Quotable quotes on same-sex marriage ruling

I’ve been innundated by news releases today offering comments from elected officials, candidates, advocacy groups and your great aunt Bessie on the California Supreme Court’s decision striking down state law’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstituitional. There was room for but a fraction of them in our story, so if you want to read a slew of verbatim quotes, see ’em (in no particular order) after the jump…

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco: “I welcome the California Supreme Court’s historic decision. I have long fought against discrimination and believe that the State Constitution provides for equal treatment for all of California’s citizens and families, which today’s decision recognizes. I commend the plaintiffs from San Francisco for their courage and commitment. I encourage California citizens to respect the Court’s decision, and I continue to strongly oppose any ballot measure that would write discrimination into the State Constitution. Today is a significant milestone for which all Californians can take pride.”

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I respect the Court’s decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling. Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.”

State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland: “I’m glad the Supreme Court validated what I consider a fundamental premise of our nation – that all people deserve equal protection under the law. This is a happy and historic day because all Californians, regardless of sexual orientation, now have the right to marry.”

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles: “We are delighted with today’s State Supreme Court ruling allowing marriage equality in California. It is a true testament to advancing equality and to recognizing the right of all Californians to build a future with the person they love. We recently lost Mildred Loving, the woman whose marriage to a man of another race ushered in the Supreme Court ruling that made marriage colorblind. Today’s ruling is another important reminder that love will overcome.”

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who authored same-sex marriage bills twice vetoed by Schwarzenegger: “Today’s ruling is a supreme affirmation of the sanctity of the love that two people share with one another without regard to their gender, and a victory for all Californians who believe that people should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams on equal footing. I applaud the Supreme Court today for erasing hundreds of years of unconstitutional discrimination against loving and committed same sex couples. I also congratulate the brave couples who brought the case to court, as well as Mayor Newsom, City Attorney Herrera and the amazing legal team that successfully argued this historic case. I will continue to review the legal implications of today’s ruling and, if it is determined to be necessary, draft any implementing legislation that may be needed or appropriate. With the conviction of its highest court and its legislature, California continues to lead the way in favor of the conservative principle that society is best served when loving couples who want to settle down with one another are all able to do so through the civil institution of marriage.”

Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, who argued the case to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Campaign for California Families: “This ruling defies logic. It is a gross departure from the rule of law. It is outrageous. Traditional marriage is common sense. Yet, this decision is nonsense. No matter how you stretch California’s Constitution, you cannot find anywhere in its text, its history, or tradition that now, after so many years, it magically protects what most societies condemn. Same-sex marriage is not part of our history nor is it woven in the fabric of fundamental freedom. The California Supreme Court has defied logic, undermined the will of the people, and weakened our future. This decision will ignite California voters to amend their state constitution to protect marriage and prevent judges from wrecking marriage.”

Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel Glenn Lavy, who argued the case to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund: “The government should promote and encourage strong families. The only way to make sure it does so in California is to amend the state constitution to protect marriage. That’s ultimately the only avenue to ensure that no one interferes with the will of the people. The ruling from the court today ignores the will of the people of California who approved Proposition 22. The voters realize that defining marriage as one man and one woman is important because the government should not, by design, deny a child both a mother and father. The court’s decision clearly demonstrates that marriage is not ultimately safe from tampering by activists and others in government until the voters have amended the constitution.”

California Family Council executive director Ron Prentice: “This shocking decision is a wake-up call for the majority of California’s citizens, whose votes have been rendered worthless by the Supreme Court’s disregard for the democratic system. In November, the people will have an opportunity to overrule the Court’s decision by passing a constitutional amendment – and California’s voters must respond in strength and number.”

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma: “Like many Californians, I am thrilled by this morning’s decision by the California Supreme Court to overturn the ban on same sex marriage. This is a historic day for the State of California and for the tens of thousands of gay and lesbian couples whose love for each other is just as real as that of any other couple. Although today’s ruling is significant, we still face challenges ahead. So, while we are jubilant in the wake of this news, we must also remain committed to ensuring that today’s court decision becomes a reality.”

