What they’re saying about the Prop. 8 ruling

Lots of quotable quotes from near and far on today’s California Supreme Court ruling upholding the validity of Proposition 8, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but allowing last year’s 18,000 same-sex marriages to stand.

Oakland City Attorney John Russo:

“The truth is, the anti-marriage crowd is fighting a cause that is already lost. The arc of history bends toward justice and we will see justice for same sex couples in California and in the nation. It may not be as soon as we want – progress in civil rights never is. But despite this ruling, we will continue to fight for equality under the law for all Californians, and we will achieve it.”

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Austin Nimocks:

“In America, we respect the results of fair elections. The California Supreme Court arrived at the only correct conclusion available: the people of California have a fundamental right to amend their own constitution. This is the second time California has voted to protect marriage. Once again, when marriage goes before the voters, they affirm that marriage means one man and one woman. All 30 states that have voted on whether to affirm marriage as one man and one woman in their state constitutions have done so.

“By allowing the previously-issued same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses to remain valid, the court is perpetuating the problem that it itself created. And it’s doing this despite the clear vote of the people that marriage means one man and one woman and that anything outside of that is not marriage.”

Tons more, after the jump…

Assemblyman Tom Torklakson, D-Antioch:

“In my years working with kids, what I know to be true is that kids thrive when they have parents in their lives that are committed to one another and are part of a stable, loving family. The decision today is a set back for equality, but also for children. Children deserve to see the state’s highest court uphold the civil rights of their parents and recognize the validity of their relationships.”

Liberty Counsel founder Mathew Staver:

“The people of California have spoken by affirming traditional marriage. It is time to move on. By a mere 14 words that reaffirm the historic and common-sense definition of marriage, the people have restored common sense and the rule of law to California. This is a great day for traditional marriage and the family. We have fought this battle in California for nearly five years to defend traditional marriage. Today is a day of celebration. Political leaders who say that we should give up the battle on traditional marriage are out of touch with the American people. Our future leaders must be strong advocates of traditional marriage and family.”

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“I view today’s decision by the California Supreme Court as a temporary setback for the cause of equality for all people. History shows us that prejudice and inequality diminish with time and struggle, and so it will be the case with marriage freedom. While the court represents an independent and equal branch of California’s government and its decision is the law, we will not stop fighting for equal rights. The cause of marriage freedom is too important and the injustice of Proposition 8 too great to simply give up.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman:

“I believe the California State Supreme Court made the right decision. Last November, the people of California passed Proposition 8, and today the Court upheld their decision. This simple yet powerful fact is the foundation of our democracy. Regardless of one’s position on the measure, this ruling gives people confidence that their vote matters and can make a difference.”

Yes on Gay Marriage national director Kelley Moran:

“Effectively the court ruled ‘no’ and ‘yes’ on gay marriage. Today’s ruling, while disappointing was only one part of the larger fight we are facing. For a nation that embraces the rule of law, we have a long journey to reach the ideal of equality for all Americans.

“This is not the end of the journey. The Court’s ruling only helps us refocus on the issues of changing state laws to allow gay marriage, of equal protection under the law and of repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Until DOMA is repealed, gay couples that marry in any state that allows it are still denied federal rights, responsibilities and obligations that heterosexual couples already enjoy.”

“DOMA violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. According to General Accounting Office reports, DOMA denies 1,138 benefits to gays who marry. The United States Congress has an obligation, I believe, to repeal DOMA so that all US citizens enjoy equal protection under the law.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner:

“The California Supreme Court took the appropriate action today in upholding the will of the people by affirming Proposition 8. The people of California have spoken. They voted decisively that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. That is also my personal view.

“There was much more at stake today than even the issue of gay marriage, as important and emotional as it is for so many people on both sides of the issue. If the Court had overturned Proposition 8, it would have had set a terrible legal precedent, divided Californians even further, undermined support for the judiciary and state government itself while serving as a tremendous blow to the fundamental American concept of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

“Regardless of which way the Court ruled today, a particularly shameful element of this issue has been the Attorney General’s unethical abandonment of his legal responsibility to the people of California. It is no surprise that Jerry Brown politicized and abused his latest position in an unprecedented way in order to play political catch-up with Gavin Newsom.

“As Governor, Brown opposed marriage for gay Californians. As a candidate for Attorney General, Jerry Brown refused to publicly support gay marriage. But once Gavin Newsom gained the upper hand on the issue with Democratic primary votes, Brown used his office as the state’s lawyer to suddenly become an advocate of gay marriage and attempt to subvert the twice expressed will of the people of California. As he enters the fifth decade of his political career, Jerry Brown seems determined to go down in history as the man who was on more sides of more issues than any other California politician.”

