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. KeyWester

    For all of you who are against this ruling, who are upset that gays may possibly be allowed to marry, I have but one very simple question. If this ruling is upheld and gays are allowed to marry, just how will that affect your own marriage? Anyone? Class?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos Sotelo

      It will devalue, cheapen, debase, decrease, decry, devalorize, devaluate, knock off, lower, mark down, nose dive, revalue, take down, underrate and undervalue marriage.

      As if we started letting women marry dogs...

      August 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      Uh, Carlos? Can you explain how it will "devalue", "cheapen", etc. your marriage? Because if two guys marrying each other will do that much damage to your marriage, it might already be in trouble.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Josh in FL

    I keep reading about how this "thwarted" the will of 7M people who voted for this discrimination, but, it affirms the vote of 6.4M people who did vote for equality. Truly, all these folks complaining about the majority being defied need to re-take an American History class to better understand how our system was always meant to ensure that the majority doesn't run roughshod over the rest of us.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andrei

    GAYS AND LESBIANS can't make kids, – thus – they should not be allowed to marry!
    End of the conversation!

    August 5, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goyo

      Your freedom to believe that is intact. However, it is in fact a completely silly argument that has no basis in law and should have no basis in law, as the decision clearly articulates (or did you fail to read it?)

      August 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      So I guess all my straight friends who are married but can't or choose not to have kids ought to have their marriages annulled.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cloudnine

    I have lots of friends that are gay and I love them but I will NEVER go against God's will just so I can go along with worldly views. Like it or not GOD is against this type of lifestyle. Anything lifestyle that is to please your flesh and not your soul. Say what you want but in the end he will be the one you will be facing. Lets see who you decided to please.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RadioFlyer

    @Marputt – to what "special rights" would you be referring?
    Because it seems to me that all Americans should have the same rights as the people next door, and as it is right now that is not the case. Coretta Scott King said: "Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don't believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others."
    Why should my next door neighbors enjoy the more than 1000 legal rights that come with a state-issued marriage license and I am prohibted from getting one? I am American, I pay taxes, I happen to be a veteran, too – why shouldn't every American be afforded the same rights and protections under the law?

    August 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bruce

    This is political tyranny. Government serves the people and not the other way around. Furthermore the states have a right to rule themselves without constant federal obstruction. A morally bankrupt society that serves a minority over the majority can not work. We are doomed to follow ancient Rome to failure.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goyo

      Tyranny is when the rights of people are taken away, as in Prop 8 taking away the right to marry. Those who voted in favor of Prop 8 fell like they have had rights taken away, but what is clear from the ruling is that they never had the right to take away the rights of others in the first place. This decision /ends/ a tyranny, it doesn't create one.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andrei

    gay parents will raise gay children

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

      no they wont just because someone is gay doesnt mean the kid will be

      August 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrei

      do u really think that gay fathers gonna raise their kids like straight parents? r u serious
      Kids r looking up to us. they try to copy us. aren't they?

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

      You people are just spouting off meaningless jargon. Do a little research on the children of gay parents. You will find that your conclusions are utterly false. Just because you say something is true doesn't make it so.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusty Burgoon-Clark

      not according to all the RESPONSIBLE SCIENTIFIC research.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mariella

    Wow that woman wins for jackhole of the century... I hate when jesus-freaks try to justify why something is or isnt right based on the bible or what 'god' said, its terrible! you have a brain decide for yourself!

    August 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. USARight

    Marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman for a very long time. Why must we change that definition. If two men or two women want a union that shares the same legal rights most people would not have a problem if it was called something else. I thing the people that insist on using the word marriage to define anything but the union of a man and a woman are being shallow, uncaring, and self centered. They are trying to take away something that has meant something to other people... a lot of other people.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Thank you! That's the point. I don't want people to think that my marriage with my wife to be considered the same as what two gay people have. It's not the same and should not be refered to as the same. Two gay individuals have the right to stand before whomever and exchange vows, exchange rings... whatever it is they want to do to mimic. Just call it something different.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      Rick, why shouldn't they have the right to get married? Just because you personally don't like it? Sorry, but that's the double edged sword of freedom for ya. People's personal choices don't need your approval.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • USARight

      So let me get this straight, it is not about anything but the word "Marriage" that you think people want the right to! Even if you have all of the legal rights. You won't be happy until you have the right to TAKE something that other people hold dear and value greatly. That seems like you want what you want and Damn other peoples feelings. You want other people to respect you but you are not willing to respect or compromise with others. Giving full rights and benefits to civil unions is a compromise to most peoples way of thinking. It is a step toward your side... Where is your step to compromise?

