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Following Monday's landmark court ruling striking down California's ban on marriage for same-sex couples, gay rights activists and advocates across the nation were quick to laud the decision as a historic victory. Here's a sampling of what they had to say: "The people of California and the state's various branches of government are examining this discrimination and coming to the conclusion that it's wrong. This decision is a great step toward every Californian being able to marry the person they love." --Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, who fought for and won marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts "The most vociferous opponents of marriage equality will attack the court's decision not because it threatens their marriage, or even the institution of marriage, but because they know that the closer GLBT people get to achieving full equality, the more difficult it will be to marginalize us. Every day at the center, we see the impact of that marginalization and 'second-class citizenship,' especially on young people. Government-sanctioned discrimination contributes to higher rates of HIV infection, homelessness, and substance abuse, and we will not rest until it is ended." --Jim Key, spokesman for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center "Couples who have made a commitment in life deserve the legal commitment to match. This historic ruling affirms the state constitution's promise of equality and fairness for all people. The court recognized that when the government denies lesbians and gay men the right to marry, it is treating them unequally." --Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is representing the same-sex couples in the California case "This is a historic ruling that says the freedoms guaranteed in our state's constitution belong to all Californians. The court recognized that same-sex couples aren't treated equally under the law unless we can marry. This ruling says that same-sex couples deserve all the protections and security marriage provides and that we're entitled to get them the same way straight couples do." --Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal in the Western regional office and its lead attorney on the California case "With plain but compelling logic, the judge has shown us all why in a nation committed to fairness, gays and lesbians must not be shut out of marriage. But this decision is most important to the thousands of same-sex couples who desperately need the protection that marriage gives and who deserve the dignity it brings. Gays and lesbians are our firefighters, teachers, doctors, and neighbors, and they deserve the same rights and protections as other Americans. Our constitution promises liberty to all; this decision takes us a step closer to that promise." --Christine Sun, an ACLU attorney on the California case "This is a landmark ruling, and we call on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California legislators to enact Assembly Bill 19, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act [which would legalize same-sex marriage in California]." --Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California In response to the ruling, Schwarzenegger told MSNBC that he doesn't "believe in gay marriage" but that he would not try to amend the state constitution if the supreme court rules that a ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. "I think that this will now be going eventually to the supreme court in California, and we will see what the decision is," he said. "And whatever that decision is, we will stay by that, because I believe in abiding by the law and sticking with the law." "Log Cabin California applauds the ruling by superior court judge Richard Kramer in support of civil marriage equality. While pleased with the lower court's decision, we realize that this is just one step in a long battle toward basic fairness for gay and lesbian families in California. Log Cabin also realizes that in California, and in states across the nation, a successful battle for basic family fairness will involve not only the judiciary but also the legislatures and the will of fair-minded Americans. We look forward to the day when all taxpaying, law-abiding citizens and American families are treated equally under the law." --Jeff Bissiri, director of the Log Cabin Republicans' California chapter "We laud the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the plaintiffs in this case for bringing their stories forward and securing this important victory for equality." --Seth Kilbourn, vice president for the Human Rights Campaign's Marriage Project In an editorial for Tuesday's editions, the Los Angeles Times supported the judge's ruling as an "equality issue." "We'd like to say that Judge Richard Kramer reached the right decision," the paper wrote. "That doesn't mean having judges decide such explosive social issues settles them.... Those uncomfortable with the concept of gay marriage--and according to opinion polls, that includes a majority of Americans--may argue that marriage is an unnecessary step because California law already grants same-sex couples who register as domestic partners virtually the same state rights and responsibilities as married couples. That argument further undermines any reason for states to make the moral judgments about which adults can marry and which can't. Let priests, rabbis, and imams decide which marriages should receive their blessing, but as to legal and social rights, the state has no business discriminating."