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. Deborah

    I wonder how straight folks would feel if Gays & Lesbians could vote and decide how they should be allowed to live..

    August 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duane W

      Could not have said it better Deborah

      August 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      Deborah, I believe, in this country, if you are over 18 and a legal resident – you CAN vote. next...

      August 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      Agreed, could not have put that better.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. es

    Never seen a group so eager to get the taste of divorce...

    August 5, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. US Citizen


    August 5, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • McCluck

      Sounds like you are very educated. That explains why you dont understand that there are laws in place that protect the minority from the unjustified, rights-denying opinions of the majority. In this case, the hypocrite-religious majority.

      August 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • DarthWoo

      I think his response just about confirmed your conjecture, McCluck.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • McCluck

      lol, thats all i can do. You should be a comedian US Citizen

      August 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. clear2be

    better approach will be to make all people in US having the same rights, or other words, paying same taxes, having the same benefits, same hospital visiting rights and more
    sick and tired to see discrimination in U.S.A which is based on gender, marriage status, number of children, race etc

    August 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob Dole

    THE JUDGE WHO RULED AGAINST PROP 8 IS GAY?!?!?! I just found this out, obviously he's gonna rule against it, LMAO! This case was over before it even started, what a JOKE!

    August 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amer1can

      Exactly Bob!! Huge Joke!!

      August 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • DarthWoo

      If you'd actually learned anything about the case, you'd find that the defendants had such an untenable position that all but two of their so-called expert witnesses dropped out after depositions rather than face embarrassment. The two witnesses that remained tried using the same tired arguments that so easily get shot down in forums such as this day after day, and who relied on sources such as, "It's on the Internet" and flagrant liars such as George Rekers. No reasonable judge, gay or not, could possibly have taken the defense of Prop 8 as it was presented seriously.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Dole

      I did learn about that. I also learned that he's gay.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      totally Bob Dole. that's why anytime a black person goes in front of a black judge they always win! oh, and what about the jews helping jews. it's all a big conspiracy.... do you realize how dumb that sounds?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bry

      I'm guessing that he doesn't get it Jason. If he had any shred of intelligence or common sense at all he'd be on the other side of the debate entirely.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • duh

      Did you also learn that the "Activist Judge" Vaughn R. Walker (a Republican) appointed Ronald Reagan in 1987 had his nomination held up by two dozen House Democrats, led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi because of his alleged "insensitivity" to gays and the poor?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      You're a moron Bob. It would have been impossible to have an unbiased judge. People are either gay or straight and in this case there is no neutral ground. You're just upset the bias didn't go your way, that's all.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Hey bob, you're straight so you shouldn't have a say either then by that logic. PLEASE see past your own biases.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj1

      The man was appointed by Reagan, then Bush, and gays protested AGAINST him! Get your facts straight, no pun. He's not gay. If anything, he has a reputation for being anti-gay.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alan

    Proposition 8 was a simple matter of one group of people telling another group of people, "You can't have this because you're different." Nobody EVER has the right to tell another group something like this. I don't care if Prop 8 was passed by the voters or not. You do NOT have the right to limit the civil rights of another law abiding human being. Period.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • McCluck

      Bu bu but god says....WAAAh (crying baby)

      August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      Marriage wasn't broken, and it didn't need to be fixed. Or at least that's what the voters said. Gays can still sit anywhere on the bus they want to.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuteKate

      Marriage was broken if it wasn't allowed to be used by everyone – I'm sorry you don't like the rest of the world. We can be annoying when we don't agree with foolishness, I'm sure.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jesus Christ

    Alright guys, seriously... not cool. I've only been gone for 2,000 years and ya'll are already actin up a fool.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • DS

      JC! What a trip, man; I didn't know you were from the South.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Dude where have you been! 2,000 years? I've been calling your name every time I stub my toe and you never showed.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Viper1j

    As with this, Mass will be the first state that will make it legal to marry your sister, and flocks of siblings will make the pilgrimage..

    August 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • McCluck

      Slippery slope arguments are trash.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mytoys666

      You obviously have never been south of the mason-dixon line. Why do you care what gay people do, I am straight and I could give a rat's a$$ if gay people get married or not, it does not interfere with my life. On the other hand I do wish Southerners would stop breeding or is that in-breeding, actually both

      August 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Yes, Lets make another law that lets you marry your pet dog or cat. Look at that movie Meet the Robinsons why not let someone marry their puppet or stuffed animals. Looks like the future is into abnormal behavior..

      August 5, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIchael

      So I guess you'll be waiting in line for that one huh? OR did you CHOOSE not to love your sister?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      Actually it is already legal in many states for first cousins to marry. I do not see them rushing to the altar in North Carolina, where it is legal. Get over yourself.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vaco

      Maybe someday it will be legal to marry your sister, or your dog, or that stuffed bear you've had since you were a child. But ask yourself this: are there more people in America who would allow these types of marriages, or are there more people who would deny members of one religion/race/creed the right to marry someone of another? The slippery slope (or social momentum) goes both ways and once you write laws to target one minority they tend to have unintended consequences.

