Sundance: Prop 8 Lawyer Wants Gay Marriage 'In All 50 States in Five Years'
PARK CITY, Utah -- The Sundance premiere for Ryan White and Ben Cotner's Proposition 8 documentary The Case Against 8 at Temple Theatre on Saturday afternoon drew one of the most enthusiastic audience responses of the festival to date.
Lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies, who successfully fought to overturn California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, were on hand for a Q&A that followed a sustained standing ovation after the film's credits rolled. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court.
But the pair said the battle will continue as legislation and legal maneuvering are introduced in states that have not benefited from a Supreme Court ruling like California, where the high court struck down the controversial proposition in June.
"The goal is to have marriage equality in all 50 states in five years," Olson said. If you look at the progress that has been made since June, I think you can see that we are well on our way."
Olson and Boies have joined a case that is pending in Virginia.
"There will be a variety of processes," Olson said of the legal strategy moving forward. "You will see it in some states by legislation. You will see it in some states by a state court. And you will see it in states where it doesn't work in a federal court. We've seen it in a federal court here in Utah in the past couple of weeks."
Olson and Boies, who first became household names after squaring off during the George W. Bush-Al Gore presidential recount legal battle in 2000 (Olson repped Bush; Boies handled Gore), were joined onstage by board members of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, including co-founder Chad Griffin, Rob Reiner and producer Bruce Cohen.
The film premiered against the backdrop of Utah's same-sex marriage battles. The Supreme Court stayed a federal court ruling allowing gay unions in Utah. (Olson and Boies are not involved with the Utah case.) An audience member who recently married her same-sex partner offered an emotional thank you to plaintiff Kristin Perry, who also was onstage.
"I think everyone on this stage is committed to do everything we can do to make sure [that] goal [is realized]," Boies said.
Added Olson: "We are willing to help out wherever we possibly can … to make sure that as soon as possible every person in this country is treated equally with respect to the basic fundamental rights in our Constitution."
The Case Against 8, which is in Sundance's U.S. Documentary Competition, will debut on HBO in June.