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Ted Olson’s Opening Statement


By Julia Rosen

The Equal Right’s Foundation just released Ted Olson’s opening statement as prepared for delivery.

Here is the first part, click on over to their site for the full statement:

This case is about marriage and equality. Plaintiffs are being denied both the right to marry, and the right to equality under the law.

The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly described the right to marriage as “one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men;” a “basic civil right;” a component of the constitutional rights to liberty, privacy, association, and intimate choice; an expression of emotional support and public commitment; the exercise of spiritual unity; and a fulfillment of one’s self.

In short, in the words of the highest court in the land, marriage is “the most important relation in life,” and “of fundamental importance for all individuals.”

As the witnesses in this case will elaborate, marriage is central to life in America. It promotes mental, physical and emotional health and the economic strength and stability of those who enter into a marital union. It is the building block of family, neighborhood and community. The California Supreme Court has declared that the right to marry is of “central importance to an individual’s opportunity to live a happy, meaningful, and satisfying life as a full member of society.”

Proposition 8 ended the dream of marriage, the most important relation in life, for the plaintiffs and hundreds of thousands of Californians.



  • 1. kristin  |  January 11, 2010 at 7:10 am

    It is so amazing and wonderful to read such a brilliant and moving opening statement knowing that it came from *Ted Olson*

    From this and the updates received by Rick, I am very impressed with Mr. Olson and am happy to have him in court and on our side.

  • 2. Reg  |  January 11, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Really…? marriage is "central" to life…. ? the "building block" of community…..? So, a single person CAN"T be happy??? I'm not so sure I think this is the best argument to be making…. at ALL!!!

  • 3. Terry  |  January 11, 2010 at 8:32 am

    @Reg: Ditto.

    The rights conferred upon couples in "traditional" marriage (whether same sex or otherwise) are discriminatory against single people or people in poly amorous arrangements.

  • 4. Jeremy  |  January 11, 2010 at 9:19 am

    It's about making an argument with which the other side cannot disagree.

    As for asexual people, misanthropes, determined bachelors, shut-ins, and others who may be offended with this line of reasoning, I sympathize with you. I really do. I have many great friends in your ranks. But, as far as I know, there hasn't been a nationwide effort to deprive you of your rights and freedoms.

  • 5. Terry  |  January 11, 2010 at 10:30 am


    Yes there has. It's called Marriage. Non-married people have been deprived of these rights for ages (e.g,. the right to tax benefits and/or disadvantages associated with jointly filed tax returns my married couples).

  • 6. Robin Tyler  |  January 11, 2010 at 9:46 am

    correction: Robin Tyler, Petitionner to overturn Prop 8.
    (Tyler v state of California)

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