Prop. 8 Ruling: The Reactions

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com August 04 2010 4:00 PM ET

Wisconsin congresswoman Tammy Baldwin: "We live in a democracy wherein majority rule is checked and balanced by the guarantee of inalienable minority rights. This case, as it wends its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, presents jurists with fundamental questions about minority rights and majority rule. I believe Judge Walker got it right, declaring that denial of marriage rights and protections to gay and lesbian citizens violates the Constitution even if it reflects the will of the majority of Californians."

Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation president Jarrett Barrios: "More and more Americans are supporting equality, and it is the stories of same-sex couples that are leading that charge across the nation. Today's decision comes after same-sex couples from across California shared their personal stories with Judge Vaughn Walker and the public, helping to show that all loving and committed couples — straight and gay — should have the same opportunity to take care of and be responsible for each other. We urge media to highlight the couples impacted by today's decision to grant them the liberty and equality upon which our nation was founded." 

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders attorney Mary Bonauto: "GLAD's case and Perry seek to cure two important but different injustices.  Gill is not a right-to-marry case, since we represent couples who are already married. Rather, it is a case about federal recognition, challenging DOMA's denial of these marriages for purposes of all federal laws. DOMA is synonymous with disapproval of gay people and our families, and we seek to end Congress's different treatment of married people based simply on sexual orientation."

U.S. senator Barbara Boxer: “This historic decision is a step forward in the march toward equal rights and reflects a growing legal consensus that marriage equality is protected by the U.S. Constitution.” 

National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown: “Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial. With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman. This ruling, if allowed to stand, threatens not only Prop. 8 in California but the laws in 45 other states that define marriage as one man and one woman."

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey: "This ruling marks a victory for loving, committed couples who want nothing more than the same rights and security as other families. From the start, this has been about basic fairness. Today we celebrate the affirmation of this fundamental principle; tomorrow we are back out there sharing our personal stories and having conversations with Californians and people all across the country about why this matters and who we are. The tide is turning nationwide in favor of marriage equality, but our work is far from over. Today’s ruling is just a beginning step in what will likely be a long process, yet we are confident that fairness will prevail. Our conversations are breaking down barriers and helping to transform our country."

Singer Rosanne Cash: "I really don't care who anybody marries. It's none of my business who you fall in love with. I'm just happy if you fall in love."

Dan Choi: "Absolutely a victory today for a lot of the people who fought so hard not only in California but around the country. It’s a victory for people who refuse to take injustice lying down. When I first got involved with the heroes at the American Foundation for Equal Rights and a lot of the other groups that were supporting the plaintiffs in the case, I saw undaunted courage and that is what we celebrate today. A lot of people who said 'Don’t do this.' Certainly the fight isn’t over, and here in D.C. we’re gonna see it eventually at the Supreme Court building and we’re gonna continue supporting our fellow fighters for full equality, whether it’s marriage or employment or service in the military, donating blood, or any other of the very important things that we have to fight for. We should learn that it’s only the people who refuse second-class citizenship and injustice that will be rewarded. It’s only the people who will stand up and fight that will get their dignity reclaimed. We can learn that and apply the same lessons and have the same kind of writ and fighting spirit when we fight for immigration rights for our partners to this country just like straight couples. I know that it will have significant impact and contributions and benefits to the other struggles as well, not just on a momentum building level, but it will show legally that our Constitution in no way justifies unequal protection or denial of access to equal rights and resources like recognition of love and the acknowledgment of relationships and families or the access to our own integrity. I think today it’s not just gay people who won, but straight people and all people who live under our Constitution. The Constitution is not just 'we the people who happen to be straight' or 'we the people who happen to be born here' or 'we the people who are white or male.' It really is 'we the people.' All people are deserving of that equal access to the promise of America."

