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David Boies and the Battle for Marriage Equality

Noted trial attorney David Boies spoke in Louisville on March 24, 2015 at the University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forum. Boies has taken on numerous high-profile cases at the federal level, including  Westmoreland v. CBS, United States v. Microsoft, and Bush v. Gore. He was selected in 2010 by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World

Boies writes about the battle for marriage equality in his recent book, "Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality." The book provides a dramatic and up-close account of his arguments, and ultimate triumph, in the landmark Supreme Court case which struck down Proposition 8, reinstating the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians in California.

The full Kentucky Author Forum interview audio can be streamed below.  Here are a few excerpts:

On the basis for marriage equality: "When I grew up, in many states in this country, you had to be different sex and the same race in order to get married. In 1967 the Supreme Court held that you could not preclude people of different races from marrying. And I thought the same principle really applied here:  it made no sense to try to prevent people of the same sex from getting married, any more than it made sense to prevent people of different races from getting married."

The human side of the issue: "We wanted the American people to be able to see what we were trying to establish at the trial, and part of that was to put a human face on it [...] We started the case with four individuals -- two couples who wanted to get married -- and we put them on the stand and we just had them talk about their life and how they felt about their partner and why they wanted to get married, and what not being able to get married meant to them and their children. And it was one of the most moving experiences in my life, to see them."

Why it matters: "Nobody celebrates the anniversary of a civil union.  Marriage is a sanctioning of a relationship; it is the approval of the relationship. It is something you share with your family and your friends. It is a way of celebrating a life and a love, and a way saying to the entire community, 'we are partners for life.' To be deprived of that and to be told that you can't have that is to be told that you're a second class citizen; that your love isn't equal; that you yourself are not equal; and ultimately your children are not equal."

Boies is interviewed by Jeffrey Toobin at this Kentucky Author Forum.

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Brad Yost is a senior producer for LPM. Email Brad at byost@lpm.org.

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