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. Kyle

    The gay community seems to think they can make people accept their lifestyle. If someone feels it's wrong. I doesn't matter if they get married or not. The persons view is still the same. I for one will not accept it as normal. I know its not my place to judge them. I wil leave that to God. However I will not accept it. Besides the court case was a joke. The judge since he was gay had already made up his mind before he heard for either side. Our judicial systems is a joke. Justice goes to the one with the most money and who screams the loudest. I'ts your life. I hope you enjoy the lake of fire.

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

      Well since I've accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour that shouldn't be a problem. He is the new convenant and overides anything else. John 3:16 buddy. OR do you want to take this up with God?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      lol, thanks bud. I'll prolly see you there too.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Please leave God out of the picture. Until Christians can produce rock-hard proof that God exists, he should not be allowed to influence political policy. Go ahead and condemn these so-called "sinners" to hell. You may look great in the eyes of God, but to the rest of us you look like a self-righteous bigot.

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

      Where is the like button for this comment? I completely agree with you.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      Hi Kyle. Yeah, you say you are going to leave the judging to Me. But your comment is full of judging. And, just so we are clear; we had to get rid of that lake of fire. The price of brimstone went out the roof in the mid 18th Century and we had to cut our losses. Really glad we replaced it with a tennis court though. And ya know what else? There is no Hell; I just made that up because I'm God and I can do whatever I want. Gotta go now. Work on that not judging thing Kyle, please?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      Thought you weren't going to judge?

      August 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • zomge

      I don't think I can make people accept who I am. That is absurd. I believe we can change the laws to give us equal rights (the rights you – assuming you are straight here – and many others get to enjoy every day). There will always be some people who disagree with it, just as some people still disagree with interracial marriage. They are allowed to hold that belief, however they cannot impose their belief on others.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      As a resident of a free society, you don't have to LIKE what they do, but you do have to accept it. Until gay marriage directly causes you harm in some way, you're just going to have to get over it.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eric

    Bob, so...Jesus – the CHRIST – wasn't a Christian? Either you missed that word in your indepth study of the Bible, or you don't understand that the originator of a group usually provides the source name for the group. ie Christ followers become Christians.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Auticus

      Actually, Jesus was jewish. The term "Christian" did not come about until much later after his death.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • BE

      Actually Jesus was a Jew... but you're correct, his followers were Christians.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Real America

      Jesus was jewish.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      Wow, what an epic level of failure that was.

      Yes, not only was Jesus a Jew, neither he nor any of his followers read a Bible until it was written two hundred years after his death.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andrew Messenger

    BZZZZZZZZ. That's the buzzz.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SpartanGreen

    This woman neglects to mention that the vote in favor of Proposition 8 was VERY close – 48% to 52%. She says 7 MILLION people were overrulled by ONE judge, but doesn't mention that 6.5 MILLION voted against the discriminatory Proposition 8 and agree with this court's finding.

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

    so let me get this... 1 gay judge can overturn the will of the people!?

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

      yep. just like one black judge and several others can overturn millions of southern voters who wanted to keep blacks and whites separate. what corner of dumb do you live in?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stud

      Honey, one gay can overthrow a mid-sized sparsly decorated living room into a palace of pure luxury. We are capable of many, many things. And don;t even get me started on my Capsi Marino wine tasting parties....not to toot my own horn, but, AMAZING! Stop on by the villa sometime and we will introduce you to all our hot straight 'girl frineds' and we will even teach you how to dance and shave without that yuky razor burn look!

      August 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Real America

      And millions of dollars poured into California from the Mormon church in UTAH
      to get this law passed.
      Utah's mormon money influeneced a California vote.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Katie

    Yes, all people are equal. But this decision is not about equality or rights.

    Marriage by definition differentiates some relationships from others. (Only two people can be married, minors can't marry, and close relations can't marry.) When a judge claims that the public can't define marriage in a particular way, he is denying the public the right to define marriage at all.

    What grounds do we have to say that two men can get married, but that that a FLSD or Mormon man can not marry two wives? If it benefits a child taking care of a disabled parent to "marry", what legal grounds do we now have for refusing?

    Unless this ruling is reversed, it is the first step on a path that will eventually eliminate marriage altogether.

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

      Yeah – lets go the other way instead. Now your marriage is illegal because you are mean.

      cool idea!

      August 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Real America

    Right now it feels real good to be an American.
    Elena Kagan should get confirmed today.
    Winds of change.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steven

    At least time's on equality's side. In time, we'll look at this controversy with the same odd curiosity as interracial marriage laws from the past decades. Our children, and their children will not have the same phobia of gay people. Why spend energy on this? Lets work on the economy instead.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stan

    Was Jesus Christ ever married?

