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Popular Topics in Social Sciences
Stonewall Riots Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.
Gay Liberation Front
Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980 The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
Leather Culture
"Leather" is a blanket term for a large array of sexual preferences, identities, relationship structures, and social organizations loosely tied together by the thread of what is conventionally understood as sadomasochistic sex.
Anthony, Susan B. Anthony, Susan B.
Although best known for her crusade for women's suffrage, Susan B. Anthony spoke out on a range of feminist issues.
Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
Androgyny Androgyny
Androgyny, a psychological blending of gender traits, has long been embraced by strong women, soft men, members of queer communities, and others who do not easily fit into traditionally defined gender categories.
A cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe, Russia has a long, rich, and often violent heritage of varied influences and stark confrontations in regard to its patterns of same-sex love.
Topics In the News
Theodore Olson: "The Case Has Changed My Life a Lot"
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/25/13
Last updated on: 03/25/13
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Theodore Olson.

On March 26, 2013, renowned litigator Theodore Olson, in his sixtieth appearance before the Supreme Court of the United States, will argue that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The Prop 8 case, he remarked recently, has been transformative for him: "it has changed my life a lot."

In a revealing profile in the Los Angeles Times by Timothy Phelps, Olson discusses how he has been changed by the case.

Phelps writes of Olson, "He speaks with passion, and sometimes a tear, about the gay men and women, including Republicans, who reach out to thank him."

"Oh, there's some people who are not very happy about it," he said. But the case "has changed my life a lot because I think this is so enormously important to so many people. When I talk about it I get very emotional. . . . I found out that some people I never guessed were gay. Lawyers came up to me and disclosed that about themselves."

The profile also credits Olson's second wife, Lady Booth Olson, with influencing Olson. She says that what changed her husband was the case itself. He did not change to handle the case, she explained, rather, the case changed him.

"When you look discrimination in the face--these people who got up and testified for hours about what it's like to be denied the right to marry--it's transformative, really," she said. "I think he's starting to open his mind and heart a little bit more than he used to."

As recounted in our glbtq.com entry on Chad Griffin, Olson was recruited to lead a challenge to Proposition 8 by Griffin and his friends Rob and Michele Reiner after its passage in November 2008.

After the devastating loss at the polls, the Reiners and Griffin decided to try a different approach: to go to federal court and argue that marriage is a fundamental right and that denying it to same-sex couples violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

To her surprise, Michele Reiner learned from a friend that Olson, a Republican who had represented George W. Bush in the Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 Presidential election, Bush v. Gore, was a supporter of same-sex marriage.

Fearful that gay groups might be suspicious of him because he had been the personal attorney of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush's Solicitor General, Olson suggested bringing in Democratic attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore.

To support the lawsuit Griffin and the Reiners launched the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and the journey toward the Supreme Court began.

In the video below, from February 2012, Olson talks with Rachel Maddow about the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

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