August 5th, 2010
12:52 PM ET

The buzz on Proposition 8 ruling

A federal judge in California struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, ruling that voter-approved Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution and handing supporters of gay rights a major victory in a case that both sides say is sure to wind up before the Supreme Court.

As soon as the ruling was handed down, iReporters, celebrities and politicians began to share their thoughts on the potentially landmark decision. Columnists and news and political organizations soon followed with opinions that varied from calling the ruling one of the biggest decisions in our lifetime to seeing it as a completely overreaching attempt at judicial activism.

Here's what they had to say:

'Unforgettable lesson'

"We strenuously hope that [U.S. District Judge Vaughn] Walker's decision will be upheld by the high court. But no matter what happens, the trial in San Francisco delivered an unforgettable lesson in what Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage really mean.

"From now on, it will be harder for opponents of same-sex unions to continue mouthing canards. The public as well as the courts have had an opportunity to hear the facts. The debate over same-sex marriage will never be quite the same again."
- Los Angeles Times editorial

'Discrimination, prejudice'

"Proposition 8 was based on discrimination, prejudice and religion. The Constitution protects rights of the individuals that often the majority would take away from the minority. That's why we don't vote on these issues."
- iReporter Cliff Olney of Watertown, New York

'Extreme judicial activism'

"Today's decision by a federal district judge in San Francisco striking down state constitutional protections for marriage and inventing a spurious federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage is an example of extreme judicial activism. Moreover, it is an affront to the millions of California voters who approved Proposition 8 in 2008 after months of vigorous public debate.

"Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The people of California, and the United States, have made clear in numerous ways that they have not consented to the redefinition of marriage. For the past two decades they have considered the arguments advanced by some for overturning marriage as it has been understood in our country. In state after state — 45 in all - they have chosen to reaffirm the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. They have done so because they understand that establishing same-sex marriage would transform the institution into a set of private interests rather than buttress it as a multi-generational reality binding mothers, fathers and their children biologically, socially and legally."
- Chuck Donovan of the Heritage Foundation

iReport: What's your take? Tell us your thoughts on Proposition 8 ruling

'Instant landmark'

"The decision, though an instant landmark in American legal history, is more than that. It also is a stirring and eloquently reasoned denunciation of all forms of irrational discrimination, the latest link in a chain of pathbreaking decisions that permitted interracial marriages and decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults.

"As the case heads toward appeals at the circuit level and probably the Supreme Court, Judge Walker's opinion will provide a firm legal foundation that will be difficult for appellate judges to assail."

- New York Times editorial

'Unforgettable lesson'

"Years from now, when all Americans finally are permitted to marry the person they choose, we'll look back on today's ruling by Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker as a historic milestone - a moment when the opponents of equality were exposed for the hypocrisy and absurdity of their arguments. Defenders of the 2008 initiative presented just two witnesses, neither of whom could offer any credible evidence that gay marriage harms heterosexual marriage or that barring gays from marrying promotes any legitimate state interest.

"It wasn't poor courtroom maneuvering that led to this outcome. Says David Boies, a lead lawyer for the plaintiffs: 'They didn't fail because they're bad lawyers, they failed because there isn't any evidence to support the argument they're Advertisement advocating.' "
- San Jose Mercury News editorial

'Filled with broad pronouncements'

"In reading so far, I think a notable feature of Judge Walker's decision is its judicial maximalism - a willingness to reach out and decide fundamental constitutional questions not strictly necessary to reach the result. It is also, in maximalist style, filled with broad pronouncements about the essential characteristics of marriage and confident conclusions about social science. This maximalism will make the decision an even bigger target for either the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court. If that's right, it magnifies the potential for unintended and harmful consequences for gay-rights claims even beyond the issue of marriage. ...

"If the Ninth Circuit and/or Supreme Court decide to reverse Walker's ruling, they will be more likely to deal with this issue in a way that will set broader precedent. A minimalist decision for [same-sex marriage] by Walker could have left this matter undecided and thus would not have forced a higher court's hand."
- Dale Carpenter column on the Volokh Conspiracy

A decision written for Justice Kennedy?

"Is that the end of it? Oh, no. Judge Walker is already being flayed alive for the breadth and boldness of his decision. The appeals road will be long and nasty. Walker has temporarily stayed the ruling pending argument on a stay. (Rick Hasen argues it may be wise for him to stay the order pending appeal for tactical reasons.)

"Any way you look at it, today's decision was written for a court of one - Kennedy - the man who has written most eloquently about dignity and freedom and the right to determine one's own humanity. The real triumph of Perry v. Schwarzenegger may be that it talks in the very loftiest terms about matters rooted in logic, science, money, social psychology, and fact."
- Dahlia Lithwick column on Slate

Too soon to celebrate?