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

      Depends on which facts you accept as facts. Many books that did not make it into the bible claim that he was indeed married and had children. They were removed from consideration into the New Testament because the authors wanted to portray the man known as "Jesus" as a divine being, not as a man.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      yeeeaah, bible and facts together in the same sentence. Not sure how I feel about that.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paolo

    To any one who cares THAT much about what others do behind closed doors, I say "The lady doth protest too much, methinks".

    August 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. zippytata

    jurisprudence thrown out the window by way of a partial judge making a ruling (instead of recusing himself from the case) at the federal level that overturns what the voters of that state voted for and had passed ...

    The USA is a democratic republic where the states give DC its power NOT DC allotting its power to the states. As much as the politically correct 'progressives' want to spin it gay marriage is not indentured servitude and to make that comparison is frankly an insult to all the abhorrence that was slavery.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dog

      zippy you are completely lost. Our system was set up with checks and balances just to protect us from stupid voters like this. Sometimes the majority means all the morons are on the same side.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    "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. " – San Jose Mercury News editorial

    I'm guessing that just a few years from now when NAMBLA comes out and wants it to be legal for a 45 YO man to "marry" a 15YO boy the decision will be just as historic and allow that too. I guessing that in just a few years when Fred wants to marry Wilma and Betty the decision will be just as historic and allow that too. I guessing that in just a few years when Seigfried wants to marry one of his tigers the decision will be just as historic and allow this too.

    Think I'm overreacting? Think I'm speaking in hyperbole? Wait a few short years and lets see what new "forms of marriage" come down the pike. Creeping incremental ism, it is now what it's always been.

    And @Kevin: The State of California has been intruding and interfering in peoples lives for decades now. Why do you believe they should be stopped in this one?

    August 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnrj08

      yeah, and when the slaves were freed some people said, "What will they want next? Interracial marriage?" And when women got the right to vote, some people said, "What will they want next? Equal pay for equal work?"

      There are always a bunch of idiots like you lining up to obstruct any progress in our society.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIchael

      I'm thinking it will be okay for gays to marry a 15 year old boy when it's okay to marry a 15 year old girl which straight men have been dreaming of for years in the US. No worries dude, there are many places on the planet you can go to do that, hope you like sand though.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • geekgirl

      Why is it that so many opponents of gay marriage always go right for the "what's next?" argument decrying the slippery slope to men marrying little boys, or people wanting to marry animals? I think there's a little sicko in each one of you that even suggests that. That said, no one is trying to change the fundamental structure of marriage as a CONTRACT between two people which comes with benefits from all levels of government. You can't enter into a contract if you are a minor or an animal. That's why the scenario that seems to be lurking somewhere in your fantasy life will not come to pass.

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

      You forget that gay marraige is between two consenting adults. Marraige between an adult and a child or an adult and an animal is not, the adult is forcing the other to act.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj1

      Yeah, I thought I'd be able to marry my pet once whites and blacks could marry, but no such luck yet. Guess you prophets aren't what they used to be, eh, genius?

      August 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb

      You are overreacting. Don't worry, it will all be OK. The difference is that gay marriage is between two consenting adults where as children and animals do not have autonomy. Meaning that they can never be said to have a full understanding of what they would be agreeing to. That would be a violation of the rights of the animal or the child. A free thinking society cannot and would not make legal something like that because it violates the rights of others. Thanks.

      August 6, 2010 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. ifyouseenkay

    this is pretty bad.

    what givesONE guy the right to overturn a law? who gave ONE guy the right to decide the fate of millions? who allows ONE guy to have so much power? power greater than all of congress. power greater than the president. who allowed the ONE to rule the many? WHO?

    and, if this ONE guy's OPINION (remeber this is the ONE guy's OPINIION-which does not make it right nor not right). so, given this ONE guy's opinion does that mean that to freely exercise one's RIGHT to marriage (and equality) can the registered child molester now marry the seven year old neighbor boy? what would stop him? a law? well that doesn't mean much. seriously, what would stop him? law, morality, mores of society? they all can be changed!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Yes, and he is the only ONE guy that isn't against gay marriage is he?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuteKate

      It's called a judge and guess what – THAT IS HIS JOB.

      I mean seriously how did any of these yahoos get past 9th grade?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • geekgirl

      Actually if you want to know, Reagan/Bush gave him the power. He was one of their appointees.

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

      Yeah its called the judicial system. And for the record, it can and is being appealed. So in reality it will eventually come down to a handful of people making the decision. We elect a president to make major decisions all the time.... 2 senators to make decisions for the entire state, work for a boss that makes decisions for an entire company. Its called hierarchy and its the only way to get anything accomplished in a large society.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Real America

    Wasnt Massachusettes supposed to drop into the ocean, or burn in hell ?
    Its still there, they are doing just fine.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anonymous

    I think we should ban ALL marriage.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
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