Church of Latter-day Saints:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today's
decision. California voters have twice been given the opportunity to
vote on the definition of marriage in their state and both times have
determined that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a
woman. We agree. Marriage between a man and woman is the bedrock of
society. We recognize that this decision represents only the opening of a
vigorous debate in the courts over the rights of the people to define
and protect this most fundamental institution — marriage. There is no
doubt that today's ruling will add to the marriage debate in this
country and we urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit
of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion." 

Antigay group Concerned Women for America: "Today Judge Vaughn Walker has chosen to side with political activism over the will of the people. His ruling is slap in the face to the more than seven million Californians who voted to uphold the definition of marriage as it has been understood for millennia. While Judge Walker’s decision is disappointing it is not the end of this battle. Far from it. The broad coalition of support for Proposition 8 remains strong, and we will support the appeal by ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponent of Proposition 8. We are confident that Judge Walker’s decision will ultimately be reversed. No combination of judicial gymnastics can negate the basic truth that marriage unites the complementary physical and emotional characteristics of a man and a woman to create a oneness that forms the basis for the family unit allowing a child to be raised by his or her father and mother. Any other combination is a counterfeit that fails to provide the best environment for healthy child rearing and a secure foundation for the family. It is this foundation upon which society is — and must be — built for a healthy and sustained existence."

Ellen DeGeneres: "This just in: Equality won!"

Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project James Esseks:
"Today's decision is a huge victory for the LGBT people of America. For
the first time, a federal court has conducted a trial and found that
there is absolutely no reason to deny same-sex couples the fairness and
dignity of marriage. At the same time, we know that this is not the end.
In order to give this case the best possible chance of success as it
moves through the appeals courts, we need to show that America is ready
for same-sex couples to marry by continuing to seek marriage and other
relationship protections in states across the country. It's simply not
fair, and not legal, to continue to exclude committed same-sex couples
from marriage."

The antigay Family Research Council: "This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage,' overturning the marriage laws of 45 states. As with abortion, the Supreme Court's involvement would only make the issue more volatile. It's time for the far Left to stop insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box. Marriage is recognized as a public institution, rather than a purely private one, because of its role in bringing together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keeping them together to raise the children produced by their union. The fact that homosexuals prefer not to enter into marriages as historically defined does not give them a right to change the definition of what a 'marriage' is. Marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been the universally-recognized understanding of marriage not only since America's founding but for millennia. To hold that the Founders created a constitutional right that none of them could even have conceived of is, quite simply, wrong. FRC has always fought to protect marriage in America and will continue to do so by working with our allies to appeal this dangerous decision. Even if this decision is upheld by the ninth circuit court of appeals — the most liberal appeals court in America — Family Research Council is confident that we can help win this case before the U.S. Supreme Court." 

Kathy Griffin:
"I am, of course, thrilled and heartened by Judge Walker's ruling. My
thoughts and best wishes are with the brave plaintiffs — Kris Perry,
Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo — on this emotional day. I
also applaud the remarkable work of lead attorneys Ted Olson and David
Boies; two men who, 10 years after facing off in Bush v. Gore, have
teamed up to fight the good fight on behalf of loving California
families. As we all know, the antigay movement is certain to appeal this
landmark case to the ninth circuit U.S. court of appeals in San Francisco
and, ultimately, to the United States Supreme Court in Washington. So,
while today's decision is a key victory in the fight for marriage
equality, we still have a long way to go before my mother, Maggie, can
break out her box of wine in celebration. I urge my friends and fans to
stay strong, be vocal and take strength in the knowledge that we will be
on the right side of history."

Paris Hilton: "What a huge historical day for equal rights in this country! They finally overturned Prop. 8! There shouldn't be a law on true love."

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lexbians and Gays executive director Jody Huckaby: "Today is, in no uncertain terms, historic. With this monumental ruling, all families win and at last have the security of knowing that all of our loved ones — both straight and gay — have the same freedom to marry. Today's ruling sent the message that equality means equality for all."

