David Boies Calls Progress On Prop 8 Lawsuit 'Frustratingly Slow'
NEW YORK -- Speaking at the first gay wedding ceremony held in New York's Four Seasons restaurant, lawyer David Boies, who is challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, told HuffPost on Sunday that progress on the case has been "frustratingly slow."
Boies, who is arguing the lawsuit on behalf of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, noted that more than a year has passed since then-U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California. But the appeals court to which conservative groups took their case after that has yet to rule on whether it will uphold Walker's decision. Same-sex couples cannot currently be married in the state.
"We still don't have a decision," Boies said. "Every day, people's constitutional rights are being restricted."
As Boies spoke, Aretha Franklin was belting out one of her legendary soul songs at the wedding of Bill White and Bryan Eure in Manhattan. The two well-connected New Yorkers made their marriage a high-profile affair to drive home the fact that gay couples in 44 states still don't have the right to marry. White is the former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Eure is a senior vice president at the insurance brokerage Willis.
Celebrities in attendance included Barbara Walters, Lou Dobbs, record label impresario Clive Davis and Oprah confidante Gayle King. Many of New York's political figures attended as well, including former Gov. David Paterson, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Mayor David Dinkins and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
The ceremony was wrapped in patriotic trappings: red, white and blue carpets, flanked by a Navy JROTC color guard, welcomed attendees into the iconic Seagram Building that houses the Four Seasons. Many of the guests inside were veterans friendly with White from his Intrepid days.
Evan Dash, a retired Navy lieutenant commander who was keeping watch over the color guard out front, said its presence at the wedding was sanctioned by the Navy.
"It went up the chain of command," he said. He added that he thought the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which prevented gay members of the military from serving openly, "was inevitable, and a positive development."
After White was married to his longtime partner, a broad smile stretched across his face. "We're pretty damn lucky to be Americans," he told his guests.
"It's time for the rest of the country to get with the program," he added.
Boies hopes that events like White and Eure's wedding will eventually become "so ordinary that no one would think to comment on it."
When HuffPost asked Davis, who founded Arista Records, if it was particularly appropriate for Aretha Franklin to usher in the first same-sex marriage performed in the Four Seasons, his response underscored Boies's point.
"It's a wedding, isn't it?" Davis said.
View a selection of photos from the wedding: