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 NYTimes.com

'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. ManBoyLover

    Hi everyone! I'm a full grown man and my partner is a small boy. We want to get married! We're next right?

    I mean every is equal so we have right too? Also I have a buddy who's in love with his horse and they have rights too? It's all about equality right? Anyone here that says it's all about equality absolutely CANNOT now say I can't marry my small boy partner! You better not!

    nambla is a wonderful organization and we cannot wait for our turn! Remember when blacks didn't have equal rights and then someday soon gays and then it's OUR TURN! You guys ready for this?

    I can't wait! Finally my boy and I will be able to be happy! I expect everyone here to protest any ruling that says we can't get married. Same with people and animals, people with blow up dolls – oh wait what about polygomy? Where does it end?

    I'm so happy right now i'm almost in tears....thanks everyone for agreeing with this ruling and finally opening a door for us!

    August 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      You should take a class on logic.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Your mockery of this extremist group and the views you purport are the exact kind of scare tactics that are used to build support for discriminatory legislation. Very sad.

      August 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jack

    I wonder how Anthony Kennedy feels about this. Ultimately, he's the guy who gets to decide if gay people will be allowed to marry or not.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BrianB

    How can people be so uninformed to whine that "our votes don't count, the will of the people was overruled". You can't vote to violate the consitution! You can't take away people's consitutional rights, I don't care how many people want to do it. I mean, no matter how much you may hate gays, do you really want to live in a country where people can VOTE that the consitution doesn't apply to you?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Thin The Herd

    Some people have said that gay is not natural
    they cant procreate.
    You know....have babies.

    Pppsssttt............little hint here.....
    take a look around.............I think we have enough people on this planet.
    I dont think human beings are about to go extinct any time soon.
    You straight people breed like rabbits.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Not to mention that straight people make gay people. Maybe straight people are what is wrong.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jack

    Why is the life of the minority being vote by the majority?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BE

    Now CNN has stopped "threading" the comments... uggghhh I have this mental picture of the chimps from the Careerbuilder website running these things...

    August 5, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WarrenP

    While I don't agree with Prop 8 because it creates unnecessary legislation, I'm not really jumping for joy over gay marriage.

    I'm not looking forward to any of my tax money going to the fallout in public health care that normalizing gay going to create. Everybody knows that gay men make promiscuous straits look like nuns. It isn't a coincidence that gay communities are high in HIV and that most blood banks won't allow gay men to donate blood. That should tell you something. Last but not least, how great a society we'll live in when gay men can just pop in and have their blown up rear ends repaired under their public health care umbrella? How natural does that sound?

    Onward toward tomorrow!!!! It's not over until I can walk down main street with my daughter and show her the true beauty of two fornicating hairy men wearing biker hat and banana hammocks. Awesome.

    On a serious note, I wonder amidst all the gay cries for tolerance, when they will stop spitting on the religious beliefs of others and denounce their own hypocrisy. If we are to be tolerant to them then they must be equally as tolerant to those who disagree with them. Then we'll see if it's really equality they want or just a transfer of power like most minorities.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Outlaw

      I will ignore most of your post as it is so obviously trolling...

      I do want to address one point that I have seen and is somewhat valid. You argue that Gays by asking for gay marriage are not being tolerant to those who oppose gay marraige for religious basis and you want Gays to be tolerant of others if they want tolerance themselves.

      There is a problem with this argument. The Gays are not asking voters to deny any one's rights or legal protections. On the other hand, the religious groups in favor of prop 8 asked the government of California to remove rights that had already been given to Gays. I would say that you will have a claim to expect the Gays to be tolerant once the Gays try to take away your rights. Till then, your argument has no basis.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • WarrenP

      Hey Outlaw,

      Unless you live under a rock people are being fired at present for their religious beliefs because it contradicts gay behavior so religious people are losing their rights over this.

      Also, you saying that I'm trolling and ignoring the grossness and consequences of two men sodomizing each other on a daily basis doesn't make my statements any less true.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • MommaCat

      Outlaw, rights have been taken from others. The majority did not want it to be legal, they proved that when they voted, but their vote was overturned by just one person. This is supposed to be a democracy. What about the rights of all those people who voted? Why even bother to vote, if the vote doesn't matter?

      August 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Noneof US

    I definitely believe in something greater than myself or to put it simply god. And i also believe that it wants us to be happy. If this allows people to persue happiness without affecting others ability to do so then it undoubtedly gods will. Notice i didn't attach a gender label to god like him/her

    August 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BE

    Note to CNN... please fix your freakin comment logs already! How is anyone supposed to follow a conversation? You've got stuff all mixed up everywhere!

    August 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tucker

    You cant legislate morality, freedom means choice even if you don't agree with the choices people make

    August 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rick

    Let us eliminate God from our government. That gives me the right to murder. That gives me the right to steal whatever you have I want. That means I don't have to tell the truth. I now have the right to sleep with another person's partner/wife. Wow... sounds like other countries in this world that people are crying out against.
    Gay or straight, our country's basic principles are based on Christian values. If you don't want them then do your best to take them away from everyone. Don't stop at your right to marry. Please take away all of our Biblical based rights. Then the gay community will be the minority with people who can rightfully take them out.
    So please don't say you don't want or believe in Christian beliefs. If you really don't believe or want them then don't stop at marriage. Continue your fight to remove all biblical based rights and see where you end up.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rainbows

    Lets see....at last count i have met gay people who are.....

    Black, white, female, male, Irish, Italian, English, Isreali, old, young, Swedish, fat, skinny, smart, stupid
    religious, agnostic..............

    WE are part of the fabric that is America.
    We are NOT going away.

    Think about that the next time you have your kids teeth cleaned.
    We are just People.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. vincent chiavetta

    I find gay lifestyle repulsive. When i see two men walking on the sidewalk in New york city kissing to me that sort of thing is unatural and i find it discusting. Its difficult to understand how our legal system could condone this sort of lifestyle. Civil rights is one thing but marriage should stay between a man and a woman.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RadioFlyer

    Tried to post this already, but it did not go on. This is for those who keep invoking the Founding Fathers in an attempt to deny equal righs to all:
    "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 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WarrenP

    While I don't agree with Prop 8 because it creates unnecessary legislation, I'm not really jumping for joy over gay marriage.

    Don't get me wrong, I love free will, I'm just not looking forward to any of my tax money going to the fallout in public health care that normalizing gay is going to create. Everybody knows that gay men make promiscuous straits look like nuns. It isn't a coincidence that gay communities are high in HIV and that most blood banks won't allow gay men to donate blood. That should tell you something. Last but not least, how great a society we'll live in when gay men can just pop in and have their blown up rear ends repaired under their public health care umbrella? How natural does that sound?

    Onward toward tomorrow!!!! It's not over until I can walk down main street with my daughter and show her the true beauty of two fornicating hairy men wearing biker hat and banana hammocks. Awesome.

    On a serious note, I wonder amidst all the gay cries for tolerance, when they will stop spitting on the religious beliefs of others and denounce their own hypocrisy. If we are to be tolerant to them then they must be equally as tolerant to those who disagree with them. Then we'll see if it's really equality they want or just a transfer of power like most minorities.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19