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. clear2be

    Definatey, Jesus Christ did belive in God. We all should do the same.

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

      clear2be, Jesus is God.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mariella

      Jesus was probably a deranged schizo who thought he was someone awesome sorry man sucks for you!

      August 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ghostality

    It is obvious Maggie is biased based upon her statements. More importantly, look at how deep discrimination goes. For someone to say a child needs both a man and a woman as parents to grow up is not only speculative discrimination against a man but also a woman. What skills/differences are they talking about? And why is it not pointed out a gay man has both male and female tendencies which could easily provide either male or female virtues to a child? And why the child? Not everyone has a kid. But everyone has the right to be who they are. What makes Ms. Gallagher's argument complicated is the fact it doesn't make sense. Lies are often complicated. The truth is not.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joel

    Maggie Gallagher is a biggoted cow.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusty Burgoon-Clark

      If Maggie "Moo-moo" Gallagher was a REAL Kristianist, she would cover her HEAD and STFU! She is UDDERLY repulsive (eg).

      August 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    Given the decision so Bigamy is legal as well? Insestual marriage?

    August 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dxp2718

    LOL Chuck Donovan – if marriage is for mothers, fathers, and their children, what about all the marriages that don't result in children? And what about the gay marriages that do? Yes, lots of gay couples either adopt or have children together – sometimes the child is even biologically related to both parents because they get help from a close relative of the opposite gender. And wouldn't it be nice if those children were afforded the same protections as their peers with two opposite-gender parents?

    August 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JC

    Rational thought 1 Ideology and hate 0

    August 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    What we really need to do in America is to have seven to ten million people vote to Outlaw Divorce and the wearing of clothing made from two different kinds of materials, and prohibit the eating of shellfish. And then impose that newly enacted law (voted for by the People, of course) on the rest of the nation. That's what we really need to expend our time and effort on. After all, it is Biblical that those things should not be done as it is extremely sinful to do so. So, listen up - Let's Now Go After Those Who Are Doing These Things. Moral of the story, people will never ever understand another person's being and his plight and the way he was created until they walk in his shoes. And until you do, zip it or clip it. End of story.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • dabble53

      Don't forget to outlaw cheeseburgers while you're at it! And bacon, ham, ... all things pork....

      August 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jesus Christ

    Dear People,

    August 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. owen

    Mildred Loving is laughing, and congratulating the gays for their victory.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jesus Christ

    Dear People,

    Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate gays or endorse hateful comments.

    With Love from above,

    August 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerome

    Lots of different religions on this planet, lots of different gods. Lots of different marriage rituals. Lots of marriages outside of church, outside of specific beliefs. Lots of decent, loving, human beings, hoping to find strength, on the path of life, by being connected to someone they love, and declaring that love to the world. And some tax incentives.
    To be telling others who they can love, when that love does in no way infringe on anyone else's freedom, is spiritually vacant, and very disconnected from social and historical reality.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. H Lawson

    I'm just curious. Is this not supposed to be a democracy? I cannot understand how the PEOPLE spoke and voted for one thing and then in one fell swoop one person can come back and totally disregard and reverse what the PEOPLE wanted! What's the point in have votes, if they're not going to matter? I'm sorry, but this is wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Every election you hear the PEOPLE being told to go and and vote, vote, vote. Why? Our votes do not matter. When the PEOPLE speaks and lets their voice be heard, they are undermined. Why even vote?

    August 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jesus Christ

    Dear People,

    Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate gays or endorse hateful comments.

    With Love from above,

    August 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hankins

    This isn't right. Why can't I marry who I want...even if it is my brother or cousin. The government shouldn't stop us. Look at the Mormons, they want to marry two are three people, I say let them.!!!

    August 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. XC

    Again, marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe you should feel free to partner with whomever you please and that you should receive the same rights and privileges as a married couple – just don't call it a marriage – call it something else.

    August 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
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