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. Chandler

    It is hardly judicial activism when the judge is following 43 years of precident (see Loving v. Virginia where the Supreme Court declares marriage a "basic right of man" that the "state can not infringe upon".) The extreme right seems to forget that no matter how popular, YOU CAN NOT VOTE AWAY FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David Stone

    This isn't so much about the fact that being gay is unhealthy and unnatural, that it flies in the face of every major religion. No, this is about redefining marriage, the core building block of our species and of every organized society, to fit a perverted notion, in order that gays can feel "normal, like everyone else". There is also an element of the gay marriage supporters that take great pride in mocking religion and family values. Gay marriage is an absurdity, and if a man can marry a man why not an animal? What if he loves the animal and the animal loves him? Why not?

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

      As I said above, animals (and children) do not have autonomy. They are not capable of understanding what the relationship entails so allowing marriage between a man and an animal would be an abuse, a violation of that animals rights. We would not agree to that anymore than we would agree that it is ok to torture and abuse your pets.

      August 6, 2010 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nic

    It makes me laugh to see all these un-cultured people here go on and on about religion.... They missed the point. This issue is about equality. Who cares if you're straight, gay, bi.... you should have the right to marry whoever you want. If a Christian church decides to marry a gay couple and you don't like it, guess what? You can choose to go to a different one that doesn't allow it, simple as that. It's 2010, lets move forward instead of living through something that was written by man 2000 years ago.

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

      don't state an opinion like it is fact

      August 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • duckman

      You mean like the bible, Beth?

      August 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yasa

    JESUS is coming soon! The word of God is very clear in Genesis 18 & 19 as it refers to Sodom and Gomorrah. Take heed...

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

      Yep, soon! It's only been 2000+ years in the making.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      When the time does come, and it will, EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue confess that HE is Lord. Yes, even you Mike.

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

      I don't know about Jesus but having so many people believe that the apocalypse is coming leads me to believe it will be a self fulfilling prophecy. I guess that's why none of you seem to care about global warming. It will be a rough day for all of us the day we see the earth in shambles due to our actions and all of you finally realize that nobody is coming and you are stuck here with the rest of us.

      August 6, 2010 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. 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 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • moriahbethany

      It's about morality on this side too. More so though, ethics. Knowing why you believe something versus just believing it. This isn't a case where anyone is getting hurt. We need to decide our "moral" values based off of the desire to eliminate human suffering, not based off a list of seemingly arbitrary rules that were supposedly rendered inert in the New Testament anyway.

      August 6, 2010 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. David Stone

    Besides all of the logical reason that gay marriage is absurd and runs counter to the way of nature, and to every religion....I just think the Idea of two hairy men kissing each other at the alter is gross....yuck

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

      Well don't watch it then. I wager it would be gross to watch you kiss anyone either, assuming someone actually does.

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

      Doesn't sound gross to me, in fact it sounds pretty hot!!

      August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusty Burgoon-Clark

      And *I* think putting my business into something that looks like a Super-Taco ™ and smells like leftover anchovies is equally gross (grin).

      August 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The OC

    Hey this is awesome for the gay people. I'm really happy for them , they really do deserve to have equal rights (I'm seriously not being sarcastic at all). However, hopefully now the Democrats will stop thinking that the Republicans are trying to control them. The umbilical cord has finally been cut but only one problem, the demorats won't seem to let go of it...Democrats, you finally gained your independece, it's about that time to let go of the umbilical cord already and stop reaching into our "mommy and daddy's" pockets for free rides....

    August 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. alan

    The gays will not be happy until everyone in this country bows down and professes, you were right all along, you are normal.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired!

      Yes, because you are all you know what every gay person wishes for. I absolutely detest when someone speaks in absolute don't know what everyone is thinking!

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

      No one is asking for that! If anything, I think gays want you to leave them the hell alone!

      August 6, 2010 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jim McGuire

    I'm not opposed to gays being allowed to marry. I think it's only fair for them to know the joys of dealing with a divorce lawer like the straights. Up to now they could just walk away and that was that. Now they'll understand why the average citizen hates lawers. I'll bet the lawers were pushing harder for this than the gays. What a business windfall in a few years. What 50% of most marriages fail man that's a lot of new blood in the water for the sharks, i mean barristers.

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

      Right on the money Jim!!! I'm heading for law school as soon as I get off this computer$$$$$

      August 5, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Beth

    Guess I just don't understand this.....why did they put it to a vote if they were just going to overule it anyways?

    August 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jbm

    I just want to apologize for all those who are using the "Bible" as a weapon to hurt or prove others wrong. I think we all need to do a better job of showing the "Love" and compassion that are found in most of the teachings of Christ. For too long people have seen too much of what the "church" has stood against rather than what it stands for. No matter what a judge decides or what the next one might decide, it should never keeping us from reflecting Christ to others.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott

    Welcome to the United Socialist States of America where the rights of the majority are defined by the minorities.

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

      How does the rights of two other people to marry affect your rights?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mattmchugh

      How does "socialism" - an ideology where what benefits the majority outweighs individual rights - come into play here?

      August 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. a

    beautiful! congrats california, it's about time! Now for the rest of the country!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. me

    This whole thread is comedy at its best.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Neeneko

    There is something rather disturbing about the idea of having a comments section on an article that is summarizing comments from other articles.....

    August 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
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