our equality these days anyway. Good ‘ole Joe at HRC – time to shut up, dude. You’re kind of a joke and have lost touch with our goals and objectives.

    And quite frankly, our groups have shown that they lack the skill and professionalism to get this job done.

    Time to let the big boys handle this one. And instead of fighting like a bunch of little bitches about it, one would think these groups would have the sense that God gave a billy-goat and let experienced attorneys handle this.

  • Jere

    @Bill: Yeah, that Shannon Minter, what a joke! Did you see the ridiculous way he won the re: Marriage Cases suit that legalized gay marriage in California in the first place!

    And Queerty is totally right, it’s Lambda Legal, NCLR and ACLU with their “Johnny Come Lately” entitlement who are totally riding the coattails of AFER and their twenty years of positive precedent building including Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans. Who do they think they are? It’s not like they have experience and a history of success in arguing LGBT rights. [/sarcasm]

    Honestly, this analysis of the legal groups as money-hungry imbeciles who bumbled Prop 8 and now want to snatch up glory is as shallow as it is offensive. It’s like nothing that happened prior to November 2008 even matters anymore.

  • BillinIL

    @Bill: Maybe you should get your facts straight before spewing ignorance.

    “‘Our’ people fucked this up royally the first time.”
    Actually, THIS GROUP of “our” people WON the first time. It was a little case called In re: Marriage Cases, the case that actually WON marriage in California. Then ANOTHER group of “our” people – which included Chad Griffin – LOST an election that we went into several points ahead. At which point THIS GROUP had to come back and file a long shot lawsuit to try to regain what they’d won and Griffin & Co. lost.

    “Good ‘ole Joe at HRC – time to shut up, dude.”
    HRC is in no way involved in this lawsuit. Read it again: HRC is in NO WAY involved in this lawsuit.

    “let experienced attorneys handle this.”
    Gay rights suits won by Olson/Boies: 0
    Gay rights suits won by Lambda/NCLR/ACLU: hundreds, including marriage cases in Connecticut, California and Iowa.

    And from the original post: “new motions trying to block all third-parties from joining the suit.”
    They’re actually only trying to block the groups on OUR side from joining the suit. They haven’t opposed letting any of the groups on the OTHER side join. So their strategy is let as many of the enemies in as possible, but not your allies. That sounds smart.

    Finally, food for thought, the Alliance Defense Fund is arguing that neither these groups or the City of SF should be allowed in. Do you think maybe that’s because they know that the groups that have successfully won marriage in several states might actually make it HARDER for them to convince a judge to deny equal protection? Hmmm… I wonder…

  • J.Lowrot

    This case will lose. It will lose big time. Remember Plessy v. Ferguson that established “separate but equal”? Remember Bowers v. Hardwick that upheld sodomy laws. Bowers was used as a justification to take people’s kids away if they were gay or fire them from public office because they were gay? Well, this case will set exactly the same bad precedent.

    At least Lambda Legal has the intelligence not to bring a lawsuit that will do more harm than good.

  • Cam

    They will slow the case by joining, If they want to help, fine, volunteer their legal teams research informational searches. Other than that there is no reason to join a case in progress other than to try to grab credit. As for the people saying that this case will be like Plessy V. Ferguson etc… Um, those cases were also overturned, If you are going to say, with certainty, that this case is going to lose and will do more harm than good, how about providing some backing to these contentions?

  • Flex

    I am absolutely delighted that Olson, and Boies, are managing the Perry Vs. Schwarzenegger case. I have complete confidence in their abilities to articulate the arguments why proposition 8 is wrong. They have crystalized the facts of decades worth of hateful animosity towards us, and will use it against our opponents where it counts, in a court of law. We’re going to ram proposition 8 straight up their ass!

  • Andrea

    You just dispelled any lingering doubts I had that Queerty ranks the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to LGBTQ journalism.

    Perry v. Schwarzenegger is NOT “suddenly expected to yield favorable results.” Rather, with Boise and Olson’s their clumsy trial work and their insistence that the development of a factual record is unnecessary, it’s suddenly clear that Griffin et al. are setting the LGBT community up for a court defeat that SETS THE ENTIRE LGBTQ CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT BACK 30 YEARS.

    In fact, 30 years is optimistic — it took more than twice that long for Plessy v. Ferguson to be struck from the books, or for the court to change course about sex discrimination and equal protection.

    If (excuse me, when) the Court rejects Boise & Olson’s narrow proposition that there is a “constitutional right” to gay marriage, and rules that LGBT people are NOT a suspect class, we will be shut out from litigating sexual orientation equal protection cases, employment discrimination cases, you name it, except under the toothless standard of rational-basis review…

  • Andrea

    @Cam: It’s called “Stare Decsis,” Cam. The Supreme Court is reluctant to revist their own precedent. Hence the fact that Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), was “overturned
    sixty years later in 1954.

  • Andrew

    Good for them. Have at it.

    Gay, Inc. should stay on the sidelines and continue what they’ve been doing for decades: nothing.

    We need to figure out how to incentivize our equality. Nobody is doing anything that has the potential of us winning. They just keep raising money and looking busy.

    Somebody tell us HOW we are going to WIN. And, before you do it, don’t give me the “it’s a whole bunch of little things,” or “it’s going to take time.”

    We are complete idiots if we don’t have a strategy and plan to WIN.

  • J.Lowrot

    @Andrew: So what’s the strategy to win? You need at a minimum 5 Supreme Court justices who will vote to find a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. Which five justices are those? Please name them and explain why you think they will vote that way.

    The highest courts of New York, New Jersey, Washington, Vermont and Maryland — all supposedly “blue states” — did not find a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. Why will the U.S. Supreme Court?

    If you’re looking for a strategy to “WIN,” this is not it.

  • Pop Snap

    All the more reason why we need to devote our time, money, and efforts to getting a new Prop allowing Gay Marriages BACK onto the ballots. This will effectively cancel their lawsuit because it will have solved the problem.

    I’d like to be optimistic and point out stuff like the reversal of interracial marriage was done when more people were against it, and they could use that as well as Lawrence v. Texas as precedent. This is the only way they could win-set up something like “if you rule against us, you will only delay the inevitable”. Because marriage equality IS inevitable. When has ANY civil rights movement failed?

  • Stephen Weiss

    So, totally agree with the lawyers on this one. These guys are professionals. More than that, they’re *damn* good lawyers. Just look at their case histories. Why, why on earth would we want them to be joining forces with people who are so… hit or miss. Ok, maybe not the ACLU – I love the ACLU. I donate to them. But still… do we really need the ACLU involved when we have these guys? They practically eat breakfast at the supreme court. Let them handle it.

  • Dan

    Only Nixon could go to China, and, sadly, only straight lawyers can win our rights. Gay lawyers are instantly dismissed by the good old boys as distorted fags, while lawyers with the stature of Boies and Olson bring instant credibility. Sad, but true.

  • Andrea

    @Stephen Weiss: There’s a big difference between being a good appellate lawyer and a good trial lawyer. That’s the issue here.

  • Bonnie J Bass

    Subject: Response to the Heterosexual Manifesto entered into U.S. Congressional Record 1987
    We, the America who are Straight, blessed in the eyes of God Most High, under obligation by Adonai Who condemned all forms of sodomy to include oral sex, anal sex, incest, child molestation, bi-sexuality, bestiality, instrumental rape, perform Justice in America upon all betraying truth. To them who condemn us who are straight, we respond in like manner that was placed into law in 1987 when gays implemented The Hetero Manifesto approved by Congress.
    CIC Bonnie J Bass, The People’s Army.

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