San Diego LGBT Community Center CEO Delores Jacobs: "This is a
great day for every American who believes that the U.S. Constitution
guarantees us all equal treatment and due process. The decision reminds
us all that in America there are laws, principles, and freedoms that are
fundamental; the people cannot simply decide to discriminate against a
group they may not like. Today’s decision affirms that the fundamental
rights of a minority cannot be stripped away by a popular vote of the
majority, and that it is fundamentally unconstitutional to have one set
of laws for some, and another set for the rest of us."

Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean: "Walker’s ruling
striking down Prop. 8 is clearly a milestone victory for all gay,
lesbian, and bisexual Californians, our families and our friends. But
much more than that, it is a resounding affirmation of fundamental
American ideals and core principles of the U.S. Constitution."

Reality star Kim Kardashian: "Prop. 8 was struck down! This news is amazing!!!! Its about time! Congrats to everyone!" 

Adam Lambert: "Prop 8 Overturned! I'm glad California has restored the right for ALL of its citizens to marry whoever they please! Equal rights are very Glam!"

Log Cabin Republican California chairman Leonard Lanzi:
"Today all Californians have had their rights strengthened through the
court's decision. As Republicans, we are heartened that plaintiff's
attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies used core conservative principles of
privacy, liberty, and freedom to convince the court that Prop. 8 should
be overturned. While we anticipate this decision to appealed to the
highest court in the land, Log Cabin Republicans will continue our work
to change hearts and minds in all communities across the California."

Singer Cyndi Lauper:
"Gay and lesbian couples have long struggled for acceptance and the
ability to marry the person they love and want to build a family with.
Today's landmark ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional is a
testament to the fundamentals on which this great country was built and
validates that the discrimination gay couples face must come to an end.
We as a society should be embracing these couples and helping them make
the lifelong commitment to each other that many of us straight people
take for granted each and every day. This decision is a major step in
the right direction towards equality." 

Cloris Leachman: "Judge Vaughn Walker, you are my f*cking hero. I owe you a big kiss."

National Black Justice Coalition’s executive director Sharon Lettman: "Finally, the justice that was derailed during the California elections held in November 2008 was corrected by the U.S. District Court so that gay and lesbian Americans have the freedom to marry whomever they love. Today’s victory holds landmark implications for the future of marriage equality, After two years of battling for the right to marry, gay and lesbian couples in the state of California can legally celebrate their unions and provide protections for their families. Today’s ruling is a cause for renewed optimism in the value of the judiciary's role in affirming equality for all American citizens. There was a time when black and white people could not marry until the Lovings, an interracial couple from Virginia, were bold enough to challenge the state’s prevailing views about interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia with a unanimous vote of the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, two very brave couples from California have stepped forward to challenge the state’s view on marriage between gay and lesbian people. The courts are tasked with ensuring equal justice under the law. Today, we feel justice has been served for the gay and lesbian people of California, who love and care for each other and desire the confirmation of marriage."

Ricky Martin: "YEAHHHHH!!!!! #prop8unconstitutional Moving Forward!!!!!!!!"

Author Armistead Maupin: "This
battle has always been about love, and love won out today. When I was
in law school, I was bored to distraction by the sight of a legal
transcript. This one read like sonnet."

Meghan McCain: "Amazing news about prop 8!!! I have faith we are one step closer to gay marriage being passed in this country!!"

Actress Rose McGowan: "Prop. 8 was struck down! This
news is amazing!!!! It's about time! Congrats to everyone!"

California Republican Party chairman Ron Nehring: "The California
Republican Party is firm in its support of traditional marriage and
looks forward to the matter being resolved in a higher court."

U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi: "I am extremely encouraged by the ruling today, which found that Proposition 8 violated both the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Proposition 8 has taken away individual rights and freedoms, and is a stain upon the California Constitution. We must continue to fight against discriminatory marriage amendments and work toward the day when all American families are treated equally."

Colorado congressman Jared Polis:
“I applaud Judge Walker’s decision to overturn Proposition 8. No one
should be denied the opportunity to choose his or her spouse. It is a
basic human right. It is a deeply personal decision. Throughout history,
our country has made great strides moving forward with equality and
civil rights for all. Proposition 8 set this country back by attacking
gay couples who only wanted to share lifelong obligations and
responsibilities. It sent the wrong message to society, was
unconstitutional and it deserved to be overturned."

