What they’re saying about SCOTUS & gay marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court today announced it will review the constitutionality both of California’s Proposition 8 of 2010, which wrote a ban on gay-marriage into the state’s constitution, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Here’s a sampling of the reactions.

From Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

Gavin Newsom“Today marks the beginning of the end for a California journey that started eight years ago when San Francisco issued same-sex marriage licenses. By agreeing to hear the Proposition 8 case the U.S. Supreme Court could end, once and for all, marriage inequity in California.

“Forty-five years after the Supreme Court ruled that marriages between interracial couples were constitutional in Loving vs. Virginia, Justices can once again reaffirm the basic American principal of equality for all.

“The singling out a class of Californians for discrimination violates the basic principles of who we are as a nation. It is important at this moment in time to recognize that individuals can be mightier together than apart, that there is strength in our diversity, power when we unite around our shared values and success when we advance together.

“Today’s announcement starts the clock towards the final decision for California. History will one day be divided into the time before marriage equality and the period that follows. And thankfully, we will be on the side of history worthy of being proud of.”

From National Organization for Marriage Chairman John Eastman:

John Eastman“We believe that it is significant that the Supreme Court has taken the Prop 8 case. We believe it is a strong signal that the Court will reverse the lower courts and uphold Proposition 8. That is the right outcome based on the law and based on the principle that voters hold the ultimate power over basic policy judgments and their decisions are entitled to respect.”

“Had the Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts’ decisions invalidating Proposition 8, it could simply have declined to grant certiorari in the case. It’s a strong signal that the justices are concerned with the rogue rulings that have come out of San Francisco at both the trial court and appellate levels. It’s worth noting that Judge Reinhart is the most overruled judge in America. I think this case will add to his record.”

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court will review lower-court decisions that invalidate the judgment of the U.S. Congress to define marriage as one man and one woman. It’s not the job of federal judges to substitute their views for the policy judgments of the people’s duly elected representatives. We believe the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn this exercise in judicial activism and stop federal judges from legislating from the bench on the definition of marriage. We’re confident the Court will uphold DOMA.”

From state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

Mark Leno“I am hopeful and encouraged about today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Proposition 8 case, which is one of the most significant equal rights issues to come before the court in many decades. For the past four years we have argued that Proposition 8 is not only unconstitutional, but that it also violates the basic principles of respect, dignity and validation that every American deserves. I am confident that the Supreme Court will reaffirm these fundamental freedoms and uphold that a person’s right to be treated equally does not vanish simply because of who they are or whom they love.

“The momentum for marriage equality has never been stronger in our country. We have support from President Obama, recent victories at the ballot box, and polls that show a majority of Americans are with us. In addition, federal courts continue to strike down laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I am convinced our triumphs will continue.”

From ProtectMarriage.com general counsel Andy Pugno:

Andy Pugno“Every one of the numerous legal steps we have taken for the past four years has been in anticipation of this moment. Arguing this case before the Supreme Court finally gives us a chance at a fair hearing, something that hasn’t been afforded to the People since we began this fight.”

“We are delighted that the nation’s highest court will decide whether to uphold the will of more than seven million Californians who voted to preserve the unique definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman.”

More after the jump…

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

“After several federal courts struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court today decided to review the case itself. As the lead sponsor of legislation to repeal DOMA, I am pleased the court has decided to resolve this issue.

“Same-sex couples live their lives like all married couples. They raise children, share finances, care for each other and love each other in good times and bad. But DOMA denies these couples more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits that other Americans enjoy. I fully expect the court will come to the same conclusion I have—that this is a violation of equal protection and must be struck down.

“The Supreme Court today also agreed to consider California’s Prop 8, a law that took away the right of gays and lesbians in California to marry. I was pleased when the Ninth Circuit struck down Prop 8 in June, and I hope the Supreme Court upholds that decision and restores marriage equality to California.”

From California Attorney General Kamala Harris:

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider marriage equality takes our nation one step closer to realizing the American ideal of equal protection under the law for all people.

“For justice to prevail, Proposition 8 must be invalidated so that gay and lesbian families are finally treated with equality and dignity.”

From California Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

“Today’s announcement that the Supreme Court will take up Hollingsworth v. Perry and the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act is a reminder that the pathway to justice is long and difficult. The plaintiffs in the initial challenge to Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, presented a powerful and compelling argument that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, which was eloquently recognized in Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling in that case. I am very confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of our community in Hollingsworth v. Perry, as it is now known, and affirm that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. But until that outcome is secured, our community must continue to fight for justice on every front, from working to secure the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to addressing the issues of homelessness among LGBT Youth.”

From Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco:

“This doesn’t decide anything on its own, but it opens the door for the U.S. Supreme Court to acknowledge that people in every state of this union should be able to form marriage unions with the partner of their choosing and not be limited by outdated customs and laws.”

