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. WowMe

    if you don't support gay marriage, then don't buy them a wedding gift. why do people care so much about how others are living their lives. your opinion is not going to change who they are. get over yourselves and accept the fact that you can't dictate how people should love one another

    August 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The Myth

    There are so many judges in this country who are half baked, and ill equipped to actually be judges, it amazes me the country is even functioning this well. They are an embarrassment to the legal process.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fred in IT

    Several things –
    1) Marriage, according to evangelicals, is not a sacrament. Sacraments are only those ordained by Christ. Being – Baptism, Communion and Absolution.

    1b) Marriage is a social construct that religion used to solidify a position within a community. In that, they became the defacto officiator of the rite with the community. And, as such, imposed their rules on the ceremony.

    2) What consenting adults do within their domiciles is up to them – so long as the actions are not in violation of the others' human rights. Personally, I don't like to see straight couples kissing in public (beyond the 'peck'). I expect the same from gays.

    3) Gays and lesbians are not pedophiles. Pedophiles 1) violate basic human rights 2) direction their actions against a non-consenting minor. For that they should get the George Carlin punishment – Dipped in brown gravy, locked in a small room with a wolverine high on angel dust.

    Marriage's purpose was to ensure that the offspring would have redundant support infrastructures during times of crisis, as well as the ability to load-balance raising duties. With modern society, acceptance of adoptions (which also used to be frowned upon) the support doesn't matter if its a singleton or dual parents. Biological or not. The important thing is that the child is loved, nurtured and cared for. Anyone that has raised a child knows that their most important questions are "Do you love me?" "Do you accept me for who I am?" "Are you proud of me when I do good?" So long as the parents, no matter what kind, are there to answer those questions openly and honestly, the child will grow up to be happy and successful.

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

    Anderson cooper is biased because he is gay, that's why he keeps cutting the lady off and treating her like she is dumb.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • CN

      He treats her like she's dumb because that's what she is.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Jesus was a reformist Jew. He did not create Christianity. Christianity was created, and subsequently distorted, by his followers. If Jesus were around today, he would totally disavow those who call themselves Christians. And he would applaud Judge Walker for putting his philosophy of love for all ahead of the philosophy of self-centeredness that masquerades as Christianity.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      A) what does this have to do with the article?
      B) don't speak for Jesus

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

      Jesus is Christ. "No one come to the Father except through me."

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

      Then my mom has some explainin to do because my dad will be plssed.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Military Member

    As a young active duty military troop I find it very aggravating that they are basically saying that votes don't matter. What's the point in voting if they are going to over rule it. Everyone can go on and on about voting about slavery that wouldn't be right (For one thing you ARE either born black or white you don't have a choice on that one, but you do have a choice what lifestyle you live) and that. Bottom line, they shouldnt ignore votes, thats a freedom, religious or not, you guys who are for this are probably wanting to take GOD out of the money, the pledge of allegiance and among other things. If you say no then you are a hypocrite because thats separating church and state. Bottom line I am fighting for this country and its freedoms but if people are just going to over rule votes that is a disgrace and taking away peoples freedoms.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired!

      Thats right, because anyone who supports the right for someone the right to self actualization hate God and all religion. You know, its not that people don't believe in God necessarily...I don't believe in the God that some people describe. And if people wanted God to be taken off money and all the other obsurd things you describe, there would be a larger movement. Your rational is so naive its scary and sad. Furthermore, votes are not the end all be all in American government, politics or life. Voting is only necessary to have a legitimate democracy...voting is a protection for individual against corrupt government action. Simply, voting is a check on government power. Propositions are a way for government to survey public opinion...just because people participate in a vote doesnt mean the vote will stand. If you are for that kind of voting, uncheck and uncontestable voting...that is sad. If that is the case when America votes in a way that would harm service members you should just suck it up and deal with it. NOTHING in government is perminent...that is the beauty of Democracy.

