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The Conservative Case For Marriage

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Judging simply by his resume, Ted Olson doesn't look like the likeliest proponent of gay marriage: The 69-year old helped end racial preferences in schools and hiring when he worked for Ronald Reagan and he successfully argued George W. Bush's case in Bush v. Gore in 2000.

But starting Monday in San Francisco, he will join his adversary in Bush v. Gore, David Boies, in arguing on behalf of two gay couples in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal case challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which outlaws marriage equality in the state.

In this week's Newsweek cover story, Olson explains his conservative case for gay marriage. His essay reads, in part:

"Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it."

Read Olson's full essay here, and follow Advocate news editor Andrew Harmon's live tweets from the Prop. 8 trial on Advocate.com or The Advocate's Twitter page starting Monday.

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