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

“Today’s decision is extremely disappointing for California and hurts thousands of caring couples who wish to make lifelong commitments to one another through marriage. Let today’s decision be a rallying cry for all Californians who believe in equality and fairness, and encourage thousands more to stand up and fight the pervasive injustices LGBT people face in our community and our nation.”

“The issue before this court was much greater than marriage equality. The question asked of our justices goes to the core of our society. Can a majority vote undermine a foundation stone of our constitutional democracy, equal protection under the law? Today our highest court ruled that minorities do not matter.”

“Through our disappointment, we will still find hope and encouragement, including the 18,000 couples whose marriages in California remain secure and protected today. Through our sadness, our resolve to fight for justice and equality only grows stronger. Love is an unstoppable force, and equality is right around the corner.”

10th Congressional District candidate Lt. Gov. John Garamendi:

“Today we lost an important battle, but on this disappointing day, it’s worth remembering that the final outcome of this struggle has already been determined. Time is on our side, and Californians will one day soon repeal Proposition 8. Patti and I have been married for 43 years, and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the LGBT community and their allies as they work to convince the electorate that all Californians, regardless of sexual orientation, deserve access to marriage and equality. While we will always face roadblocks, our society journeys down a path of increased equality under the law.”

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

“I know today’s decision is a tremendous disappointment for many people. But I also know that the opinions of Californians are changing on this issue, and I believe that equal marriage rights will one day be the law in this state. This is already the case in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont. So, I believe this issue will come before the voters again, and I am very hopeful that the result will be different next time.

“Today’s State Supreme Court ruling also declares that the 18,000 same-sex marriages that have already taken place in California are valid, and I believe these marriages will allow people to see for themselves that marriage equality is a step forward for California and not a step back.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“While I believe that one day either the people or courts will recognize gay marriage, as Governor of California I will uphold the decision of the California Supreme Court. Regarding the 18,000 marriages that took place prior to Proposition 8’s passage, the Court made the right decision in keeping them intact. I also want to encourage all those responding to today’s Court decision to do so peacefully and lawfully.”

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton:

“Today’s decision, while heartbreaking, doesn’t end the historic struggle for marriage equality. It renews our dedication to making sure all California families can again enjoy the dignity, commitment and responsibility of marriage.

“I commend the California Supreme Court for validating the rights of the 18,000 lesbian and gay couples who married last year before Proposition 8 passed. These couples and their children will continue to enjoy the full security and legal protection of marriage.

“Within the next few years, I know California will restore legal, civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples. The California Democratic Party will play a leading role in ending marriage discrimination in California and I look forward to the day when that happens.”

California Legislative Black Caucus chairman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda:

“It was only a few short years ago that African Americans couldn’t marry outside of their race. I am disappointed with this decision by the Supreme Court, but am encouraged by the fact that it has not broken the spirit of all of us who are committed to equality. As this matter goes forward, we will exercise our franchise and go back to the people and get a just decision. I believe that history will look back on today’s decision as one that was both hypocritical and shallow, but at the same time ultimately ineffective in preventing justice from prevailing. As we go forward, I am certain that eventually we will celebrate each other’s diversity, honoring the inherent right for all of us to marry whom we so choose when we choose.”

State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro:

“Today’s ruling places us at a crossroads in California history where we, as a state, must ask ourselves whether equal protection should continue to be a fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens under our Constitution without any exceptions. I am confident that the day will soon come when the people of this state recognize that we will not have true equality until all citizens of this state are granted the freedom to marry.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairwoman Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma:

“In the 21st Century it’s unacceptable that any American is discriminated against based upon his or her sexual orientation, not just here in California, but anywhere in our country. The constitution is meant to protect the rights of all of us, not to divide us or to enshrine bigotry and discrimination as the rule of law. Unfortunately, today’s decision falls short of recognizing the rights of hundreds of thousands of loving adults by failing to extend the right of marriage to all couples in the state of California. That’s why I join with the millions who opposed Proposition 8 in vowing to fight for equal rights for all Californians, and move beyond the injustice perpetuated by this ruling.”

Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus:

“Today’s decision is a victory for democracy and a victory for the civil rights of clergy, county clerks and Californians across the political spectrum who did not want to be forced by the government to approve of same-sex marriage.

“The bully tactics and intimidation used by the gay-rights lobby during the Prop. 8 campaign showed us that they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. As we relish today’s victory, there are already efforts underway to place other initiatives on the ballot to repeal Prop. 8. We must remain vigilant in order to preserve constitutional common sense.”

