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. lyssa

    everyone deserves the right to marry. people need to face it and get over it. gay people getting married is not going to ruin the concept of marriage, the straight people already did a pretty damn good job of ruining the true meaning of marriage just look at the divorce rate.

    August 6, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. dan

    so there as always is a ton of back and forth on this but ask yourself, who invented marriage? Why would gay people want something that was not created for them? We have been making new things for ourselves for quite some time now, why don't they get something for themselves so marriage won't have to be redefined and it will benefit them as they obviously have different needs then the majority. No need to bash God, republicans, democrats, the US or anything else but this should have been a simple solution and once again turns into this group is bad and that group is dumb

    August 6, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    For all of those who are quoting scripture from the bible remember that most of what is stated in the Old Testament was fulfilled when Christ offered himself as a sacrifice, so we don't need to live the law of Moses anymore.

    August 6, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. tony russo

    whatever they do behinde closed doors that's their business, every man is responsible for their own actions. and their graves are seperate from ours. let them stand front of the ALMIGHTY and answer themselves.

    August 6, 2010 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. tony russo

    f*************c all the fa**************Gs

    August 6, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. tony russo

    who cares.

    August 6, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ben

    All content aside, the biggest crime here is that Anderson Cooper, the "360 degree," "neutral," reporter hardly even let Gallagher finish a sentence, while Wolfson got however long he wanted. Gallagher was set up to fail: she wasn't even in the studio while Wolfson was metaphorically and literally placed in an elevated throne. He got to start (clearly), was asked 3 questions, with each one leading more and more into his genius, while Gallagher only got one (she responded like a pompous supremacist, but that's beside the point), after which Wolfson was immediately asked to dispute it. Like I said, I'm not saying anything about the content here; I just believe that Anderson Cooper was very unprofessional in allowing his – and likely CNN's – bias to set Gallagher up for unconditional failure.

    Cooper, if you're going to call yourself a reporter, let the facts speak for themselves, don't speak for them.

    August 6, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. Oh NOES

    I know what she wants to protect – she wants to protect her Oreos. Maybe she should focus less on other people and more on getting on a treadmill and being there for her children rather than dying of heart disease.

    August 6, 2010 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brisingrsn

    For all those people out there wondering why people' votes are overruled in this case, this is the quote : " Right and wrong are not a product of consensus". The fact that the majority people vote for Prop 8 doesn't mean it's a right thing. Just because of majority people in your family doesn't like your wife/husband doesn't mean you have to divorce them.

    August 6, 2010 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. daph

    14th amendment...PROTECTS ALL CITIZENS
    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    August 6, 2010 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. daph

    14th amendment...
    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    August 6, 2010 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. GianCarlo

    They keep saying, oh the people spoke and that is that. No it's not. If that was the case we would still not have Civil rights for blacks. Blacks and whites would still not be able to marry; and we would still have slavery in the south. This is how ignorant these people are. Secondly It was not the people that spoke, it was that FAKE religion called the Mormons, the so called latter day saints. It was this phony cult of a religion that poured millions and millions of dollars to defeat it.

    August 6, 2010 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. MACDONALDBANK

    The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien told the Vatican that there was to be no cross erected over the Canadian Parliament buildings figuratively speaking; when the Pope demanded the Prime Minister go against gay rights. An Alberta bishop had the audacity to say that The Canadian Prime Minister would go to hell for going against the church. Such outrageous evil threats. The Right Honourable Prime Minister in return; basically told the Pope to go to Hell! The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Canadian Minister of Justice, stood for equal rights for the gay community. With reference to protecting the children: The Honourable Hedy Fry, member of the Canadian Liberal Parliament, who happens to be a doctor who delivered many babies; spoke eloquently to defend the rights of babies being born and stated that she was in fact defending their rights by speaking on behalf of equal rights for the children and youth of the future - defending their integrity and dignity. Minority rights should be decided by a dignified judicial system and/or a compassionate government.

    United States is supposedly fighting for democracy but within the U.S. they treat gays like secondary citizens. Being black or being gay is just as natural. If blacks or women’s rights were cast to the masses to decide … then the majority or lunatic fringe in this case - has the advantage to decide minority rights.

    August 6, 2010 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. MACDONALDBANK

    This bogus religious filth should be banned. It exists as a tax exempt structure which discriminates against human rights. The pope, bishops and mormons are cult members promoting discrimination against minorities. That bogus black book called the bible should be banned. Religion and the churches should now be exposed as a bigoted structure that gets away with hate mongering. Love between two guys or girls existed long before these cults existed. By enjoying their tax exempt status and benefits from the state it also puts them at the mercy of state; to be forced to adhere to the human rights laws. Religion is thriving like a cancerous growth on society that should be stopped in its tracks; outlawed & banned.

    August 6, 2010 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. MACDONALDBANK

    The pope is running a bigger fraud than Madoff’s $50 billion ripoff. Today’s evangelical extremists are like the nazis who cast others into ovens & are actually supremacists – who practice their bogus hocus pocus – and are trying to suppress and deprive others of their happiness and their legal rights in an open and proud society.

    August 6, 2010 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
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