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Proposition 8 backers seek funds for gay marriage fight

February 7, 2012 |  2:27 pm

  Proposition 8 supporters seek funds
Proposition 8: Gay-marriage ban unconstitutional Dismayed gay marriage opponents made urgent fund-raising calls Tuesday following an appeals court decision declaring California's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. 

"Our resources are dangerously low," Andy Pugno, general counsel to ProtectMarriage, wrote in an appeal to gay marriage opponents. "This is why we need an immediate burst of funding to propel our legal appeal forward."

Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson appealed to the gay marriage supporters to "double down" on the campaign to ensure the U.S. Supreme Court is moved to affirm the decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

FULL COVERAGE: Proposition 8

"This is a huge win for freedom to marry supporters in California and continues the growing momentum for the freedom to marry nationwide,” said Wolfson. “With this case and others possibly making their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, we must create the climate that empowers judges and politicians to do the right thing, maximizing our chances of winning."

Both sides went out of their way to declare that time was on their side.

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), a member of the congressional caucus devoted to protecting same-sex rights, called on the citizens to cease pushing initiatives that deprive others of fundamental rights.

“We should reject any law that denies certain citizens the legal rights and protections that are available to others, simply because of their sexual preference,” Sherman said. “The rights of the minority should not be voted upon.”

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom hailed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling as a "remarkable" demonstration of how far the pursuit of marriage equality for gays and lesbians has come in the eight years since he sought, as mayor of San Francisco, to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"This is the fundamental civil rights movement of our time, now progressing along with renewed pace and renewed vigor," Newsom said.

DOCUMENT: Read the Prop. 8 ruling

At a press conference in downtown L.A., opponents of Proposition 8 gathered to savor their victory.

"Every legal decision allows the American people to hear more about what these issues are. In my experience, the more you talk to people, the more they listen, the more they realize this is right, and this is inevitable. So this will change court decisions, it will change public opinion," said Theodore Olsen, an attorney who argued against Prop. 8.

Chad H. Griffin, the L.A. political consultant who launched the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8, said: "What the court did today affirms that you cannot single out one group of people. There are strong, loving lesbian and gay families all around us."

Opponents of gay marriage called the ruling “judicial tyranny” over the people’s will to preserve marriage between men and women and the result of “a Hollywood and San Francisco attack on marriage.”

“Today’s decision was disappointing but not surprising, coming from the most liberal Circuit Court in the country," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. "This Hollywood-funded lawsuit, which seeks to impose San Francisco values on the entire country, may eventually reach the Supreme Court.This is not about constitutional governance but the insistence of a group of activists to force their will on their fellow citizens."

It's unclear whether the U.S. Supreme Court will even hear the case, given how Tuesday's court decision was narrowly tailored to California's unique position of having granted gay couples marriage rights, and then taking them away. Because the ruling appeared to not apply to other states, analysts said it's possible the Supreme Court may decide to not review the case.

Olsen, however, said he still thought it possible the highest court in the land might take the case anyway, saying he thought the decision was "something hard for the U.S. Supreme Court to ignore."

The justices in Washington accept only about 1% of the cases appealed to them each year.


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Photo: Proponents of Proposition 8, the California initiative to ban same-sex marriage, made urgent fund-raising calls to help support their continued legal fight. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times