Last updated on: 3/17/2011 | Author:

Ted Olson, JD Biography

Former Solicitor General of the United States at the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ)
Pro to the question "Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?"

“Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.

Legalizing same-sex marriage would also be a recognition of basic American principles, and would represent the culmination of our nation’s commitment to equal rights. It is, some have said, the last major civil-rights milestone yet to be surpassed in our two-century struggle to attain the goals we set for this nation at its formation.”

“The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage,” Newsweek, Jan. 9, 2010

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Former Solicitor General of the United States, United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), 2001-2004
  • Lead attorney with David Boies, JD, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 2010
  • Represented George W. Bush in the US Supreme Court Bush v. Gore case, 2000
  • Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington DC, 1985-2001
  • Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, 1981-1984
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • Education:
  • JD, Boalt Hall, University of California at Berkeley
  • BA, cum laude, University of the Pacific
  • Other:
  • Appeared before the Supreme Court in Elk Grove School District v. Newdow in 2004
  • Quoted in:
    Pro & Con Quotes: Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?