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. KarenAScofield

    I see people are repeatedly butting heads over science, atheism, and religion. Repeatedly. Ad nauseum. Rationalism vs.religionism is problematic and derails an interdisciplinary and informed approach to the topic at hand. At hand is not a theological argument but a ruling about the State of California can forbid or not. Religions may still have their theological boundaries. Scientists may still have their science. As Americans, we can still have Christian, atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Druid, Sikh or alternative weddings. As Americans, we can demand that minority civil rights aren't put up for popular vote or referendum.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mr donut

    looks like sodom and gomorroh all over again

    August 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. james

    so people do not want the gov to dictate whether or not they buy health insurance, but are more than eager to have the gov (state and/or fed) to dictate who can and cannot marry?
    if being gay is a choice (maybe, maybe not) and gays getting married is a choice. then, isnt all marriages a choice? isnt interracial marriages a choice? isn't being dem or rep or tp'er a choice? christian, jew, muslim a choice?

    so, it was the voice of the voters that decided. so, does that mean, i as a voter have the right to tell my neighbors who they can and cannot marry? whether they are straight, gay, black, white, whatever? or who his children can marry or associate with?
    if DOMA becomes an amendment to the USC, then that will null and void the separation and religion clause of the first amendment. and the big bad federal government will make its ultimate intrusion into individuals lives.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gary

    @joe It's funny that you say that because I've found that most atheists possess the intellect of a rabbit with Downs Syndrome, which I suppose explains why you think they've actually "won" the argument...

    August 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      haha, this was supposed to be posted in another forum but CNN won't let you delete your own comment.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vincent

    I cannot say that I am surprised by the adverse decision by the judge concerning prop 8.
    The judge has stayed his ruling, and in this regard, I felt it prudent to get sound advice from the only fairy that I trust, Miss Tinkerbell.
    Miss Tinkerbell suggests that the ruling be stayed for 9 months at least, thus allowing the "victors" to procreate like normal married people do.
    The outcome should be very interesting:)

    August 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eagle1

    I Love America. Only in America do you see this unfold. No country is perfect but we have a system that has evolved through time, for the most part, to be just. I am not gay but I do believe that under civil law gay people who love each other should have the same rights and privileges as I do. Although this contradicts my religious beliefs I am no one to pass judgment. Man should learn from history with regards to what happens when we try to play "saviors" or "gods' soldiers". Ultimately this leads to the oppression of people and that is not right.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rick

    This Maggie Gallagher is a kook. I'm embarrassed to say that I live in Westchester county NY with her. An oppressed minority can not have their rights voted away by a majority. Plain and simple.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brendan Bouffler

    What a twisted existence it must be to be Ms Gallagher. Her sole raison d'être is to ensure that a group of people she doesn't like is denied a fairly basic right which is to be treated equally and with the tolerance and respect that she expects for her spouse and herself.

    It would be somehow satisfying to one day discover that one of her kids are gay, but in that case I'd feel so terribly sorry for them because they'd have a mother whose very dark dark inner thoughts are more like contempt and hatred than the unconditional love that a parent should bring forth.

    It can't be much fun for her swimming against the tide of inevitability, but to do so with such smug disdain for other people won't being a good result for her and her followers.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    So, what's next? Pedophiles are born that way, should we legalize that? Where does this stop?

    August 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jen

    It saddens me that what should be a great day for many people has turned into a "bash-all" conversation. Practice what you preach, people. If you want equality, treat and speak to others AS EQUALS. Everyone just wants to be heard, including myself. We can't make peaceful strides if we keep getting caught up in stupid arguments–an atheist won't convince a Christian there is no God, and vice versa, at least not right now or especially over the internet. I believe in Jesus, and maybe that means you'll discount what I say, but if I really want to follow Him, it's time to love those around me, even if they don't share my beliefs. We all have to open up our minds and just LISTEN first.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dave

    This is one area that Iran has the answer in how to deal with this sinful behavior.
    This is one of the falls of our country where some of our leaders are supporting this type of behavior

    August 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob Dole

    I am neutral on this matter, I couldn't care less about whether or not guys want to be legally acknowledged for taking it up the hoo-hoo, but this is a travesty of the judicial system and our democracy if I ever saw one. The citizens of California voted on this measure, if what the judge says is law IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ON THE BALLOT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    They are trying to do the same thing with medical marijuana. Citizens vote but then they find ways to overturn it. We are losing the freedom of our democracy folks.

    The fact that the judge is gay is more icing on the cake.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob Dole

    I am neutral on this matter, I couldn't care less about whether or not guys want to be legally acknowledged for taking it up the hoo-hoo, but this is a travesty of the judicial system and our democracy if I ever saw one. The citizens of California voted on this measure, if what the judge says is law IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ON THE BALLOT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    They are trying to do the same thing with medical marijuana. Citizens vote but then they find ways to overturn it. We are losing the freedom of our democracy folks.

    The fact that the judge is gay is more icing on the cake. And the people comparing this to race makes me LOL ALL AROUND. How rare is a gay federal judge? I'll tell you, there's only 2 that are openly out there and he's one of them. What are the chances that this case DIRECTLY AFFECTING THEM is in his hands. This was over before it started.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kurt

    What is "judicial activism"??? Are you people suggesting that judges should have no power? We just lop off that part of our government? Let's all just stop interpreting our laws and enforce them however we please! What a fantastic idea.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DarthWoo

    Does being the creation and plaything of a demonstrably sadistic and malevolent deity give life so much more value than just being alive and sapient for this tiny droplet in the ocean of time? If anything, the whole idea of an afterlife would seem to devalue the life itself.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
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