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

    George W. Bush often attributes his political success due to the fact that he has a good wife. The really sad part of it is that no one would have voted for him had he not been married.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cheese Fries

    Make it legal for lesbians, illegal for gays. Simple.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuteKate

      Time to give your mom back her computer and ask her about the birds and the bees.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aaron

    The bible does NOT define marriage as between one man and one woman. It defines is as between one man and MULTIPLE women. Do we allow that in our society? No. Why? Because as a society, we have evolved past that. Even if the bible DID define marriage as such, why should we base our society upon rules created more than 2,000 years ago by nomadic herdsmen with no written system of laws or governance. The entire notion is ridiculous. People who believe otherwise have more in common with the Taliban than they do with the founding fathers. Christians... embrace your own theology and love EVERYONE, not just those who think like you do.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • McCluck

      You can say things like that. Their heads will start popping.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      The Bible most emphatically does define marriage as between one man and one woman. Gen 2:24 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Next...what other liberal Bible scholars are out there? What followed in the Old Testament was never condoned by God. He allowed it, just as he allows all kinds of things today that go against his best plan. We are free moral agents to do what we will – and He uses us with his plans, even as we are broken vessels who disappoint him.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph

      The judge just wants to anger the middle and far right conservatives in California so they show their strength in numbers (not Biblically speaking) and vote straight Republican in the elections. This way, those who are indifferent and liberals lose again.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      I am sorry Eric – where is it that I am suppose to follow the Bible?

      August 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joshua

    As a Christian, I would be pretty angry if my pastor married a gay couple. However, this has nothing to do with religion. Gays {who are together anyway} just want to be able to file a join tax return and so forth. Who cares, no skin off my back. Don't get me wrong, I think they are "sinners," but who isn't. I don't see Jews trying to force me to eat Kosher.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Look up Sodom and Gomorrah.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIchael

      Dude seriously you can condem or condone anything by quoting the Bible. You can't even agree amoung yourselves which version is right. Stop using religioun, that's why we left England.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      MIchael, If we can not agree on something, does it mean there is no truth? There is a God and he has written the truth down. you having strong opinions does not make it otherwise. What is your basis for truth? In other words, What other than random guessing causes you to say this is true and that is not true? How do you know there is no God and the Bible is not true. What authority tells you this?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuteKate

      For one thing, your bible constantly contradicts itself, for another, your god apparently hasn't the power to make himself heard by anyone. So either give it up, or find a more visible powerful god.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIchael


      I actually I have an extremely deep faith and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour when I was 14. It was the most incredible experience of my life. When I was being baptised I swear I could breathe even though I was submerged under the water.

      Three years later I wanted to take my own life because I realized I was a gay man.

      It was only by extensively reading and truly understanding the message of unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus that I felt welcomed back into God's arms. So I ask you to listen to his word and put more energy into spreading love than into making people bitter. Let your church decide who wants to get married inside their walls, but don't deny me that right. I truly believe Jesus is celebrating with everyone that agrees with this decision of letting gays and lesbians celebrate their love for each other.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      MIchael, I am glad to hear you have found Christ. But this conversation has nothing to do with me spreading love. The truth counts too. Critically talking about something is not hate or the lack of love. Here is your riddle for today: Did Jesus turn the rock into bread when he was hungry?

      August 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • duckman

      Tim, I've heard this riddle before. The answer is no, because Jesus never existed!

      August 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tim

    The biggest story of the this week is; why is only FOXNEWS covering the election results in Missouri? 71% of voters voted in a proposition affecting a larger number of people than Prop 8. Prop C is a strong single to Obama that the people don't want his health care reform. It is big news. Yet CNN does not cover it. Interesting.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • keith

      It was front page news yesterday on CNN. Also, only 20% of the voting population showed up to vote in Missouri.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Pete

      So a better turnout then usual?

      August 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sandymush

    Two Questions...Can a man and a man create a human life....NO...Can a woman and a woman create human life...NO
    Then why sure they have the same rights as a man AND woman who can keep the circle of life going?

    August 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • McCluck

      yep and little girls and boys should have no rights till they hit puberty. Cripple people should have their right revoked soon after they get in that car crash, and old people once they cant get it up or menstrate. Nice try.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuteKate

      What does marriage have to do with creating life? Nobody needs marriage to make babies – ask your sister.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      I'm with the peoples front of Judeah, and since I have recently changed my name from Reginald to Lorretta, I would vote for your right to have children even if you could not...

      August 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • K

      So since I can't have kids, I can't get married, since I can't keep the circle of life going? Why don't you try reading the actually ruling. Pages 109 through the end. The US government doesn't care if you can have children or not.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj1

      Do you realize that that question was answered by the judge? So why don't you bother reading it–its on every news site. Too lazy, or maybe you are mentally challenged? If so, maybe you should be denied the right to marry, cuz your offspring will cost taxpayers too much.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. eric

    Hey McCluck – slippery slope arguments are only trash for those who don't know how to read history books.


    Slippery slope arguments are trash.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • McCluck

      Because there are instances in history where a slippery slope has occurred it follows that they will always occur. *buzzer* -Logic fail try again.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
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