California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer: “The court has made its decision and ended a lengthy state-court battle. Now, the debate likely will return to the ballot. Conservatives are pushing an initiative to place a ban on same-sex marriage in the California Constitution. I strongly oppose this initiative. Gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to live in loving and committed relationships, and to share the joy and challenges of those relationships.The initiative is an attempt by a few to permanently shut the door on that fundamental right. It’s anti-civil rights, anti-family and anti-family values.”

California State Controller John Chiang: “Every single citizen of this State deserves equal treatment under the law, and as an elected official I have the honor of serving all Californians regardless of their sexual orientation. I have enjoyed my working relationship with the gay and lesbian community – helping domestic partners understand new tax filing requirements, and moving to provide property tax protections to surviving partners when one passes away. I welcome the Court’s decision, because it is time for our laws to recognize that all households, same-sex or otherwise, contribute to the success and the greatness of California.”

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: “California has a history of leading the nation on important issues and this ruling is certainly in keeping with that history. I applaud the ruling which makes it clear that the state constitution provides the same rights and protections for everyone.”

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo: “This is the right decision for California and I hope the rest of America will follow suit. Marriage is a civil right. When we withhold it from one segment of the population we are doing a disservice to the principles of fairness and equality upon which our country was founded. I will continue to work in Congress to achieve this level of equality on the issue of marriage as well as related issues like the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a policy that is preventing otherwise fully qualified men and women from serving their country in the military and by doing so damaging the readiness of our Armed Forces.”

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland: “I greet today’s decision by the Supreme Court as a long over-due step towards securing the basic constitutional protections that should be afforded to everyone. The issue is clear: we cannot deny state privileges, such as a marriage license, in a fashion that discriminates in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Marriage should be between two people who love each other, rather than based on gender. My hope is that this decision will move us forward as a society, and allow us to end the double standard that has existed in our marriage laws.”

Assemblyman John Benoit, R-Bermuda Dunes: “Proposition 22, which I strongly supported, passed just eight years ago by an overwhelming 61% of voters in California. I am saddened to see a small group of judges replace the longstanding values of our society with their own personal views. I stand with the people of California in affirming the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. The institution of marriage should not be redefined by the activism of four judges.”

Assembly Speaker Emeritus Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles: “In the Legislature we twice passed marriage equality bills, so I am obviously pleased to see this ruling by the California Supreme Court recognizing and respecting the rights of all Californians.The plaintiffs and their supporters in this case deserve our congratulations and our thanks for advancing the cause of civil rights. On a personal level, it is the biggest victory for love and persistence I have seen since I convinced my wife to marry me the second time.”

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Woodland Hills: “I am absolutely elated by the California Supreme Court’s decision. We live in 2008 and there is no place for discrimination in any way, shape or form. All people in California have equal rights under the law. I look forward to the day when all people can marry the person they love. This is a great day for equality in California.”

State Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco: “Today our state’s Supreme Court reaffirmed the highest ideals of our republic. I am proud to be a Californian today as we stand on the right side of history. This is a victory for all people committed to equal justice and equal opportunity. For far too long, our nation has unfairly denied fundamental rights to individuals simply because of their sexual orientation. Today, we finally begin to heal those wounds and end state-sanctioned discrimination. At last, we fully recognize and honor all loving relationships and all families with the rights, privileges, and joys of marriage. We also celebrate the perseverance and courage shown by so many in this latest march towards equality, justice and happiness.”

Republican 15th Assembly District candidate Judy Lloyd of Dublin: “Traditional marriage between a man and a woman is an institution and tradition that transcends time — it has been in place for thousands of years. The Court’s ruling is an outrageous attempt to legislate from the bench. If you place your trust in me, I will fight against state judges who disregard the Constitution. Liberals are at work every day in Sacramento to undermine our family values and American traditions. I’ll fight to protect marriage and the family. Enough is enough.”