      August 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Andrei

    why gays should not be allowed to get married:

    August 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusty Burgoon-Clark

      Same tired people, same tired arguments. Do ANY of them have advanced degrees from ANYWHERE but Brother Billy-Bob Butt-Crack's College of Bible Study and Animal Husbandry?

      August 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Miguel in NY

    The LGBT community should celebrate the federal court ruling. If the case makes it to the Supreme Court, Proposition 8 has a good chance of being struck down. Anthony Kennedy is the new swing vote on the Court, and has already written 2 majority opinions in favor of the LGBT community (Lawrence v. Texas and Evans v. Romer). Odds are that Proposition 8 will be struck down.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ralph

    Orthodox Jews and Conservative Christians should unite and make the United States more culturally like Israel instead of Scotland, England, the Netherlands or even some South American Countries.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steven

    Orthodox Jews and Conservative Christians should unite and make the United States more culturally like Israel instead of Scotland, England, the Netherlands or even some South American Countries.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael

    I have been with my partner for over 21 years. I would love to be able to officially marry my spouse, but some right wing nuts say I can't. Can we join the 21st century and allow everyone to have equal rights. Go thump a bible.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miguel in NY

      Michael, well put! I hope you get to marry your partner. I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • dxp2718

      Come to Massachusets, Michael! We're happy to welcome you and your husband!

      August 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • USARight

      Would you feel any different if you had the same rights and benefits but it was called a civil union or civil joining? I would not have a problem getting civil joined to my wife for government accountability but then married by my church of choosing. Why must some insist on stamping on long held traditions of others.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Billy


    You talk in circles, change meanings from post to post, and generally don't make any sense. From your statements, it is apparent that your god loves inconsistency and nonsense.

    I know the truth and there isn't anything magical about it. It's universal and, therefore, more valid than faith.

    But since you continue to say things like "He is very careful not to give you evidence so that you will not be more guilty" (what kind of nonsense is that?) it is clear that your god has failed you. Sorry. How is it that I know that there's no god, but I can make sense, but you seem to know god and make no objective sense whatsoever?

    August 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Billy, I should have given you such an advanced and deep concept as an introduction. No man seeks God by his own decision. Jesus said" you have not chosen me, I have chosen you." He allows you and me to see certain things. It is strange but I am not creating these ideas I am writing. To first see the possibility that God exists, you are given faith by God. Then your faith is weak. When you consider that God exist, you may then pray and say "God why should I believe in you when I have no proof." Then he will probably put large numbers of coincidences around you to get yo to consider the idea. The more you question and search the more will be revealed to you. After a long time passes, you will start to see the truth more and more as he allows you to grow. I do not recommend blind faith. I suggest you ask God to prove his existence. I am positive he would be very happy to finally hear from you. You are the one that is far away; he is close. Faith ultimately is not belief in the existence of God, it is really trust in God's character. His Character is the biggest miracle. Judas saw Jesus walk on water and raise the dead; yet did not have faith. He did not chose to follow. He had more evidence than you will have, and still did not believe. If you ask God for proof and nothing happens, what have you lost? Yet you could gain everything if I am telling you the truth.

      August 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      Tim, you are insulting. You can end the debate by producing "god". Go ahead. Stop talking in circles and do it.

      And you're no scientist. No real scientist mixes up evolution and abiogenesis. I didn't disprove your speculation, because you can't even get your base issues straight.

      Your evidence of god is creation? Which god? the one of the gaps?

      DNA should have annihilated evolution? You are pulling my leg. You expect a dignified answer?

      And finally, this nonsense about how smart Newton is yet another load of nonsense. If you don't recognize that, there's not much hope for you. The science of evolution had not been developed at the time. To take it to its logical conclusion: You know far more about computer science than Newton ever would if only by virtue of the fact that computer science is a relatively new science and you've actually used a computer (which Newton never did). Are you smarter than Newton?

