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Notes and Renderings

The State of Matrimony

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Wedding CakeLast may, near the end of a year-long period in which six states legalized same-sex marriage, David Boies (LL.M. ’67) teamed with Bush v. Gore rival Theodore Olson to challenge Proposition 8, the ballot measure ending gay marriage in California. “This is not something that is a partisan issue,” but one of civil rights, said Boies in the New York Times.

Not all proponents applauded the bold move. Jennifer Pizer ’88, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, told the Times the federal suit was “risky and premature” and that a Supreme Court loss could set the cause back decades. But Olson, a Dwight D. Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration board member, countered, “We studied this very, very carefully,” adding that it was hard to tell clients, “Why don’t you…wait another five years?”

Meanwhile, antidiscrimination law expert Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law, weighed in on the sanctioning of same-sex marriage rights in multiple states—including Iowa and Vermont in the span of four days last April—in the Times, on NPR, and in other media outlets. In a podcast for the NYU Law Web site, Yoshino interpreted the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision: “A 7-0 decision says that there really isn’t an argument we can credit on the other side, and this manifests a movement away from thinking about the same-sex marriage issue as being up for debate and toward the idea that to be against same-sex marriage is like being against interracial marriage.” (Listen to the full interview at

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