Lawyer Ted Olson, who along with David Boies successfully challenged Prop 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, before the Supreme Court, answered msnbc reader questions.
The two lawyers were on opposite sides of the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 but teamed up to challenge Prop 8. Both men spoke at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas this week.
The questions below were submitted earlier this week and have only been edited for grammar.
Charissa Hild via Facebook: What or whom is your standard for morality, Mr. Olson?
Ted Olson: I’m a lawyer not a philosopher, but I believe I’ve received wisdom and learned moral standards from my parents, my wife Lady Booth Olson, from the words in our Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, the teachings of Martin Luther King, and decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
Gabriela Resto-Montero via msnbc.com: What’s your take on the religious freedom laws that have been proposed in Arizona and Mississippi that would permit businesses to deny service to LGBT folks? Is it something that you think could ever become law?
Ted Olson: The decision to establish a business and enter into the stream of commerce requires compliance with our civil laws and constitutional imperatives which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin and sexual orientation. Our Constitution and laws protect the free exercise of one’s religious convictions, but also against discrimination in the stream of commerce.
Ronald James Seine via Facebook: How can we get the young people aware of the changes that were brought about in the civil rights era? And how do we convince them that there is a possibility of losing them?
Ted Olson: We must constantly talk about and explain what civil rights mean to each of us, and to teach the history of the tragic consequences in this country and throughout the world when these rights are violated. Protecting the civil rights of others protects our own civil rights. Young people need to be taught how fortunate they are to live in a country that aspires to live up to our constitutional and historical ideals, and to be reminded that they must speak out and fight to protect those ideals.