California's gay speaker of the assembly John Perez: "Judge Walker’s thoughtful, eloquent decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger
is a powerful validation of our nation’s tradition of full equality in
the eyes of the law. This is a decision which reaffirms the principles
and ideals enshrined in our Constitution and only serves to underscore
the fact that recognition of full equality for LGBT Americans is simply a
matter of time. I also want to express my congratulations to the legal
team of David Boies and Ted Olson as well as Therese Stewart and Dennis
Herrera representing the City and County of San Francisco for their
brilliant, inspiring and historic arguments in this case. They have won a
major victory on behalf of our Constitution and LGBT Americans
everywhere." 

New York City council speaker Christine Quinn: "Not just a win
for same-sex couples in California; it’s a victory for all of those who
believe in full equality for all Americans." 

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Judge Walker had the great responsibility of deciding whether Proposition 8 violates the Constitution of the United States. He heard in-depth arguments from both sides on fundamental questions of due process, equal protection, and freedom from discrimination. There are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and I am glad that all viewpoints were respected throughout the proceedings. We should also recognize that there will continue to be different points of view in the wake of this decision. For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity. Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people."

Judy Shepard:
"These plaintiffs are law-abiding, family-oriented, tax-paying citizens
whose privacy was invaded, and whose dignity was affronted, by a
misguided and unconstitutional law. Their victory at trial shows that
our courts still play a vital role in safeguarding the rights of
minorities from majorities who misunderstand them. But more importantly,
it proves the power of personal stories. Equal marriage rights are
ultimately about people’s families, and during the trial, their personal
need for legal recognition of their relationships came through loud and
clear. After Matt came out to me, he once asked me if I thought gay
couples would ever be allowed to get married. I told
him I didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime, but it probably
would in his. It’s so sad, and ironic, that it turned out the other way.
But this case warms my heart, to think that his dream is still coming
true."

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese:
"After hearing extensive evidence in support of marriage equality, and
essentially no defense of the discrimination wrought by Prop. 8, Judge
Walker reached the same conclusion we have always known to be true — the
Constitution’s protections are for all Americans, including the
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. We thank the
courageous plaintiff couples, the American Foundation for Equal Rights,
and attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies for their tremendous efforts
leading to today’s decision and their ongoing commitment as the case
moves forward on appeal. The battle for marriage equality continues, and
we must all continue our work — in courthouses and statehouses, in
church pews and living rooms — until equality is reality for LGBT people
and our families everywhere."  

Britney Spears: "So happy! Today is a great day for love and equality. Congrats California!"

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: "Californians knows that marriage is a civil right, not a privilege. Love does not discriminate."

Tim Wildmon,
president of the antigay American Family Association: "This is a
tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial
arrogance. Judge Walker has turned ‘We the People’ into ‘I the
Judge.’It’s inexcusable for him to deprive the citizens of California of
their right to govern themselves, and cavalierly trash the will of over
seven million voters. This case never should even have entered his
courtroom. The federal constitution nowhere establishes marriage policy,
which means under the 10th Amendment that issue is reserved for the
states. It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a
practicing homosexual himself. He should have recused himself from this
case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual
proclivity. The fundamental issue here is whether homosexual conduct,
with all its physical and psychological risks, should be promoted and
endorsed by society. That’s why the people and elected officials
accountable to the people should be setting marriage policy, not a
black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to
believe he could be impartial. His situation is no different than a
judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography
statute. He’d have to recuse himself on conflict of interest grounds,
and Judge Walker should have done that. The Constitution says judges
hold office ‘during good Behavior.’ Well, this ruling is bad behavior —
in fact, it’s very, very bad behavior - and we call on all members of
the House of Representatives who respect the Constitution to launch
impeachment proceedings against this judge."