“It’s a bit disappointing that the Supreme Court isn’t already kicking Prop. 8 to the curb, but I’m hopeful that they will do that after hearing arguments. We can also hope that this court decides that it’s time to say, once and for all, that denying this right to same-sex couples is just as unconstitutional as denying marriage to mixed-race couples – a decision made decades ago.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“With the Supreme Court’s decision, marriage equality will finally have its day in the highest court in the land. Americans will hear whether inequality and discrimination are consistent with the high standards and deepest values of our Constitution. We remain confident that the justices’ ruling will fall on the side of civil rights and discard DOMA and Prop 8 in the dustbin of history.

“From the start, Republicans have known that DOMA is unconstitutional, and that’s why Republicans have tried to pass legislation to prohibit judicial review of this disgraceful law. Speaker Boehner’s legal team repeatedly failed to convince the courts to keep denying basic rights to American families, all while wasting nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer funds. Now, the Supreme Court will decide whether Edie Windsor deserved to face a penalty of hundreds of thousands of dollars after her partner of four decades passed away. We believe Ms. Windsor and couples like hers will see justice done in this case.

“By taking up the Prop 8 case, the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to make a strong statement that laws, in California and nationwide, must not target the LGBT community unfairly and that families across our state and our country deserve fair and equal treatment under the law.

“We have now reached a landmark moment in the history of civil rights in our nation. Let’s end discrimination and ensure equality for all of America’s families. Let’s get this over with and on to the future!”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“I sincerely hope that the Supreme Court finds that both of these laws – Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act – violate the promise of equal protection guaranteed by the Constitution. I believe support for marriage equality keeps growing stronger nationwide because it is a matter of fairness and justice.”

From Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell:

“My wedding day was among the happiest in my life, and these beloved memories are experiences I wish for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. Recent wins at the ballot in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, and Washington state suggest that this sentiment is true throughout the country. I truly hope that the feeling is same in the hearts and minds of those nine justices. They have one of the defining issues of our time before them, and history will remember this.”

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“I am ever hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will concur with the judgment of Judge Vaughn Walker that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, and that all Americans are created equal and are endowed with the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. While due legal process continues, let’s not forget those Californians who remain unable to pursue happiness by marrying the partner of their choice. It is a fundamental freedom that many of us take for granted.

“It is no surprise that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take up Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The issue of full equality for everyone is fundamental to the American way of life. As a nation, we have been tried and tested by discrimination before. Every step in this struggle is a movement toward eliminating discrimination and here, toward guaranteeing that members of the gay and lesbian community enjoy the same rights and protections as us all.

“In the courts and at the ballot box, there is ever increasing recognition that a person’s sexual orientation should have nothing to do with his or her civil rights, including the right to marry whomever they choose. I have confidence that the Justices will recognize the injustice perpetrated by Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“I am hopeful that the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue of marriage equality will move California and this nation one step closer to truly standing for equal rights for all. Though this fight is far from over, I consider the Court’s decision to be 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.”

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.

  • RR senile columnist

    Times are changing. “I wanna girl, just like the girl, that married dear old mom.”

  • John W

    Hard to imagine that this Court, with 5 conservatives (all Catholic), will rule against DOMA or uphold the Appeals Court on Prop. 8.

    Public opinion has shifted quite a bit since Prop. 8, and nine states plus D.C. now have same-sex marriage. If the court rules against marriage equality in June, the CA legislature can put the issue back on the ballot. But that wouldn’t change DOMA and federal recognition.

  • Elwood

    Shouldn’t there be a law stating that you can’t put the same dumbass initiative on the ballot again for ten years?

    And this would apply to everything, not just gay marriage.

  • John W

    “And this would apply to evrything, not just gay marriage.”

    If you’re the Mercury insurance guy, 91 years old, ten years between tries could be a problem!

  • For Liberty

    Get government out of marriage:


  • John W

    “Get government out of marriage.”

    Civil marriage is about more than just licensing. It’s about contracts, taxes, entitlements, inheritance rights etc. Lots to untangle before divorcing government from marriage would be practical.

    Perhaps a question to ask is, would anybody have any interest in getting government out of marriage if it were not for the question of marriage equality? Isn’t this a bit like suggesting that the way to have addressed school segregation in the 1950’s would have been to get rid of public education?

  • For Liberty

    To John W.,


    I’m sure your computer should link up to this site when you click on it.

    Enjoy the reading!

  • John W


    Thanks. Read it before, including the video about the Justice of the Peace in Louisiana who can’t understand being fired for refusing to marry inter-racial couples. What a guy!

  • Darrin Combs

    Religious people listen up! ….I have a deal i would like to propose to you. I will refrain from mocking your religion and your holy book. I will stop laughing every time one of you insist that creationism should be taught in science class along side of an actual scientific theory which has numerous examples in nature . While your theory shows up in only one place (your book). I will not roll my eyes every time I hear “it’s gods plan” or “the lord works in mysterious ways” when something tragic happens and you can’t cope with it yourself. So you turn to your god for help…. And I will never try to stop you…Now what I need from you is… I need you to understand that your religion is your religion, it is not the answer to all of mankinds problems. One last thing. You DO NOT own the institution of marriage. It’s not yours to police. What you folks do “own” is the religious ceremony that you people perform while a marriage is taking place…..In your church you may do whatever you please…But that’s it, in public please keep your beliefs to yourself.
    Now wouldn’t that be the Christian thing to do.