Gay marriage foes cheer Supreme Court review of Prop. 8
“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,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for Protect Marriage.com, in a statement. “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.”
“Marriage between a man and a woman is a universal good that diverse cultures and faiths have honored throughout the history of Western Civilization. Marriage expresses the truth that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life," Jim Campbell, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.
But activists are well aware that the court could rule against them and set their movement back at a time when same-sex marriage has seen a series of election victories at the state level. Opponents of gay marriage, by contrast, have been eager for the Supreme Court to weigh in and are hoping it will block the growing legalization of same-sex unions.
Last month, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage ballot measures. They joined New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, which had already passed laws or issued court rulings allowing gay marriage, according to the Associated Press.
On Thursday, hundreds of gay men and lesbians in Washington state, some of whom had stood in line for hours, began picking up their marriage licenses. Washington will also recognize same-sex marriages from other states where it's legal.
"We waited a long time. We've been together 35 years, never thinking we'd get a legal marriage," said 85-year-old Pete-e Petersen, who with her partner, 77-year-old Jane Abbott Lighty, were the first to get a license, the AP reported. "Now I feel so joyous I can't hardly stand it."
California briefly allowed same-sex marriages in 2008, per a decision by the California Supreme Court. Thousands of couples wed before voters that year passed the gay marriage ban. In 2009, the American Foundation for Equal Rights sued on behalf of two gay California couples who wanted to get married. After a district judge and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the measure's supporters asked the Supreme Court to review the case.
-- Ashley Powers and Jessica Garrison
Photo: Kat McGuckin of New Jersey marches in support of gay marriage in front of the U.S Supreme Court on Nov. 30. The court has agreed to review the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images