American Foundation for Equal Rights

AFER’s Lead Attorneys Awarded Top Legal Honor by American Bar Association


Brandon Hersh 202.412.9766 or
Elizabeth Riel 213.785.5352 or

Fighting to End Inequality & Secure the Freedom to Marry for All Americans, AFER’s Legal “Dream Team” Given Rare Award; Recognized for “Exceptional and Distinguished Service to the Law”

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the American Bar Association (ABA), the largest voluntary professional association in the world, announced that the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ (AFER) lead attorneys, David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, have been chosen to receive the rare designation and one of the most prestigious awards in the American legal profession, the American Bar Association Medal.

AFER brought these two highly-respected attorneys together in 2009 to lead the federal case against Proposition 8 (Perry v. Brown), which placed a ban on marriage for gay and lesbian Californians.  AFER, Olson and Boies achieved an unprecedented victory for marriage equality on August 4, 2010, when a U.S. District Court concluded that, “Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis.”

Boies is the founder and chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. One of the nation’s preeminent trial lawyers, Boies was recently named “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal and “Commercial Litigator of the Year” by Who’s Who.  Olson is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s D.C. office and is one of the nation’s premier appellate and U.S. Supreme Court advocates. The National Law Journal has repeatedly listed him as one of America’s Most Influential Lawyers. Last year, TIME selected both Boies and Olson as two of the 100 most influential people in the world.

“Ted and David show that excellence in the legal profession transcends partisan and ideological boundaries,” said Chad Griffin, co-founder and Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “Thanks to these two world-class legal minds the dark walls of discrimination are beginning to crumble. Ted, David and AFER will continue to fight for full federal marriage equality for all Americans.”

Awarded for distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence, the ABA Medal is given only in years when the ABA Board of Governors determines a nominee has provided exceptional and distinguished service to the law and the legal profession.

Among previous recipients of the ABA Medal are legendary justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Felix Frankfurter, Thurgood Marshall, William J. Brennan Jr., Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy.

The award will be bestowed upon Boies and Olson during the meeting of the ABA House of Delegates at the Association’s annual meeting on August 8th, 2011.



About the American Foundation for Equal Rights

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the federal court challenge to Proposition 8, Perry v. Brown. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced its case through federal district court and is now leading it through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals before the case is brought to the United States Supreme Court. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality.