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. Margaret S

    Gay lifestyles are an abomination. Don't get me wrong. I love people, I just think that the gay lifestyle is unnatural. Not normal. Sorry to offend anyone but woman was made for man, period.

    August 5, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Well that is your belief. Who are you to dictate to people what is morally just and unjust?

      August 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rick

    I think it's time for that Maggie Gallagher to find a new job.

    August 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |


    August 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The truth is

    The truth is: I too also seriously thought God doesn't exist . . . . . I did say much, if all that that being said here that "religion is complete crap, ignorant, bigot morons" I was failed too by religion many times over – but
    1.) Knowing that Jesus was also was rejected by religion of his time (the Pharisee) – So religion also failed Jesus himself (Jesus)
    2) I did say ignorant, bigot thoughts with my friends – Knowing that at the time judgment my friends will not be there and they can not save me.

    The truth is: Religion all failed us . . . all (you, me and the son of God himself) . . . . . . . now we must accept the fact that you and I must not depend on religion, since both you and I have personally proven evidence that religion has a reputation of failing . . . .

    The truth is: Jesus death change all the rules:
    You don't need religion-proven failure, You and I need Jesus- he never fails

    After accepting a free unconditional (come as you are) gift of salvation, you are made free from the penalties of sins and called upon to be imitator of Jesus (to do what Jesus did)

    That's way too cool offer to past up – I challenge you read entire book of Mark and Luke to see acts he did.

    August 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DarthWoo

      This isn't even one of the articles that only displays one short page of the most recent comments where one can fall off the front page quickly, so why do you feel the need to start spamming?

      August 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tiemeup

    "We hold these truths to be self evident: THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL; that they are endowed by THEIR Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." – Thomas Jefferson
    Let people be who they want, marry who they want! Just because you don't agree with the lifestyle, doesn't mean I'm less of a person!

    August 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David G

    As a native Californian, I have followed the Prop 8 from the beginning. I have heard news reporters say that an over whelming number of voters favored prop 8, and this is false. The final vote came down to a few thousand.

    August 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mama Vic

    I have been reading on this all day (off and on) and I have got to say there are some SERIOUSLY deranged people out there.. I dont think that equal rights were intended from the beginning, but it is 2010; it is HIGH TIME to get off the religious High Horse; Black People have full rights, Women vote, all kinds of EVOLVING has been going on.. people are fighting to seperate Church and State but using the Bible and their sqewered version of it to back up their fight to maintain their own superiority because without it they are NOTHING... if it is wrong then it is between the people involved and their GOD, if it isnt, then Hip Hip Horray for Love conquering all!! if I cant pray with my child in School, how can you use "God's rules" as backup of your wants??? and WHY do I have to Swear on the Bible before I testify in a courtroom?? YOU CANNOT have it both ways

    August 5, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    It is honestly disgusting that people are so blatantly against things that have NOTHING to do with them.

    Really? I cannot wait for the day in which a "majority" (like the WHOPPING 52% that voted for Prop 8) gets to vote against all of the close-minded people out there.

    What is gay marriage going to affect in YOUR life? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If SSM is banned, gays are denied rights and their lives are infringed upon. If it is legalized, then NO ONE is infringed upon whatsoever.

    August 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Thenonviolentsolution

    There is only one viable solution to this whole thing.

    This is a cultural issue, it will rip our people apart to the teeth, because, when you stir things up in this exact fashion, regardless, people are going to get hurt, I know there is going to be violence if it reaches the Supreme Court, Regardless of either outcome. There is only one solution that can be attained to achieving a peaceful goal.

    The religious and the non-religious have a cultural battle, but the only way to solve this is to make all things Civil Union in the United States, Culturally you can call it what you want, that way your not forcing anyone to anyone's viewpoint, in terms of rights, they are all the same, no more no less. You can't force me to believe that a gay couple marrying is the same as too natural couples marrying, no matter what, i will never respect that or except it as what I view, but I can give you the same rights as me.

    Because the word Marriage, will cause an uproar, and because it is a cultural-religious and too far, way to controversial, the Government should only recognize Unions as the right to share things with your family or partner, that is secular, not religious or cultural.

    Otherwise, with the way this nation is going already.....well, it's not going to end pretty, just so you nay-Sayers remember, they didn't have nuclear weapons in the civil war...

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

    why do people always bring religion into this, more specifically using thier percieved morals to rule the actions of others. dont they realize that whatever god they believe in gave them the freedom of "choice". The ability to walk thier own path no matter if its right or wrong. By denying this right in any form is perhaps the most profane thing you can do.

    August 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Benjamin

    Go and tell your mother and father that what they did in giving you life and raising you is teh same as or equal to what to men or two women do. Hopefully they will slap some sense into you.

    August 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DarthWoo

      And if they're adopted?

      August 5, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MOM of 7

    If the Right says they're defending "families", make the law read that you can have "legal flings" (some sort of legal binding THAT POINTS OUT THERE AREN'T CHILDREN YET) and then you have MARRIAGE ( a child must be produced). But EVERYONE HAS TO START WITH "Legal Fling". Great !!!! No kids, just fooling around having fun, real is for those that have children. Too old to have kids? TOO BAD!!! Unable to have kids- TOO BAD!!!! This way the right can "protect" families- not couples. Because couple just infers 2- not a family.

    August 5, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MOM of 7

    To Darthwoo _ adoption would be producing a child. There aren't rules that you would have to be the blood parent- Just that you are now "family" not a "couple".

    August 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nohee Di-ent

    As long as there is a statue of Dig-Em at the wedding, let em be.....And the can't be all up on our faces about it....

    August 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kazz


    August 5, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
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