Proposition 8 ruling sparks applause from California politicians
Proposition 8's demise at the hands of a federal court was roundly praised by California's top elected officials on Tuesday.
"The court has rendered a powerful affirmation of the right of same-sex couples to marry," Gov. Jerry Brown, who as attorney general declined to defend the ballot measure in court, said in a statement. "I applaud the wisdom and courage of this decision."
The current attorney general, Kamala D. Harris, said in a statement: "Today's ruling is a victory for fairness, a victory for equality and a victory for justice."
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who kicked off California's gay-marriage debate in 2004 when, as mayor of San Francisco, he ordered the city to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, also cheered the ruling, as did former San Francisco Mayor and current U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The state's top two legislators, both Democrats like every statewide officeholder, also praised the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal. "This is another proud moment for Californians of conscience," Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), who is openly gay, said in a statement.
The leader of the upper chamber of the legislature, State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), said: "Every big step forward is a step closer to eliminating discrimination in our society."
The few catcalls against the decision in Sacramento reflect the one-party nature of the town nowadays. A relatively modest portion of the small number of Republican lawmakers issued statements. Those accused the judges of ignoring the will of the people.
"Our democracy is based on the power of individuals and their right to express their voice through the ballot box," said State Sen. Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster). “This court decision not only disregarded voters’ rights, it muffled their democratic freedoms.”
-- Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento
Photo: John Lewis, center, and others cheer as Molly McKay reads the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal decision ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional in front of the James Browning United States Courthouse in San Francisco. Credit: Dan Honda / Contra Costa Times