The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban, was unconstitutional.
The long awaited ruling came down at 10 a.m. and was met with cheers by the few dozen same-sex marriage supporters gathered outside the San Francisco courthouse.
It was not unanimous. The three-judge panel voted 2-1 that Judge Vaughn Walker was correct when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
Reaction was immediate on the NBC Bay Area Facebook page and came from all sides of the issue:
Loni: I still can't believe that this is a debate in our state of California, of all places. This was the correct ruling. (btw... this only became an issue because of the influx of people from Utah and other conservative states who took up residency in California simply for the purpose of voting to prevent the legalization of same sex marriage in California - if religion and various faith based organizations wish to impose their beliefs via a political issue, to me, this is grounds for them to lose their tax exempt status............ let's start working to make THAT happen!)
Paulina: As much as I am pro gay rights, I also think an election and the peoples vote should mean something. Otherwise whats the point of voting for anything?
Emil: it's about damn time indeed! Gotta keep fighting though, the other side will appeal for sure
Cheryl: I do not want to stop same-sex civil unions, but do not call it marriage. Marriage is written in the bible as a man and a woman. Woman came from man's rib and was created by God. So yes they can go thru the steps of marriage, but do not call it marriage, call it a Civil Union.......
Elinor: It's about time!!! And to all those saying it shouldn't be called a marriage then out marriages should also be civil unions if marriage is a religious thing then none of us should be married in the eyes of the state! Church is separate from state for a reason!!
Backers of the proposition immediately said they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brian Raum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal aid group based in Arizona that helped defend Proposition 8 said the issue is far from resolved.
"No court should presume to redefine marriage. No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people."We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage tried in San Francisco turned out this way. But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court."
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said that this is a great day for marriage equality and a great day for California families.
"We will continue the fight until everyone is treated equally. San Francisco stands ready to begin marrying same sex couples, and we remain as deeply committed to the fight for marriage equality today as we did nearly eight years ago when then Mayor Gavin Newsom started one of the most important civil rights issues of our generation to ensure equality for all."
The man many say started the same-sex marriage ball rolling when he was mayor of San Francisco said the ruling stood as a victory for the fundamental American principle that all people are equal. Now Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom also said it was the biggest step that the American judicial system has taken to end the "grievous" discrimination against men and women in same-sex relationships.
"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.
Here's most reaction gathered by AP:
- "When Proposition 8 doesn't allow parents like mine to marry, it isn't just defining their love as taboo or wrong. It says that our family, that my brothers, that my mothers, shouldn't belong, and we don't get to be the same as in my friend's families. With this ruling, in the eyes of the government, my family is finally normal.'' Spencer Perry, son of plaintiffs Kris Perry and her partner Sandy Stier, who sued to overturn the gay marriage ban.
- "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.'' Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown
- "With the sponsorship of the Hollywood elite, this lawsuit has been pushed forward as an assault on traditional marriage, with the help of a judge who failed to disclose his own long-term homosexual relationship while presiding over a case seeking the legalization of same-sex marriage.'' Andy Pugno, general counsel for the ProtectMarriage.com coalition, proponents of the ban.
- "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." Rep. Nancy Pelosi, "Today's decision is important to that young me that never dreamt that I would wake up in a country where I could marry the person that I love, and never allowed myself that opportunity until today." Plaintiff Paul Katami, who sued to overturn the ban.
- "The courts have declared that the voters are too ignorant and intolerant to be trusted with fundamental moral values, and only the judiciarchy can ultimately decide what is best for us. Is America going to stand for this judicial coup?" Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute.
Let us know what you think by posting your comments at the bottom of this article.