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. NYLawyer

    It doesn't matter of what judiciary decides. Still illegal. See izyarud.blogspot.com

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

    "It is time to re-group in a big state and separate from the union if things are going that way. You see, full freedom can not ever be acheived...the state must have constraints if not, the anarchist have won, since the begining of time rules have been set to preserve humanity...everybody knows that we as humans can surely bring down our own civilization in short order due to the rights of individuals as oposed as the rights of all as a nation."

    JAVIER...JAVIER...
    READ MEIN KAMPH. THERE YOU WILL FIND ONE IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT WITH YOU.

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

      You missed the point of the judge's decision. He said the state did not show that it had a compelling reason for discriminating. Let's face it, if Jesus walked into Times Square he couldn't marry anyone because of the "by the powers vested in me by the State of New York" clause. The state holds the reigns. The state needs to show why it should be upheld. Want to marry a 10 year old? NO. The state can protect children from predators. One guy wants to marry anther guy? Not hurting anyone else. Go ahead.

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

    God does not exist ... If you are a beliver you are weak.

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

      Hush Yush or I'll turn ya to mush.

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

      Did you look every where and not find God?

      August 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuteKate

      I'll bet you didn't look everywhere for Thor and Hera either. Shall I count you as another atheist too?

      August 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      He's probably with my keys and cell phone. They're always in the last place you look.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dog

      I just knew Dr. Seuss was God!

      August 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      What a retarded statement, Yush, let alone illogical.

      August 6, 2010 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. God

    Hey everyone, what's shak'n? So, yeah, I get a bit ticked off when many of you start using me to promote hate. Or saying you know 'My Will' **insert rolling thunder voice**. Let me tell you this: For those of you that are saying you 'know' me, or you know 'My Will'; You don't even know how I take my coffee, let alone what My Will is.

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

      Hey "GOD' . Let me tell you something. I think you are a very insecure person, as you are posing to be a superior being by having your ID as GOD. This shows that you are very weak.

      August 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Careful man, lightning might strike your computer or at least you might get a virus.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      Howdy Yush! Yeah, you know, you are right! I am sometimes insecure about some things: IRS Tax forms; who CAN understand those things anyway? Not Me! And I am sometimes confused as to why no one here EVER changes out the empty toilet paper roll with a new roll. And, don't even get Me started about why Mexico did not win the World Cup in Soccer... Just a minute ago you said that I did not exist, now you are calling Me a Superior Being! Looks like we have another believer, everyone! Welcome to the Club Yush!

      August 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aaron

    Come on guys... 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 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Aaron

    Seriously... 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 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jpeay

      Aaron, your understanding of the Bible is simplistic at best. Polygamy is a practice that is discussed in the Bible because the bible reflects the culture and historical times with which it was written. For good and bad. Never once does Scripture condone polygamy, but in fact proves it to be a sinful practice. Just because it is in the Bible, doesn't make it biblical. Marriage was created in Genesis for man and woman and affirmed in the New Testament by having a wedding ceremony as the backdrop for Jesus' first miracle.

      Please, pick up the Bible and read it, ask questions, pray through it. The Lord will give you wisdom.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. aolo

    god lovers you should go brain wash more kids into your christian cult itll cheer you up

    August 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos Sotelo

      People like you are no better than religious fanatics.... Some moderately religious people, like me, actually provide logical proof to their opinion. I understood that God gave us brains for a reason.

      August 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sam

    I am amazed at the amount of hatred being spewed by Prop 8 supporters. Do people really think that we're all going to catch TEH GAY now just because of this? Everyone needs to go back to their respective corners and chill the frak out!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Real America

    I have a gay agenda.

    I get home from work.
    I feed the cat.
    I open a beer and check my mail.
    I mow the lawn.

    Does that strike fear into anybody ?

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

      Yes, I hate cats.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      Hahaha! Love it!

      August 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      Love it!

      August 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dog

      Yes it does. I'm afraid of lawns.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hunter S. Thompson

    Who says gays don't believe in a god? They do. It's just a darn shame he comes in the shape of an a+n+u+s.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mattmchugh

    People, on both sides of the issue, are getting hung up on nomenclature, if you ask me. Civil unions (such as California already offers) were designed to grant couples the same rights as marriage, without provoking those who view the term in a religious context. It seems a reasonable compromise, if you ask me. Why all this push back-and-forth over a word? I guess you can invoke racial "separate but equal" precedents here, but I don't fully agree with the analogy. This is about semantics, not civil rights. I'm not yet convinced they are inseparable concepts.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Honestly, the only difference between a civil union and a marriage is the spelling. They have the same rights and benefits. What does bother me is when religious motives try to pass a law for their personal beliefs that restrict other's rights. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the main argument or motivation for anti gay marriage is religious in nature.

      August 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKsMom

      It is about semantics. The fact is that the word "marriage" means different things to different people. Yes, it began is a religious term and is still used that way; however, words evolve. There are a whole lot of straight people who are married and who do not view their marriage as a contract between themselves and god. The word has also taken on a secular meaning. If the issue is the word, then maybe all civil unions should be called just that, even straight ones.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusty Burgoon-Clark

      "Civil unions" are not portable from state to state; nor do they confer the 1000+ FEDERAL benefits of MARRIAGE.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dog

      Actually JKsMom marriage predates religion it is a societal practice to protect property. Religion hijacked it when people decided it needed to be recorded and the only literate people available to record them was the church.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JT

    Well if we gays are not viewed as equal to other citizens that are afforded the right, privileges and protections that “marriage” brings… then we shouldn’t have to pay all the same property, income, and all other taxes that Hetero’s do… we should not have to pay as much since we are not treated equally….…….. seems fair to me… why should my money by counted as equal…… if my rights are not?

    August 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MLG

    Everyone is coming up with valid arguments, however, has anyone read Proposition 8? Wikipedia has a definition, however, it does not provide the actual wording. If anyone can find a link, please provide it. Thanks.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cindy

    People, do what you want BEHIND close doors and leave the rest of the community out of it. It should have never been allowed in the first place!

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

      Yeah! Like religion! You go girl!

      August 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JT

    Well if gays are not viewed as equal to other citizens that are afforded the right, privileges and protections that “marriage” brings… then we shouldn’t have to pay all the same property, income, and all other taxes that Hetero’s do… we should not have to pay as much since we are not treated equally….…….. seems fair to me… why should my money by counted as equal…… if my rights are not?

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