October 16, 2013 at 6:25 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Olson makes contribution to Cuccinelli campaign

David Boies, Ted Olson, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Ted Olson and David Boies (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

One of the lawyers who recently joined a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban contributed to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign last month.

A campaign finance report that Cuccinelli filed with the Virginia State Board of Elections on Tuesday noted former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson gave $1,000 to Cuccinelli’s campaign on Sept. 3. Olson, who served in the position under then-President George W. Bush from 2001-2004, contributed to Cuccinelli’s campaign less than a month before the American Foundation for Equal Rights announced that lawyers representing Timothy Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Richmond asked him and David Boies to join their case.

Olson and Boies in March argued against the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 before the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices in June struck down the state’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban.

Olson noted during a Sept. 30 press conference in D.C. at which AFER formally announced his and Boies’ involvement in the Bostic case that Thomas Jefferson and many of the country’s other founding fathers are from the commonwealth.

“Of all places in the United States, Virginia should recognize the rights of equality,” Olson said. “Men and women in that state have the same basic fundamental underlying freedoms that everyone in America has.”

Cuccinelli reaffirmed his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples during a Sept. 25 debate against former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe in McLean. Cuccinelli referenced the Bostic case and a second lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Virginia filed in August on behalf of two lesbian couples from Richmond and Staunton who had been denied marriage licenses as he said he would defend the state constitution as governor.

“We have two lawsuits running now on this matter,” Cuccinelli said. “And the duty of the attorney general and the duty of the governor is to defend our constitution.”

Neither Olson nor AFER immediately returned the Washington Blade’s request for comment.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Great reporting; thank you. Michael.

  • Olson is making a symbolic donation to maintains his conservative street cred. It also prevents Cuccinelli from complaining that Olson is attacking him personally. (Yes, that accusation makes no sense, but logic never stopped a conservative before.) The donation won't affect election results. Cuccinelli has to concentrate on the most populous region of Virginia, which is liberal and expensive. $1,000 won't go far.

  • Great expose! Thank you. But the article gets this important detail wrong, saying, “The justices in June struck down the state’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban.” This is incorrect. The justices did not strike down Prop 8. They held that they had lacked the authority to hear the appeal (i.e. they lacked jurisdiction). This effectively left the trial court’s 2010 ruling in place, and effectively killed Prop 8. So the outcome seems identical to the outcome we would have had if the justices had in fact “struck down” Prop 8. But legally it is different, and the legal difference is important: If the justices had “struck down” Prop 8, it would (very probably) have had much, much more significant implications for other bans on same-sex marriage across the country. But they didn’t do that. The justices saved the constitutional battle over state bans on same-sex marriage for another day. – MK (youthallies [dot] com)

  • Sound analysis

  • Or, just maybe, Olsen supports the lt. gov on 95% of the issues. This is just one area where the two disagree.

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