My esteemed colleague Howard Mintz has the full story on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, and you can read the opinion yourself (assuming the court’s website doesn’t get overloaded again) by clicking here.
Meanwhile, here’s a treasury of quotes from elected officials.
From House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:
“Today’s decision is a victory for civil rights and for progress for the LGBT community and for all Californians.
“By declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the Ninth Circuit made a strong statement that laws must not target the LGBT community for discrimination and all of our state’s families deserve to enjoy fair and equal treatment under the law.
“As this battle moves through the appeals process, we must, and will, continue the fight for the fundamental rights of LGBT couples and every American. We will keep up the charge for change and equality in state legislatures and in the courts, and work in Congress to repeal and overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Together, we will make every discriminatory marriage amendment and law a thing of the past.”
From Gov. Jerry Brown:
“The court has rendered a powerful affirmation of the right of same-sex couples to marry. I applaud the wisdom and courage of this decision.”
From Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:
“Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stands as a victory for the fundamental American principle that all people are equal, and deserve equal rights and treatment under the law. This is the biggest step that the American judicial system has taken to end the grievous discrimination against men and women in same-sex relationships and should be highly praised.
“Proposition 8 has done nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that same-sex couples are inferior to heterosexual couples. These men and women are our firefighters, our paramedics, our law enforcement, our service-members, and to treat their relationships differently is unfair, unlawful, and violates the basic principle of who we are as a nation.
“Today however, it has been made clear that this type of discrimination will not be tolerated—there is no state power or law that can claim one type of love is more deserving of status and benefits than another. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has fulfilled its obligation to all Americans by protecting the fundamental right of all people to marry those whom they love. It has upheld the overall integrity of the American judicial system by placing individual characteristics of judges and justices secondary to their duty and commitment to true justice and equality.
“Although countless people have worked tirelessly to achieve this ruling, I would like to recognize the inspiring dedication demonstrated by the American Foundation for Equal Rights. They have never relented in their mission for equal marriage rights and should be highly commended for these efforts.
“While today marks a historic milestone towards equality for all Americans, our journey is not over until the highest court in the United States reaches the same decision that the Court of Appeals did today. It is on that day that the struggle for equality will be over and the dream on which this great nation was founded will become a reality.”
From state Attorney General Kamala Harris:
“Today’s ruling is a victory for fairness, a victory for equality and a victory for justice. Proposition 8 denied to gay and lesbian couples the equal protection to which all Americans are entitled. By striking this unconstitutional law from our books, the court has restored dignity, equality and respect to all Californians.”
For some counterpoint (although he’s not an elected official), here’s SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson:
“God created a man and a woman to fit together in marriage. The People of California have twice affirmed this beautiful, natural, and exclusive pro-family institution between a husband and wife, a man and a woman. The Ninth Circuit ruling to strike down man-woman marriage, by a Carter judge and a Clinton judge, is unfair to the voters, against our republic, against our democratic system, against the United States Constitution, against Nature, and against God and His beneficial design of family.
“It’s illogical and unconstitutional to claim that natural, unchangeable race and ethnicity is the same as sexual behavior. That’s not fair or true. Race and ethnicity are inherited, but science has never found homosexuality, bisexuality, or transsexuality to be inherited or unchangeable. Neither is this about commitment. As the divorce of leading anti-Prop. 8 lesbians Robin Tyler and Diane Olson demonstrates, the notion of homosexual ‘marriage’ is not really about ‘commitment,’ but is a political agenda forcing acceptance of homosexuality upon the children of America. Yet nothing is equal to marriage between a man and a woman. If you don’t have a man and a woman, you don’t have marriage.
‘Judicial activists like Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Daly Hawkins need to be reined in like Newt Gingrich has been saying about judicial activists. Marriage is not in the United States Constitution, so this case should never have gone to federal court. Now it will be appealed to the nation’s high court, with Anthony Kennedy being the deciding vote. Fortunately, in past rulings favoring homosexuality, Kennedy has written against redefining marriage, making it likely that he will affirm California’s right to reserve marriage licenses for ‘a man and a woman.'”
