Prop 8 Lawyer Ted Boutrous: Discrimination Can’t Survive

The L.A.-based attorney on the team that argued California's Prop 8 case on behalf of plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo speaks to TheWrap about Wednesday's landmark decision

Theodore Boutrous was on the legal team that argued the Prop 8 case before the Supreme Court on behalf of plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, partners and California residents who sought to strike down the law. TheWrap reached Boutrous as he was boarding a plane from Washington D.C. back to Los Angeles after a jubilant day. Boutrous is a managing partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Sharon Waxman: How do you feel about the Supreme Court's decision?

Boutrous: This is a great day for California and America. The court's Prop 8 decision to restore marriage equality to California and DOMA creates a framework that should lead to marriage equality across the United States. The ruling is so powerful in how it analyzes DOMA in explaining how discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens can't survive constitutional scrutiny.

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Did the court accept your arguments, or merely decide that it was not their purview and relied on the lower court's ruling against Prop 8?

It played out nicely. The argument we made in the Prop 8 case spilled over to DOMA. The reasons DOMA was struck down tracked closely with the lower court striking down Prop 8. The Supreme Court applied the same principles that the lower court did.

They looked at it the two cases as a package. We set out to get rid of Prop 8, and to show this is not a partisan issue, not a Republican or Democratic issue, it's a civil rights issue. That’s what today demonstrated.

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Were you surprised?

Not at all. We had several scenarios mapped out. This was high on the list of possibilities. Vaughn R. Walker's (retired U.S. district judge) is the governing decision. And the attorney general today said that marriages should commence as soon as it can be administratively managed. So our cients – Paul Katamic and Jeff Zarillo – can get married. This has been a four-year process. I was their first lawyer. We've come a long way. And weddings are a great way to celebrate.

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