Today’s Supreme Court ruling that determined same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states elicited a flurry of responses from California leaders and activist groups, mostly cheering the decision as a step forward for equality.
“This cause for celebration closes one chapter of civil right injustices enforced by state laws,” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who as San Francisco mayor allowed the city to issue gay marriage licenses in defiance of state law in 2004, said in a statement. "I celebrate today’s decision but recognize that the fight for equality is not over. Far from it. As we look to the future, I urge those with whom I have walked this march to continue forward with vigilance and resolve.”
A celebratory rally organized by nine Sacramento LGBT organizations is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight on the west steps of the state Capitol.
Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen, who worked on passing California’s same-sex marriage bill during his time with Equality California in 2004-2006, called the announcement “a deeply gratifying moment.” He took pride in the fact that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion for this morning’s ruling, as he did for major gay rights’ cases in the past, hails from Sacramento.
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“During my time in Sacramento, the (gay) community has really moved from being peripheral to being central,” Hansen said in an interview. “And really through the dignity of having laws that treat them equally, we’ve taken responsibility for making the broader community better.”
A sampling of other reactions from across the state:
Gov. Jerry Brown
“With the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots this weekend, we’re reminded of how long and winding the road to equality has been. Today, our highest court has upheld a principle enshrined in our Constitution, but only now finally realized for same-sex couples across America.”
Attorney General Kamala Harris
“Finally the highest court in the land has acknowledged that marriage is a fundamental right to which no one should be denied. This holding reaffirms the sacred principle that all people are created equal. It's time to end the debate – let the wedding bells ring.”
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins
“This is a very emotional day. We feel relief, of course, that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the fundamental right of same-sex couples to legally commit their lives to each other. We feel admiration for the couples and the advocates who have fought for marriage equality through election after election and court after court, never giving up. And we feel pride in a movement that has helped inform public opinion and bring about justice in what, historically, is a relatively swift period of time. But most of all, we feel joy for every couple in every state who now have the opportunity to share their lives with the respect, dignity and legal protections that marriage brings.”
State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León
“This day in history, love and dignity won. Today's ruling by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage is one of the strongest affirmations ever made to enshrine a central tenet of this nation: all people are created equal. The struggle to truly realize justice and equality for all continues, but today represents a major step forward for our nation and the world in protecting the dignity of all humans regardless of where they come from or who they love.”
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer
“Today my heart is full of joy because the Supreme Court recognized that all Americans should be able to marry the person they love.”
Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur
“Today, all Americans should take pride in the fact that while we may not be the first country to recognize the common humanity of all its families, the conversation began here.”
SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson
“The Supreme Court got this wrong because a narrow majority of justices do not fear God and have rebelled against their promises to 'support and defend' the clearly written words of the U.S. Constitution, which does not contain the word 'marriage' but explicitly honors states’ rights. The 14th Amendment is not about marriage but about race; not about couples but individuals – essential distinctions one must recognize in order to be loyal to the Constitution.”
“Because the Supreme Court has no troops to enforce its illegitimate opinion, sovereign states with constitutional marriage amendments should ignore this unconstitutional edict and should instead faithfully enforce their state constitutions, as all state officials swear to do. While federal judges subvert the written words of the Constitution, it is incumbent upon state-based supporters of our republic to authorize only man-woman marriages – the natural kind – as God-given stabilizers for family and society, supplying what's in the best interest of children.”
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco
“Today’s ruling is a defining moment for our nation that dignifies and validates couples who will no longer be treated differently because of who they are and who they love. This is a long-sought victory for so many people who dared to believe that love, liberty and basic fairness would eventually prevail. The Court’s decision affirms that every American is created equal, loves equally and should be free to pursue life, liberty and happiness.
“One decade ago, California led our nation in passing the first legislation that would have given same-sex couples the freedom to marry. While those bills were vetoed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, our state played a pivotal role in the marriage movement, both legislatively and in the courts. I applaud the many dedicated government leaders, civil rights attorneys, same-sex couples, plaintiffs and grassroots activists who have kept our momentum moving forward, culminating in today’s landmark achievement.
