GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Third fin­ger, left hand. If you’re wear­ing a ring there, chances are that it means more than a bit of me­tal around your digit. It’s un­doubt­edly more pre­cious than the sum of its parts.

It means a com­mit­ment of mar­riage— that is, if you can get mar­ried, be­cause some still can­not. And in the new book “Speak Now” by Kenji Yoshino, you’ll read about a trial that im­pacted many an en­gage­ment.

Just be­fore Kenji Yoshino mar­ried his hus­band Ron in 2009, the of­fi­ciant pulled the cou­ple aside and re­minded them that, though they were re­ally no dif­fer­ent than any other two peo­ple in love, he could not marry them un­der fed­eral law be­cause of DOMA. As they said their vows in Con­necti­cut, another le­gal drama on the other side of the coun­try was just be­gin­ning …

Only four states rec­og­nized same-sex mar­riage then; Cal­i­for­nia wasn’t one of them. In 2008, that state’s vot­ers passed Propo­si­tion 8, ef­fec­tively amend­ing its con­sti­tu­tion to al­low le­gal mar­riage be­tween op­po­site-sex cou­ples only. A le­gal chal­lenge to Prop 8 was filed in Cal­i­for­nia in May of 2009, which ul­ti­mately opened the doors for an un­likely pair of lawyers to take the is­sue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At­tor­ney Ted Ol­son was fa­mous for help­ing to put Ge­orge Bush in of­fice in 2000, and had worked in Ron­ald Rea­gan’s Jus­tice Depart­ment. Though Ol­son was known for his con­ser­va­tive stance, he was friends with David Boies, a renowned, more lib­eral lit­i­ga­tor. They seized the op­por­tu­nity to ar­gue this im­por­tant case to­gether, and be­gan lay­ing the foun­da­tion for it.

But their un­usual pair­ing wasn’t the only unique­ness in Hollingsworth v. Perry: The judge as­signed to the case was known to be gay. Lead coun­sel for de­fense of Prop 8 had once flirted with a pro base­ball ca­reer. Both sides tried to keep di­rect men­tions of sex out of the court­room. In the end, chil­dren played a large part.

And, though nei­ther side wanted it, the case went to trial.

That last point, says au­thor Kenji Yoshi-

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