A landmark lawsuit seeking to overturn California’s Proposition 8 is set to begin today, but with a surprising twist – Ted Olson, conservative legal whiz and former Solicitor General (i.e. top government lawyer) under the Bush administration, will be arguing against Prop 8. A former Bush official arguing for the gays? Olson explained his support to Newsweek (h/t Towleroad):

“…same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.”

And…

“This bedrock American principle of equality is central to the political and legal convictions of Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives alike. The dream that became America began with the revolutionary concept expressed in the Declaration of Independence in words that are among the most noble and elegant ever written: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

The Perry v. Schwarzenegger is expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court, and the National Organization for Marriage is already expecting they won’t win before the case gets there. At the same time, asks the New Yorker, is it too soon to bring this case before the Supreme court?

Why push the Court far ahead of public opinion if public opinion is moving in that direction anyway? Even a victory for Olson and Boies could cut one of two ways. It could be like Brown v. Board of Education, which accelerated a gradual shift in public opinion. Or it could be like Roe v. Wade, in 1973, which interrupted a move toward abortion rights, and froze public opinion in two polarized camps.

Elsewhere…

D.C. – Two more ballot measures proposed that wouild kill Washington D.C.’s same-gender marriage law. (The DC Agenda)

Iowa – Meanwhile, Iowans rally in support of marriage as the legislative session begins. (OneIowa)

New York – The (not gay) victim of a beating-and-robbery was threatened by his assailant’s boyfriend with another beating if he testified. The 20-year-old was assaulted by two women shouting anti-gay slurs outside a Buffalo shopping center. (Joe.My.God)

Illinois – Speaking of bashings, a Chicago gay man was beaten as he tried to break up a late-night fight on the subway, and only escaped after smearing blood on an attacker and telling him he was HIV-positive (which wasn’t true). (Towleroad)

Massachusetts – The race to replace Ted Kennedy is getting kinda close. Will the homophobe or the ally win? (The Boston Globe, AmericaBlog)

Utah – Lesbian legislator to carry gay couple’s baby. In Utah. (Towleroad)

Uganda – Fissures are emerging in Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet over the “Kill Gays” bill. At least no-one’s saying the bill is good: the division is over whether or not to pressure the bill’s sponsor to withdraw it. (Box Turtle Bulletin)

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James Sanna

James Sanna is the Assistant Editor.