On Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle asked Ted Olson three questions:
Q: How did a conservative Republican like you come to support gay rights?
A: I don’t remember any (one) point at which I came to the conclusion that gay and lesbian people should be permitted to have the same relationships as the rest of us…I grew up in the Bay Area (Mountain View), went to law school in Berkeley, practiced law in Southern California for 15 years. I’ve developed respect for people’s decisions in private sexual affairs…
Q: What do you say to liberals and gay rights groups who look at you with suspicion and think you’re really out to sabotage their cause?
A: I’ve been practicing law almost 45 years. No one who has ever seen me or known me would think I would ever take up a matter to lose a case or for the purpose of betraying my client…It shouldn’t be seen in political terms. It should be seen as a constitutional question.
Q: What about the conservatives who think you’ve lost your mind?
A: I’m getting some looks, and I’m getting some comments. (I tell them) if individuals love one another and want to live in a stable relationship recognized by the state as a community and a family, that strikes me as a conservative value.
Listen, I understand why Ted believes in gay marriage as a value. (Although I’m having more trouble with Ted imagining that getting the government involved in gay marriage represents respect for “private sexual affairs”).
I have only one question for Ted: How exactly did you come to believe you have the right to use the Constitution (i.e. the power of government) to impose your values? I have seen the arguments he and David Boies are using in the case to strike down Prop 8 and impose gay marriage on all 50 states. They are standard liberal fare — speaking constitutionally, not politically.
The constitutionally conservative position would be to side with say, LDS Elder Dallen Oakes, who recently said in a major speech (as Bill Duncan noted), “Those who seek to change the foundation of marriage should not be allowed to pretend that those who defend the ancient order are trampling on civil rights.”
“There are civil rights involved in this — the right to speak your mind, to participate in the election,” Oakes later told the AP. “But you don’t have a civil right to win an election or retaliate against those who prevail.”