The court battle that resulted from the Gay Olympic [Games'] use of "Olympics" as part of its name is chronicled. Included: remarks from lawyer Mary Dunlap; Chai Feldblum, who clerked for Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun during the case; federal judge Alex Kozinski; Supreme Court reporters Linda Greenhouse and Lisa Keen; Gay Games II executive director Shawn Kelly; and Olympic swimmer Susan McGreivy.
This award-winning 2009 film, Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics on Trial tells the story of the San Francisco athletic group that in 1982 tried to hold a "Gay Olympics," prompting a battle at the nation's highest court and a challenge over the place of gays and lesbians in American society. The case was lifted into the news again recently and linked to the same-sex marriage fight following a surprising coincidence: the attorney representing the U.S. Olympic Committee in their suit to stop the "Gay Olympics" was Vaughn Walker, who decades later was the federal judge chosen to preside over the Proposition 8 marriage trial.
We also recall the publication of Morehead, a recent novel with a chapter presenting a dramatized version of the legal proceedings:
From Jeffrey Hickey, author of Morehead:
One day a few years ago, while our twin 21-year-
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The chapter that deals with the First Gay Games is the longest in the book and is the pivotal chapter, for me, in telling the story. I needed an event that was culturally and sociologically significant, while also being mostly regional. The Gay Games were almost serendipitous for this text. It’s the only chapter where Dave hardly makes an appearance, though he wrote the text. I spent a couple of weeks in the history section of the main SF library and had the entire staff pulling out hundreds of pages of documents, letters, legal briefs, and more. I tried to represent a variety of viewpoints, from San Francisco Arts and Athletics, the US Olympic committee, an alleged religious leader, sociological, personal, entertainment, and more. These weeks of research were also pragmatic for me, because they gave me a chance to rest my wrists and arms from furious typing. Once I sorted through the information, I was able to create the “Group Discussion” project. And once I realized I could do a faux Howard Cosell voice, I had the instrument I needed to write the piece.