One Year Out: HRC President Chad Griffin’s Road to the Supreme Court
March 26, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
On this day, one year ago, two couples boldly stood before the highest Court in the nation on behalf of the loving, committed same-sex couples of California. But the road that led the plaintiffs – Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Zarrillo and Jeff Katami – to the steps of the Supreme Court for oral arguments in their case, Hollingsworth v. Perry began with HRC President Chad Griffin many years before.
Prior to taking the helm of the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, Griffin was fighting to return marriage equality to California. After Proposition 8 passed in 2008, he wasn’t content waiting around for the political winds to change. Instead, he took action, helping to found the American Foundation for Equal Rights, to recruit the bipartisan legal dream team of Ted Olson and David Boies, and to challenge the discriminatory law in federal court—racking up momentous legal victories for the equality movement. Today, Griffin’s tenacious pursuit of justice has earned him a seat in history.
After years battling for their day at the Supreme Court, the team of plaintiffs, lawyers and the man that brought them all together, gathered on the precipice of history. In the early morning hours of a now historic day of oral arguments, they looked on as HRC President Chad Griffin delivered the following remarks:
"This has been a long journey for all of us. For these two couples, the simple pursuit of justice—and their incredible commitment to one another—led them from county clerks offices in California to our nation’s capital here in Washington D.C. For those of us who have helped lead this case, and for our incredible legal team headed by Ted Olson and David Boies, we’ve come from the steps of federal district court to today’s arguments at the highest court in the land. And for the American people, these past four years have been a journey toward broad and growing support for full equality for all—58% according to the latest poll. Today may mark a milestone moment on this journey, but it also reminds us of the work still ahead—work that will continue until each and every American—in all 50 of our states—enjoys equal justice under the law. "
From the ban on marriage equality in California to the Supreme Court, Hollingsworth v. Perry captured the nation’s attention and provoked an unprecedented outpouring of support for same-sex couples in 2013. For a deeper dive into the road to Supreme Court, Pulitzer Pride-winning journalist Jo Becker’s Forcing the Spring is an unparalleled testament to the last five years in the American civil rights movement. Called a "thrilling narrative of hope" by the Kirkus Reviews, Forcing the Spring is a must-read.
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