One of the revelations in a much-criticized book about the history of the fight for marriage equality (Andrew Sullivan, who really did play a huge role in that history, has rightly slammed the book for ignoring everything prior to 2008) is that the attorney who defended Prop 8 has a gay daughter and is now planning her wedding.
The conservative lawyer who defended California’s ban on gay marriage at the Supreme Court is at work on another project: planning his daughter’s upcoming same-sex wedding ceremony.
Charles J. Cooper, a former top official in the Reagan Justice Department and onetime “Republican lawyer of the year,” learned of his daughter’s sexual orientation during the legal battle over California’s Proposition 8, according to journalist Jo Becker’s soon-to-be-released book chronicling the movement to legalize same-sex marriage.
Ashley Lininger became engaged to a woman identified in the book only as Casey just after the Supreme Court accepted the Proposition 8 case in December 2012. Cooper, a noted Supreme Court practitioner, argued the case in March 2013…
Cooper told Becker that he did not think it appropriate to comment on how he would vote on the issue should he have the opportunity.“What I will say only is that my views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people’s do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it 10 years ago,” Cooper is quoted as saying…
Lininger lives in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage and now one of 17, in addition to the District of Columbia, where the unions are legal. She did not want to be interviewed for this story. Cooper said the same, although he offered a statement:
“My family is typical of families all across America. We love each other; we stand up for each other; and we pray for, and rejoice in, each other’s happiness. My daughter Ashley’s path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey’s family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks.”
He added: “As Becker reports in her book, I told Ashley that what matters most is that I love her and she loves me.”
And that is the correct response to the daughter, of course. But at the very same time, he was actively fighting to deny that same right to marry to millions of others. I don’t know how anyone deals with that kind of cognitive — and moral — dissonance. What about other people’s daughters and sons? Don’t they matter?