Margaret Talbot sets the table for Perry v. Schwarzenegger in this week's New Yorker. The stakes are high.
If the Perry case succeeds before the Supreme Court, it could mean that gay marriage would be permitted not only in California but in every state. And, if the Court recognized homosexuals as indistinguishable from heterosexuals for the purposes of marriage law, it would be hard, if not impossible, to uphold any other laws that discriminated against people on the basis of sexual orientation. However, a loss for Olson and Boies could be a major setback to the movement for marriage equality. Soon after Olson and Boies filed the case, last May, some leading gay-rights organizations—among them the A.C.L.U., Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights—issued a statement condemning such efforts. The odds of success for a suit weren’t good, the groups said, because the “Supreme Court typically does not get too far ahead of either public opinion or the law in the majority of states.