In June 2008, the California Supreme Court allowed same-sex couples to be married in the state. In November 2008, a ballot initiative called Proposition 8 was adopted by California voters, amending the California Constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. The case against 8 is about Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge to prove that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. To that effect the newly founded American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) hired two of the best lawyers in the country. David Boies and Theodore (Ted) Olson knew each other very well. They were on opposite sides of Bush v. Gore, about the 2000 presidential election recount controversy. Conservative Ted Olson was greatly criticized by both by his conservative friends and by the gay community, but proved to be a staunch defender of marriage equality. The film is an overview of the five-year battle Boies, Olson and their team go through, from District court hearings in 2010 to the Supreme court decision in 2013. But the heart of the film belongs to the four plaintiffs. AFER chose two couples to represent the gay couples who were wronged by Proposition 8. Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier are a lesbian couple with four sons. Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo are the other plaintiffs. As they get quizzed by the lawyers and talk about the commitments they feel towards their respective partners, but also of having been denied a right granted to everyone else, of being second class citizens, they get emotional, as we do. The amazing thing about The case against 8, is that most of us were aware of the case and already knew the outcome. Yet, this documentary is exciting, full of suspense, and also works as a tear-jerker. “I love him more than myself”, Jeffrey Zarrillo tells the court about his husband Paul Katami. And love is what it’s all about, isn’t it?
The case against 8