“While we rejoice in this triumph, we must also acknowledge that the challenges for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people do not end here. LGBT people suffer high rates of suicide, threats of violence, bullying, homelessness and unequal pay for equal work. While the courts have embraced an enlightened perspective on marriage, discrimination still persists throughout our society and in our schools and workplaces. We have changed many attitudes, hearts, minds and laws, but our work is far from over.”
Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton
“It is hard to believe that just seven years after California voters passed Proposition 8, we are now celebrating marriage equality in the fullest sense of the word. The court’s majority has affirmed that LGBT rights are not special rights. The loving bond between two individuals is not gay marriage and it is not same-sex marriage, but just marriage. Our struggle has gone on for so long, and on so many fronts, with so many reversals and setbacks, that it has been difficult to allow ourselves time to savor any triumphs. But today, the U.S. Supreme Court has given us a momentous one. Today we shall love and rejoice, and tomorrow, we will continue the fight.”
Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park
"Marrying my partner of 32 years was one of the greatest days of my life. It was an experience and an opportunity that many loving couples across the country have been denied until now. This Supreme Court decision, which finds that states cannot prohibit same-sex marriage, is historic not only for the LGBT community, but also for all Americans who value fairness and equality. The institution of marriage provides over 1,000 legal and financial privileges. More importantly, it is a powerful symbol of a couple's love and commitment. It is something to be cherished and shared."
Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell
“The U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a victory and celebration for all who stand for equal justice and equal opportunity. The California Supreme Court has already allowed same-sex marriage in our state, and this morning's ruling just reaffirms the hope and promise that all people could marry. This is a great day in the country and today, we stand on the right side of history. Love is love.”
Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco
“Today America moves closer to the fulfillment of our founding ideals. But fundamentally, today’s ruling is not about ideals. It’s about the millions of Americans who now have the right to love and marry whomever they want. The United States Supreme Court decision declaring marriage equality the law of the land is a tremendous civil rights victory for our LGBT community, for San Francisco, and for our country. So many people have fought for decades for this day and they all deserve our deepest appreciation. There’s still more work to do to ensure that everyone can live and love safely and without prejudice – but today is a day of celebration of just how far we have come.”
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego
“It’s been a good week at the Supreme Court. As in the Civil Rights movement, if we had been satisfied with an incremental approach, depending on the goodwill of hostile lawmakers, efforts toward equality would have been protracted indefinitely or stalled completely. The Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality today is an historic reaffirmation that Constitutional protections belong to every American. This should shut down any debate on whether bigotry or political opportunism should have standing to keep people from enjoying what is their birthright.”
Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael
“All Californians have something to celebrate this weekend as we travel from all over to San Francisco to celebrate Pride. The Supreme Court decision on marriage equality is historic. The freedom to marry is something for all Californians to celebrate.”
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana
“The Supreme Court ruling today, guaranteeing an individual’s right to marry who they love, regardless of sex, is an important step forward for our country and a victory for American families. Families wish their children a lifetime of love and happiness, and the government can no longer stand in their way by depriving citizens of the right to marry the loves of their lives. I joyfully welcome this affirmation that is long overdue. Equality, fairness, and most importantly, love won out today.”
Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento
“Today is a historic day for love. I am pleased to join with the LGBT community, Sacramentans, and millions of Americans in celebrating marriage equality. Today’s decision embodies the cornerstone of American society -- that all men, and women, are created equal.”
Rep. Jerry McNerny, D-Stockton
“This country was founded on the principle that all people are treated equally under the law, and with this Supreme Court decision we take another step toward realizing that equality for the LGBT community. Now all Americans, regardless of preference, have the freedom and the right to marry the person they love. This is a historic moment for our country as we continue to seek equality and justice for all. It is a momentous day for everyone who wants to build a family and life with the person they love.”