      Give me a break. I don't have to claim intellectual superiority. You've proved it.

      August 6, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      OK, more...but only b/c this is so much fun.

      >>>No man seeks God by his own decision.
      Then I guess I don't have to do anything more to find god.

      >>>He allows you and me to see certain things.
      Please don't speak for me. It's as offensive as if I were to say that the Invisible Pink Unicorn allows you to see certain things. I certainly don't attribute what I see to Jesus or god.

      >>>It is strange but I am not creating these ideas I am writing.
      Well, you continually espouse tired misunderstandings about science and trot out dilemas and tests that have been debated for years. Yeah, there's nothing new under the sun. Either that or you have truly lost your mind.

      >>>To first see the possibility that God exists, you are given faith by God.
      Then why are you bothering ME about it? What's taking him so long? Why would he torment me so?

      >>>Then your faith is weak. When you consider that God exist, you may then pray and say "God why should I believe in you when I have no proof."he
      Wait. God endows me with weak faith? so far, he has given me no faith. but I should pray? no sense whatsoever. if he comes to me, i'm sure he can make it happen in a more straightforward manner. why all the hiding? that seems like the worst way to reveal one's self. Or is god truly not for everyone? If so, why would you bother? mysterious ways indeed.

      >>>Then he will probably put large numbers of coincidences around you to get yo to consider the idea. The more you question and search the more will be revealed to you.

      You see what you want to see. As a scientist, you must be familiar with the term "synchronicity". "apophenia"? How about "anthropomorphism"? They're all related and don't have anything to do with god.

      >>>The more you question and search the more will be revealed to you. After a long time passes, you will start to see the truth more and more as he allows you to grow.

      You act like I've never questioned this before. How do you think I got to where I am now?

      >>>I do not recommend blind faith.

      Are you making a distinction between faith and blind faith? You previously indicated that belief in god was faith. You can't have it both ways (I'm not sure I understand what distinction you're making here anyway).

      >>> I suggest you ask God to prove his existence. I am positive he would be very happy to finally hear from you.

      As long as we're tossing out suggestions, I suggest you go back to science class. Anyway, if god is as powerful and all-knowing and will come to me even if I'm not looking, I'm sure that actually asking him for anything is superflous.

      >>>You are the one that is far away; he is close.

      Do I really need to point out how you're talking out of both sides of your mouth here? not very persuasive.

      >>>Faith ultimately is not belief in the existence of God, it is really trust in God's character.

      Ask 5 Christians about god and you'll get 5 answers. besides, if you want to get into it, you must also accept that God's character is revealed through the horrible things he did in the bible (destroying entire cities and whatnot). Besides, if it's not about the existence of god, why do you feel the need to point to him as some type of tangible creator (see your DNA arguments)? if it's about his character, then it's not about his involvement with creation or life or asking him questions as if he's a real person. how would i even go about asking his "character" about him, anyway? stop contradicting yourself.

      >>>[Bible stories]
      Parables are fine. They aren't the truth. you are simply presuming that god exists. surely an all-powerful god doesn't exist simply on presumptions.

      >>>If you ask God for proof and nothing happens, what have you lost? Yet you could gain everything if I am telling you the truth.

      Are you really dragging out Pascal's wager? If, after studying its criticisms (and there are volumes refuting that childish game), you still want to drag that out, there truly is no hope.
      But there lies the problem: with all of the work you've done trying to intellectualize god, you could have spent more time with science (you need it). You could have spent more time helping those who really need it instead of seeing it all as some work or magic or test of faith. You could have moved us forward instead of insisting that we not question anything b/c it's already been answered in the bible. And that's really what you've done here: No matter how much you beg me to be skeptical, your ultimate answer is that it's in the bible. period. No true scientist would rest that easily. it's an anathema.

      You betray your own humanity by not looking into your own heart and brain and not teasing out your cognitive dissonance to it's inevitable conclusion. That's a loss to our humanity. That's why Pascal's wager is one that should not be taken.

      Good luck, Tim.

      August 6, 2010 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
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