California National Organization for Women President Patricia Bellasalma:

“Today the California Supreme Court denied basic equal protection of the laws by a simple majority, because Prop. 8 only ‘carves out a narrow exception’ to applying equal protection of the laws. Yes, we will join our sisters and brothers to overturn what a simple majority has done, and fight to successfully amend the constitution to provide equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. We will also fight, calling on all of our coalition partners, to ensure that a simple majority never again has the power to ‘carve out a narrow exception’ to equality and justice for all.”

Green Party of California Lavender Caucus co-chair Starelene Rankin:

“It’s a very sad day when we lose rights and move backward, instead of forward, toward justice and equality. How can the court allow discrimination to be written into our statutes?

“The decision goes against our country’s core values of liberty and justice and it will be overturned. The grassroots organizing has already begun and thousands of activists are motivated more than ever to restore equality at the ballot box.”

10th Congressional District Democratic candidate Anthony Woods:

“Yesterday, our nation honored the hundreds of thousands of brave Americans who have given their lives in defense of our security and our highest ideals. Among them, tens of thousands of African Americans, who gave their lives or returned home from battle to a nation still gripped by the oppression of ‘separate but equal.’

“Today, more than 65,000 members of the GLBT community serve in our armed forces, defending and championing freedom and equality on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other points around the globe. They too are coming home to find their willingness to serve, and their families treated as ‘less than equal.’

“This is a disappointing decision by the California Supreme Court, but it is also a reminder that the battle for equality in this country has yet to be won. We can and must live up to the ideals that so many brave Americans have fought and died for by eliminating discriminatory policies like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Proposition 8 once and for all.”

Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy:

“The California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8 is a disappointing setback for marriage equality. Allowing 18,000 same-gender marriages to stand, while denying that same to right to those who come after, does not even rise to the standard of separate but equal – it is separate and unequal.

“Strengthening assured equality and supporting expanded civil rights among all people are essential actions in the cause of justice. Despite today’s decision, I believe that our nation, committed to liberty and justice for all, will continue moving towards equal rights for the LGBT community.

“There are no easy answers as we move forward in addressing this issue, but the foundation of any solution is to find common ground on which the people in our nation can meet and, through honest, civil debate, chart a legal path. A violation of the basic nature of democracy is of no help to anyone. I am confident that our nation is compassionate enough and smart enough to find a way for people with contradictory values and opinions as well as beliefs and religions to live together without denying civil rights for all.”

Unitarian Universalist Association President Rev. William G. Sinkford:

“I am deeply troubled that the discrimination Proposition 8 introduced into the California constitution last fall has been upheld today, barring future marriages between same-sex couples. While I expected the narrow, technical reasoning behind the California Supreme Court’s decision, still I grieve for the state’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people whose rights and dignity have been under assault since the passage of Proposition 8.

“It is my earnest hope that the spirit of fairness sweeping the country this spring ultimately will prevail in California, where thousands of legally married same-sex couples will continue to bear witness to the vital importance of this basic civil right. Every day more and more Americans are choosing to stand on the side of love with these brave families, and I pray that the citizens and lawmakers of California will join them.”

Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“Today’s decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8 is not the outcome that I had hoped for. However, I remain encouraged by the court’s decision to affirm the marriages of the 18,000 couples who married prior to the Proposition 8 vote.

“Californians have and will continue to lead the struggle for equality on all fronts. I intend to continue to pursue protections for LGBT individuals and their families here in Congress.”

California Attorney General candidate and state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntingdon Beach:

“Last November, California voters unequivocally let their position be known that marriage by definition in California will be between one man and one woman. Although the issue is controversial and emotionally charged on both sides, the California Supreme Court was correct in focusing on the constitutional authority of the voters to make that decision rather than the issue of same-sex marriage itself. It was the right decision.”

“More troubling though is the politicization of this issue by California’s current Attorney General and the complete subversion of his duty to defend the laws of our state by filing a brief against this voter-approved initiative. While the office of Attorney General is elected, the person holding that office should defend our laws and constitution without prejudice.”

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

“This is a decision that affects all Californians in a very personal way. It impacts my family in saying that somehow my daughter’s love for the woman who is her partner is not as valid as the love others have for the opposite sex.

“Eliminating the legal right of marriage has implications on all of us whose children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, or others may be gay. Removing the legal rights bestowed by marriage not only denies legal benefits to same sex couples, it changes our legal relationships — a daughter’s partner’s child is no longer legally our grandchild, a brother’s partner may no longer be considered our brother-in-law.

“The role of our courts is to protect each and every one of us against discrimination, even that discrimination that may be favored by voters.

“I am deeply disappointed that our state’s Supreme Court has upheld discrimination and has denied all of us a basic legal right to marry and to be legally related by marriage.”

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.