Republican 10th Assembly District candidate Jack Sieglock of Lodi: “Today, California families have been slapped in the face by the Supreme Court. I will use every tool available to me as an Assemblyman to overturn this bad decision and restore traditional marriage as the law of the land. Courts have no right to silence the will of the voters on this issue. This is an outrage that must be fixed.”

Republican 36th Assembly District candidate Steve Knight of Palmdale: “In March of 2000, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 22 that prevented California from recognizing same sex marriages. To many, this measure was known as the “Knight Initiative.” My father, the late Senator Pete Knight, was the author. Ever since Proposition 22 was passed by more that 61% of the vote, fringe groups have been attempting to overturn the will of the voters, to change the way a family is defined in California. Today in a divided 4-3 vote, the California Supreme Court ruled that the state’s ban was unconstitutional. To put it lightly, I am very disappointed, and I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision. I am disappointed that the will of the voters was not respected. I support traditional family values; I support a ban on same sex marriages, and more importantly I support the will of the voters who passed Prop 22 by such a resounding margin. Later this year, voters are likely to vote on a State Constitutional Amendment that will supercede the courts ruling. It is a shame that voters will have to head to the ballot box once again to have their voices heard and respected once and for all.”

California Log Cabin Republicans Director James Vaughn: “We commend the Court for carefully reviewing this case and reaffirming the principles of liberty and justice for all. This ruling is a conservative one. The justices have ensured that the law treats all Californians fairly and equally. This decision is a good one for all families—gay and non-gay. Two people in a loving and committed relationship deserve the support and dignity that come with marriage.”

California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres: “The California Supreme Court’s ruling is a momentous decision for our state and nation that marks a giant step toward in our march toward true equality for all our citizens. We all owe Mayor Gavin Newsom a debt of gratitude for his visionary leadership on this crucial civil rights issue, along with the courageous plaintiffs in this case. But our march for justice and equality is far from over. We now must re-focus our efforts on fighting the divisive and discriminatory proposed constitutional amendment that would take away marriage equality for same-sex couples. Working together, we can ensure that once again, justice and equality will prevail.”

Libertarian presidential candidate and former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr: “Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions or not ought to be a power each state exercises on its own, rather than imposition of a one-size-fits-all mandate by the federal government (as would be required by a Federal Marriage Amendment which has been previously proposed and considered by the Congress). The decision today by the Supreme Court of California properly reflects this fundamental principle of federalism on which our nation was founded. Indeed, the primary reason for which I authored the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 was to ensure that each state remained free to determine for its citizens the basis on which marriage would be recognized within its borders, and not be forced to adopt a definition of marriage contrary to its views by another state. The decision in California is an illustration of how this principle of states’ powers should work.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.



  • Sara

    same sex marriage is wonderful, and good. I commend California, love is constitutional. Besides how would a straight person feels in a gay persons shoes?

    Go Same Sex marriage and couples!!

  • Three-P

    I believe that it’s everyone’s god-given right to suffer, gay or straight.

  • Elwood


    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d feel really strange in four inch heels.

  • .

    So basically, your all mighty God got screwed over by mere human beings? You’d think that God himself would be able to control a factor like sexuality. But no, all you religious people say that gays are basically a glitch in God’s system.

    Even if God f—ed up for some reason, wouldn’t he love them all anyways? I don’t want to believe in a God that doesn’t love all his creations.

  • Elwood

    @ #5

    So don’t.

  • a one

    if there is a god he doesn’t care whos f@#kin who! He is way to busy with the manufacturing process of life. He is probably happier gays are out there to cut down on his work load.

  • Kaylen

    Im sure the Bible I was raised on and the one all these “Christians” read are the same and it says in plain old black and white JUDGE NOT and LOVE THY NEIGHBOR…. not pick and choose what parts of me to follow and throw the rest out…


    @ SARAH ; how would a straight person feels in a gay persons shoes?