So the rhetoric was flying hot and heavy yesterday in the wake of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s invalidation of Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional; statements were coming in at all hours (they still are, actually), and we got most of the salient ones online.
But now that most quarters have been heard from, I thought it might be interesting to juxtapose the statements from the major-party candidates seeking the offices of state attorney general, governor and U.S. Senator. Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, the Republican nominee for attorney general, was last to send his statement yesterday and we never got it online until now, so let’s start with him:
“Barring a law that is unconstitutional on its face, the proper role of an Attorney General is to enforce and defend the will of the People as manifested through the initiative or legislative process. The will of the People should be respected and not overturned easily or lightly. Today’s decision by a federal judge overturning Proposition 8 should be appealed and tested at a higher level of our legal system. The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 by a 6 to 1 vote and declared it to be constitutional. Likewise, if the voters had approved an initiative legalizing same-sex marriage and a federal judge had ruled against it, I would also support an appeal of that decision.”
“Today’s historic decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger was a monumental step forward in the fight for equality.
“From the moment Attorney General Jerry Brown issued his analysis that Prop 8 violates the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution, I have proudly concurred with him. That position has been confirmed by Federal Judge Walker’s opinion today and stands in a proud line of jurisprudence reflected so boldly in 1948 when California’s Supreme Court ruled that a ban on interracial marriage violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a conclusion finally reached in 1967 by the United States Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia.
“Attorney General Brown, Judge Walker, and I have all sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States. So, if I am given the privilege to serve as California’s next Attorney General, I will not defend the anti-gay Proposition 8 in Federal court. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my opponent in the California Attorney General’s race, who promises to put the full weight of the state of California behind a defense of this discriminatory amendment.
“I pledge my support as this fight continues to another court and if necessary, the Supreme Court. I will continue to advocate for the defeat of Prop 8, whether we win that battle in the courts or at the ballot box. We may well face a lengthy battle on this issue but, as Dr. King said in 1967, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.’”
From Darrel Ng, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman:
“Meg supported Proposition 8 and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Meg also strongly supports California’s civil union laws. Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.”
“In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.”
From Republican senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina:
“The people of California spoke clearly on this issue at the ballot box in 2008. That decision is being challenged through our court system and while I don’t agree with the judge’s ruling today, this is one in what will be a multi-step legal process.”
From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:
“This historic decision is a step forward in the march toward equal rights and reflects a growing legal consensus that marriage equality is protected by the U.S. Constitution.”