"As well-crafted as this decision is, it is too soon to declare victory. As proponents of gay rights know all too well, many courts have not been as fastidious about excluding religious rationales from their constitutional decision-making. One need only remember Justice Burger's 1986 opinion supporting the constitutionality of laws banning sodomy because such condemnations were 'firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards.'

"More deeply, we must recognize that even when we win these cases, it is only because our opponents' core objections have been, however properly, ruled out of court. Until we directly address them in the public sphere, we will not have truly won the culture war for marriage equality."
- Kenji Yoshino column on

'Disturbing episode in American jurisprudence'

"The 'trial' in San Francisco in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case is a unique, and disturbing, episode in American jurisprudence. Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution. We call on the Supreme Court and Congress to protect the people's right to vote for marriage."
- Response on National Organization for Marriage website

soundoff (737 Responses)
  1. Jessica

    Zack, Please tell me exactly how you are abused by gay marriage? Even the trial Lawyers on your side couldn't even provide a real example to the court of how that happens. Can you?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. marputt

    No one I see actually really sees the significance. I am a conservative and I consider myself a person of Christian Values. Ok I do not see my morality to be put upon someone else. That being said here is the issue. I do not not run down the street claiming I am strait and I deserve special rights. I have a friend that claims that anyone should be able to marry the person they want. Well this issue is the stepping stone into the disolvement of the family. If you allow gay marriage this will in turn make an argument for polygamy. After polygamy you set the stage so that it be legal for a a person to marry an animal. Now my friend said "this is not about a person marrying animals." Think about it. 20 years ago it was un heard of this discussion coming to the mainstream. If you are gay what you do in your house in your bedroom is your business. But if you are gay is this really the step you want to take?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      No one is asking for special rights. They're asking for equal rights. Big difference.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stay Away

    Ewwwwww gays!!

    August 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Doc

    So.....Judicial Activism when Prop 8 gets struck down. But strict constructionist when Chicago Hand Gun Ban gets struck down. You people make me laugh!!! So shallow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don't have a clue.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |

    Every heterosecual who practiced PROMISCUITY contributed directly to changing the concept of union between one man and one woman to a union to satisfy freedom to seek pleasurable unions anyay and naturally lead to everyone's right to chose what type of union is marriage. First for the heteros change your act about the union, before trying to prevent others from seeking pleasure just as you are when you commit promiscuity.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Down with heteros

    Too many straight people in this country.
    Round them all up and put em in concentration camps.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      you're an idiot

      August 5, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chuck

    For those of you who are equating Kagan to Palin, the former was a Dean of HBS. The post is not a political appointment, unlike that of the nomination for VPOTUS. What kind of a judge Kagan will turn out to be, I cannot say. But one thing I can say is that the Dean of HBS is not nominated by idiots, and it would be pretty safe to say she is an extremely intelligent woman.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RadioFlyer

    For those of you who keep invoking the Founding Fathers to express your own will/prejudice, this is what Thomas Jefferson (a real founding father, as opposed to the ones created by Fox Entertainment) had to say in 1801 (yes, folks, 209 years ago): "Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression." –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:318

    August 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Noneof US

    I love how all the bible thumpers use names of biblical characters to hide behind, almost like this other group of people who use hoods and burn crosses. Are they afraid of something, surely thier god will protect them. And i am pretty sure if jesus, moses and abraham were here today they would kick thier @##es for twisting thier words and speaking for them.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    Remember that the will of the people cannot trample the rights of a minority.

    While life in these States can be difficult for an underachiever, this great country does offer unlimited possibilities for those who keep trying. I personally love my Caddy and my swimming pool. Instead of being bitter and jealous of those who enjoy the American Dream, either get on board or get out. You can get to Canada or Mexico without much money.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nomo

    Whoooowie...glad I chose to be straight.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Uhh

    It's funny that there's so many gay supporters, rich gay supporters, rich gay people with supposed powerful friends, yet no significant law giving that community rights, other than the Matt Shepard act, and rightfully so, has gotten traction with anybody anywhere. I wonder why.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Doc

    Here is what Jesus had to say about being gay..............

    Any questions?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Knuckledragger

    The next prevert i see
    Im gonna rip that tutu off
    and show him what a real man should be.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TX_MBell

    It is a rouse about this being about marriage. Civil Unions afford the same secular rights and oath of commitment.
    The progressive ideology has to get family and church out of the way so that a secular ideology can impose its version of a collective salvation. A salvation not on God's terms but on the terms of an ideological elite. A government not led by the merit of integrity of character but by a class of elites that choose their own. Who's contention is that the rest of us are too stupid to govern ourselves (Especially since so many of use put our faith and trust in an intangible that the secular demographic can't nail to a cross.).

    August 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
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