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

      EXACTLY!!! What was the point in putting it to a vote? This is very disturbing just from that point of view, gay marriage aside

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

      I can see why you're in the military. Thanks for getting angry over people excercising the freedoms you're supposedly fighting for.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuteKate

      Honey – the vote was against freedoms. Wasn't that what you were fighting for? You think it's OK if a lot of people decide military men should no longer be able to be married? If you don't like America, I suggest you leave it's military.

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

      You make no sense. You claim you are fighting for people's freedoms. So then why are you arguing AGAINST people's freedoms at the same time? You can't have it both ways.

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

      If being gay is a choice? Can you "choose" to be attracted to men? Even if it were a choice, that doesn't make one ounce of difference. Should we be allowed to discriminate and deny people with certain religious beliefs their rights? Religion is a "choice" therefore according to your logic we can vote to deny people of certain faiths their rights.

      August 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Justin

    I've been told my whole life that in this country you are free to do anything you want as long as it doesn't take away someone else's freedom.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Uhh, yeah... UNLESS its goes against God anf the Bible!!! duh. :p

      August 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      If that were true Mike, then we wouldn't be allowed to eat shellfish or wear clothes made of more than one fabric. God clearly condemns these things yet they are perfectly legal.

      August 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joesalters

    Judge Walker should be removed from the bench. For him to take it on himself to make such a stupid ruling, its outrageous

    August 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      So anytime a judge makes a ruling that you disagree with they should be removed from the bench? Stop your whining. You lost, just move on.

      August 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kendra

    In my opinion there are no reasons for marriage to mean two consenting adults. There are plenty of religious reasons, however there is supposed to be separation of church and state, and religion shouldn't play a part. I find it offensive that marriage is only allowed between men and women.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KarenAScofield

    America needs to wean itself off the crutch of prejudice used to prop up political and financial power struggles. Slavery was abolished well over a century ago, "the" civil rights movement only got off the ground when I was a child, conflating Republican conservativism with creedism changed a lot, the newest Patriot Movement (Tea Party) is partially defined by high levels of prejudice within the ranks, and politicians and religious organizations are goading people into a majority vote on minority rights, the one thing for which we're not supposed to use a majority vote.

    I reject prejudice as a axis of morality. I prefer equality and all the demands it places on us. On society. On politics. On education. On ethics. On economics. On personal and collective imagination. On the nature and quality of private and public dialog. On things that affect so much more than equal rights for gays.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jad

    National Organization for Marriage website's response to the Prop8 Ruling is that our founding fathers would be outraged. That is probably true, they would have also been outraged at the end of slavery, or the idea that all men are equal as long as blacks were only 3/5ths of a man, or outraged at the overturning of countless laws that outlawed miscegenation. But no matter how much outrage there is now, or would have been by people long dead and gone, our country has exhibited its greatest attributes when it refuses to allow the will of the majority to oppress any minority.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. joesalters

    Judge Walker should be removed from the bench for making such a outrageous ruling going against the people of the state. HE JUST WANTS TO GET HIS 15 MINUTES ON T V.

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

      joesalters your mama should have swallowed.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Deke

    Judicial activism? I thought conservatives were all about LESS government intervention into the lives of individuals? It's hypocritical... the ruling to strike down Prop 8 is judicial activism. The Supreme Court ruling to take the election OUT of the hands of the STATE of Florida is "our system working at its best." Make up your mind, hypocrite conservatives! Here's a better idea: Go debate yourselves, and then come back and debate everyone else. Figure out your own positions first. Taking each side on an issue doesn't count, either.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan

    Why does the gay agenda feel the need to try so hard to project and try to hijack a "normal" facade to their blatantly deviant and perverse lifestyle?

    August 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lightningblt

    So it's all about freedom. What's to stop a man (or woman) from marrying a dog or cat? What's to stop a man from having 5 wives??? Why can't I have 5 wives??? It's all about morality not freedom you idiots!!!

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

      What morality? This nation wasn't founded on Christian values, so again, what morality? I'm atheist, yet have morals without some book telling me what to do. Unlike you, my close minded friend. Wake up.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • duckman

      Also, you can have 5 wives. Become a mormon. But I don't hear you whining about the mormons on cnn now, do I? Funny.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
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