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Religious Tolerance logo

Efforts to overturn Prop. 8

2010-AUG: Positive reactions to
the Perry v. Schwarzenegger decision

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Governor Schwarzenegger issues statement:

Shortly after the court ruling, Governor Schwarzenegger (R) issued the following statement:

"Judge Walker had the great responsibility of deciding whether Proposition 8 violates the Constitution of the United States.  He heard in-depth arguments from both sides on fundamental questions of due process, equal protection and freedom from discrimination. There are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and I am glad that all viewpoints were respected throughout the proceedings. We should also recognize that there will continue to be different points of view in the wake of this decision."

"For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity."

"Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people." 1

Governor Schwazenegger's mind set seems to have reversed itself from 2005 when he vetoed Bill AB 849, the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, and in 2007 when he vetoed Bill AB 43, the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act." Both bills had been Passed the Senate and Assembly and would have implemented SSM.

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Response of Equality California:

Equality California, filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in Perry v Schwarzenegger. Geoff Kors, their executive director, issued a statement:

"We are thrilled with today’s ruling, which affirms that the protections enshrined in our U.S. Constitution apply to all Americans and that our dream of equality and freedom deserves protection. Judge Walker has preserved our democracy by ruling that a majority cannot deny a minority group of fundamental freedoms. This is as much a victory for the soul of our nation as it is for the thousands of same-sex couples and their families who will be directly impacted."

"We are truly indebted to Ted Olson and David Boies and to the American Foundation for Equal Rights. We owe Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown a great deal of gratitude for their unprecedented decision not to defend this discriminatory measure. While this is a great success, we also know that the road to restore the freedom to marry could be a long one and that we must do everything in our power to protect this incredible victory. Equality California will do its part by working to elect a governor and attorney general this fall who refuse to spend tax-payer dollars to overturn this decision. We are also ready to battle the National Organization for Marriage this fall to keep their toxic agenda out of our state."

"Finally, together with thousands of volunteers we will keep sharing our stories in communities throughout California so that we continue building public support for the freedom to marry, which is essential to permanently restoring marriage equality in California." 2

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Response of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD):

Attorney Mary Bonauto issued a statement on both the Prop. 8 case, and their own attempts to overturn the DOMA law:

GLAD congratulates the couples, the City of San Francisco, and their legal teams for successfully challenging California’s Prop 8.  The decision reminds us that the freedom to marry is a long-established right belonging to all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans.  Gay people, like all others, want the choice to join in marriage because we believe in the values of love, commitment, responsibility and caring for our families.  While the case goes on, we hope people will come to see it is really about ensuring that all committed couples can take care of each other through the important bonds of marriage."

"GLAD is litigating a different federal court case, which challenges the federal government’s discrimination against couples who are already married under their state laws through Section 3 of the so-called federal 'Defense of Marriage Act' (DOMA)."

" 'GLAD’s case and Perry seek to cure two important but different injustices,' according to Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD attorney and co-lead counsel in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management.  'Gill is not a right-to-marry case, since we represent couples who are already married.  Rather, it is a case about federal recognition, challenging DOMA’s denial of these marriages for purposes of all federal laws.  DOMA is synonymous with disapproval of gay people and our families, and we seek to end Congress’s different treatment of married people based simply on sexual orientation'."

"Bonauto added, 'No matter the outcome of these federal court cases, it is still imperative to continue working on a local level to secure respect for and undo all state-based discrimination against gay and lesbian families. ..."  3

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Response by Marty Klein of Sexual Intelligence®:

In Issue 126 of his Sexual Intelligence newsletter, Dr. Klein wrote:

"Prop 8, Minority Rights, & American Democracy:
Democracy does not mean three wolves and lamb voting on what's for dinner."

" And that’s why yesterday's federal court ruling overturning California's Proposition 8 is good news for all Americans. Prop 8 did something that should never be done--it put the question of a minority group's rights up for a vote. ..."

Sometimes the government creates ... [a] law on its own, through Congress, a state legislature, a city council, etc.. Sometimes, as in California, people vote for a law directly through a referendum—via propositions.

"It’s one of these laws-that-people-voted-for that Judge Walker found illegal—i.e., unconstitutional. He found that Prop 8 is a law that separates Californians into two groups, giving a certain right to one while denying it to the other. And he couldn’t find any logical, evidence-based facts to justify the discrimination that Prop 8’s law demands. So he had to overturn the law that people had voted for—because they voted for a law that is illegal. ..."

"This is not 'judicial activism,' it’s being a judge. Judge Walker was doing the job he was asked to do when appointed by President George H.W. Bush."

"... government is in the business of granting marriage licenses, and government is in the business of guaranteeing the rights that result from being married, anything that restricts a special group from the right to marry cannot be legal. Even if the majority votes to create such a restriction."

"Evidence of those good reasons? Judge Walker said there was none. Tradition, feelings of discomfort, and strongly-held religious beliefs are not, in 21st-century America, good enough reasons to deny a minority the civil rights enjoyed by the majority."

"Moments after the ruling, the American Family Association launched a vicious attack on America’s legal system. AFA said that because Judge Walker is gay, he cannot rule fairly on this case. If that’s true, judges who drink shouldn’t be judging drunk-driving cases; judges without children shouldn’t be judging cases involving school taxes or teacher behavior; judges who own guns shouldn’t judge cases involving the right to bear arms; and Catholic judges shouldn’t rule on abortion cases. ..."

"Until AFA deposes the American government and substitutes a theocracy, all Americans can breathe easier because of Judge Walker’s ruling—in which he said that fear and discomfort with homosexuality, and unscientific ideas about the brains of homosexuals, are not a sufficient reason to deny government benefits to a certain group of people. You don’t have to be a member of that certain group to appreciate that this ruling celebrates your country, and makes you safer in it."  4

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References used:

 The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Proposition 8 Ruling ," Office of the Governor, 2010-AUG-04, at:
  2. "Federal court deems marriage ban unconstitutional," Equality California, 2010-AUG-04, at:
  3. "GLAD’s Mary Bonauto Comments on Perry v. Schwarzenegger Decision," GLAD, 2010-AUG-04, at:
  4. Marty Klein, "Prop 8, Minority Rights, & American Democracy," Sexual Intelligence, 2010-AUG-05, at:

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Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Couples > California > Prop 8 > here

Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2010-AUG-06
Latest update: 2010-AUG-09
Author: B.A. Robinson

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