Lots more, after the jump…
“Today marks a landmark moment in the fight for equality and justice with the United States 9th Circuit Court’s finding that the California Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses in our Federal Constitution. We can no longer piecemeal equality on a state-by-state basis or otherwise limit the courageous march to justice. Love, commitment and dedication have no boundaries and today’s ruling is a crucial step towards a more perfect union. In my decade in Congress and as the current Vice Chair of the LGBT Caucus, I have worked with the gay community and its allies on critical issues; visitation rights, employment non-discrimination, family reunification under immigration law, hate crimes and education. Discrimination in any realm is inequality; it is intolerable. Now more than never, it is imperative to remind each other, and our elected officials, that until we all have equal rights – be it the right to marry or earn equal wages – liberty and justice has not yet been granted.”
From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:
“Today’s action by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is an eloquent reaffirmation of Dr. King’s statement that ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ We know we have a long road to travel before we achieve our full and equal standing in the eyes of the law, but today’s ruling is a strong validation of our belief that we will ultimately prevail. This is another proud moment for Californians of conscience, and I am very pleased with the ruling.”
From state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:
“Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, reiterating the California Supreme Court’s 1948 comment in ending the ban on interracial marriage that marriage is a ‘fundamental right of all citizens,’ upheld what we have long held to be true and just – that no loving couple shall be denied the opportunity to marry in California,” said Senator Leno. “This decision is a monumental victory for same-sex couples in California who wish to honor their love and commitment, and provide security for their families, through marriage. It affirms our fundamental freedoms as human beings, which for too long have been denied and invalidated.
“In today’s triumph, I hope our community finds renewed spirit and momentum to continue the important work of helping to ensure that all people receive the respect, dignity and validation they deserve.”
From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:
“Hooray for justice. With another decision for marriage equality, my daughter and every other Californian may soon have the right to marry whomever they love, which is how it should be. I applaud the court’s ruling for demonstrating that democracy cannot be used to deny fundamental rights.”
From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:
“Today’s 9th Circuit decision is another step forward in healing the wounds of government-sanctioned discrimination. It is long overdue for all loving relationships to be recognized and all families to be provided with the same rights, privileges, and joys of marriage.
“By declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the Court reaffirmed the highest ideals of our republic. For far too long, our nation has unfairly denied fundamental rights to individuals on the basis of sexual orientation – clearly violating the equal protection doctrine in our state and federal Constitutions.
“I look forward to the day when we can finally put aside these antiquated legal battles and start honoring all individuals based on the content of their character.”
From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, another vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus:
“I am extremely pleased that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, violates the U.S. Constitution. Though the fight for marriage equality is far from over, this is an important victory for equality. As a founding member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, I have repeatedly spoken against the effort to ban same-sex marriage, and I will continue to fight until equal rights are enjoyed by all.”
From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:
“This historic decision is a major step forward in the march toward equality for all Americans. It’s a great day for the millions of Californians who deserve the same rights and recognition as every other family in our state.”
From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa:
“Today’s ruling on Proposition 8 is a win for California and a win for equality. Laws that deny equality are not only immoral and unjust, but unconstitutional and against our most basic principles. Should they hear this case, I hope the United States Supreme Court follows the 9th Circuit’s example and comes down on the side of marriage equality.
“I thank all those who fought so hard to make today’s ruling possible, and as we move forward I will continue to do everything I can to fight discrimination and send Prop 8 to the history books once and for all.”
From Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough:
“Today’s ruling that California’s divisive Proposition 8 is unconstitutional needs to be replicated by the U.S. Supreme Court so that people who love each other may marry. This is one very important step closer to true equality in this country.”
From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:
“Today, California is significantly closer to the basic civil right of marriage equality. Like all other civil rights struggles in our history, the work is never done. Every big step forward is a step closer to eliminating discrimination in our society.
“My hope is that any justices considering a potential appeal will exhibit the same level of courage we have seen today.”
From Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber:
“I am deeply disappointed by the Ninth Circuit decision, which undermines the votes of millions of Californians who have exercised their constitutional rights and voted on it. This is one more example of activist judges circumventing the will of Californians. It concerns me profoundly this pattern of discounting what the voters have clearly stated on critical issues in our state. This court has once again diluted our process of democracy by imposing their will over that of the people.”
From Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto:
“Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit is a victory for civil rights and a critical milestone in the long battle for marriage equality. This ruling—and our Constitution—have affirmed the equality of all Americans, and reminds us of how sacred these rights are.”
From Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose:
“There is no doubt today’s decision is welcomed by Californians whose dreams of marriage were put on hold by this unconstitutional ban. But with the architects of Prop 8 vowing an appeal to the Supreme Court, we know the battle for marriage equality is not over. This is a fundamental American civil right, and I am committed to standing with those fighting to make marriage equality a reality.”