Mid-day report: Prop 8 trial closing arguments

Ted Olson

Ted Olson

Conservative attorney Ted Olson relied heavily this morning on comparisons between the current ban on same-sex marriage and the ban that existed in the 1960s on interracial marriage. The claim by supporters of Proposition 8, he said, that marriage has traditionally been understood to be one man and one woman, does not constitute a reason to ban same-sex marriage.

That, said Olson, is a “because I said so”-type reason. That “would justify racially segregated schools” in the 60’s.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker fired off some tough questions for Olson, who was leading the legal team challenging California’s same-sex marriage ban.

He noted, for instance, a Supreme Court decision that said “any debatable” explanation would pass muster. But the questions had the tone of a devil’s advocate. And Olson quickly cited Supreme Court decisions that held negative attitudes about a group such as gays cannot be used to justify a law.

The San Francisco courtroom was filled to capacity Wednesday morning, with room enough to accommodate only about a dozen members of the public, who waited in line since 5:45 a.m. to get in.

Closing arguments continue this afternoon with Judge Walker hearing from supporters of Proposition 8.

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