Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the first same-sex couple married in Los Angeles County in June and the first plaintiffs named in the historic lawsuit that overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage, wasted no time filing a new lawsuit with California’s Supreme Court Wednesday morning.
Though the fate of Prop. 8 -- which would ban same-sex marriage in the state of California -- is still in the hands of the as yet uncounted three million provisional and absentee ballots, the 'Yes on 8' campaign claimed victory Wednesday morning. Tyler, Olsen and their Hollywood power attorney Gloria Allred announced at a press conference at Allred’s Wilshire Blvd. office this afternoon they would file a new lawsuit challenging Prop. 8’s constitutionality.
Despite widespread finger pointing at the high turnout of Black voters and the financial backing of the Mormon church for ensuring Prop 8’s passage, the couple said that the 'No on 8' campaign -- specifically Los Angeles based efforts -- dropped the ball, helping the measure to pass.
"A few weeks ago I said, 'If we won it would be despite No on 8 and if we lost it would be because of No on 8,” Tyler said, accusing the campaign of utilizing ‘check book’ politics that replaced unified grassroots organizing. She said the campaign kept the faces of gay marriage out of the campaign’s ads.
While Tyler and Olsen had geared up for another public, political battle in the courts even before Election Day came and went, the effect of Prop. 8's showing at the polls was etched on their faces as they spoke.
“The fact that some people would like to undo our ‘I do’ makes me very sad,” Olsen said.
Tyler emphasized that the LGBT community needs to frame the marriage issue as the civil rights issue that it is, calling Prop. 8 unconstitutional for violating California’s Equal Protection clause.
“This is a civil rights issue,” Tyler said. “It is not about a lifestyle, it is about our lives.”
Faced with the question of whether domestic partnerships that afforded the same benefits as marriage without the word “marriage” would suffice for her, Tyler said, “Separate is never equal.”
“We’re not going to drink from the separate water fountain of marriage,” Tyler said.
Allred spoke out about the terminology of civil unions and domestic partnerships versus marriage.
“Marriage is a fundamental right. The ‘M’ word means something special,” she said, adding that’s it's because marriage is unique that opponents want to keep it all to themselves.
As the suit makes its way through the California Supreme Court Tyler and Olsen will continue their struggle for marriage equality. Tyler told reporters that the couple would not take Prop. 8’s passage lightly and that they were not going away.
“I love Robin,” Olsen said. “We just want our equal rights.”