The Faces of Federal Prop. 8

With the federal challenge to Prop. 8 moving full speed ahead, Advocate.com sits down with the two couples named as plaintiffs in the suit.

BY Andrew Gumbel

July 01 2009 11:00 PM ET

PAUL KATAMI JEFF ZARRILLO X390 (FOUNDATIONFOREQUALRIGHTS.ORG) | ADVOCATE.COM

How did your work on Prop. 8 lead to your involvement in the suit?Katami: Through a series of concentric circles of people our PSA led us to Chad and Christina [Schake, his consultancy partner]. Zarrillo: We spoke at length with Chad and Christina and really felt now was the time to act. We agreed we would support anything.

Were you concerned that some LBGT rights groups were not in favor of going to federal court?Katami: It was an incredibly thoughtful process. Of course, we would not have this kind of momentum without the achievements that those organizations have fought for us to this point. That needs absolutely to be applauded. But when is the right time? The right time is now. Zarrillo: Knowing we had Ted Olson and David Boies and knowing their history really made us energized.

Were you surprised that Olson, one of the country's leading conservative lawyers, would join your cause?Katami: We were both surprised at Ted Olson. We had followed what happened in 2000 fairly closely. But two lawyers who fought against each other [in the Bush v. Gore fight over Florida's electoral votes] were now fighting for us because they knew in their heart of hearts that this was not about where they came from, but was about equality. Having Ted put his arm around me and say, "We're going to plan your wedding," that was amazing.

What reactions have you had to your involvement in the suit?Katami: We went out for a birthday party at a local pub recently, and someone I had never met came up and said: "You're that guy, I need to give you a hug." Really, though, it's the least we can do. We're just a small part of this.

Tags: Politics

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