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Pulitzer Prize Winner Jo Becker Offers Inside View of the Struggle to Overturn Prop 8

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Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jo Becker of the NY Times goes in-depth on her new book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality.Click here for free audiobook download from Audible, and earn $15 for the PBC Podcast!

Becker won the Pulitzer for a series on Dick Cheney that she co-wrote with Barton Gellman at the Washington Post.  For this book, she “embedded” with the plaintiffs who sued in federal court to overturn California’s Prop 8, which narrowly passed in 2008 and revoked the right of same sex couples to marry–which had been recognized by the state supreme court.

She describes the seminal roles of actor/director Rob Reiner and political consultant Chad Griffin, and a chance encounter at the Polo Lounge with a relative of Ted Olson, the Republican lawyer best known for prevailing in Bush v. Gore in 2000.  Surprisingly, Olson agreed to take the case, and recruited his counterpart from 2000, David Boies.  Becker’s narrative introduces us to the plaintiffs and captures their emotions as they live through the trial and appeals all the way to the Supreme Court over a 5-year period.

The book is a great read that provides insight into Judge Vaughn Walker, now retired, who presided over the bench trial and created a detailed record of evidence that refuted the claims of Prop 8’s proponents–the Mormon Church and US Catholic bishops–that same sex marriage will somehow harm traditional marriages.

We also discuss that, while the Supreme Court avoided ruling on the central issues, its decision on Prop 8, coupled with its ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, has led to marriage equality in 18 states and counting.