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Democratic leaders respond to Supreme Court's Prop. 8 ruling

by Indy, published

While Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement asking proponents of gay marriage to remain peaceful in their reaction to the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Prop. 8 and the state's ban on gay marriage, Golden State Democratic leaders vowed that the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in California isn't over. Following the court's release of the ruling, many of those leaders quickly issued statements. Here are a sampling:

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."

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):

"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."


State Sen. 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."


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."


State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo):

 "A year ago, our Supreme Court reaffirmed the highest ideals of our republic. Today, it is only Justice Moreno in his dissent who now stands on the right side of history. Proposition 8 and the decision reach by the Court today weaken our Constitution. All minorities could now be at risk of losing fundamental rights by the will of the majority - a concept completely counter to the equal protection clause. For far too long, our nation has unfairly allowed state-sanctioned discrimination. We must not stop this effort until all loving relationships and all families are fully recognized with the rights, privileges, and joys of marriage."

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara):

"The California Supreme Court's decision today is deeply disappointing for those of us who believe in equal rights for all people. I strongly opposed Proposition 8 because I believe that it unfairly denies the rights and privileges of marriage to all Californians. While there is a small silver lining to this decision in that the Court did uphold the marriages of couples who married prior to the passage of Proposition 8, we must continue to look for ways in which we can correct this injustice and ensure that all Californians can enjoy the full benefits of marriage."

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."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco):

"Today's ruling by the Supreme Court in support of Proposition 8 is deeply disappointing because this ballot initiative takes away individual rights. I have long fought for equality for all of California's families and will strongly support efforts to restore marriage equality in California, so it can join the ranks of states such as Iowa and Vermont."

Following Jeff Mitchell's political journalism at



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