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RA_AD5_PUGNO (2).JPGHere are some of the statements issued by those commenting on today's hearings on Proposition 8 at the U.S. Supreme Court.

We'll add more as they come in.

Folsom attorney Andy Pugno, Proposition 8 author

Today we made legal history by presenting a bold, thoughtful and compelling case to the United States Supreme Court supporting the People's right to vote in favor of marriage being between a man and a woman. Every effort in the past four and a half years since voters passed Prop 8-- from choosing our distinguished legal team to filing numerous briefs with the California Supreme Court, the federal district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, to participating in a week-long trial, and all points in between -- has led us to today's historic moment before our country's highest court. ...

Folsom attorney Andy Pugno, Proposition 8 author, continued

"Outnumbered by our opponents in terms of attorneys, money, Hollywood support and every other conceivable measure, we methodically pressed our case on a legal basis; the only measure that ultimately matters.

"There is simply no denying that 41 states define marriage as between a man and woman. There is no denying that every other appellate court to hear arguments such as ours have sided in favor of traditional marriage. And there is no denying that nothing in the U.S. Supreme Court's precedents in this area support the existence of a constitutional right to same-sex 'marriage.'

"We have every confidence that the nine justices will resist the political pressure to prematurely end the national debate about the definition of marriage. We believe they will respect the freedom of people to affirm the institution of marriage that has stood the test of time in every culture throughout the world.

"The one social institution that centers on the needs of children rather than the often-fleeting desires of adults ought not be steamrolled by activists who are trying to use the United States Supreme Court to circumvent the will of the people and write the final chapter on the definition of marriage.

"No amount of new-found political or legal firepower can replace the primary purpose of marriage, which is to increase the likelihood of children being raised by the mothers and fathers who brought them into this world. We are confident that the case we presented today will affirm that same-sex 'marriage' is but a social experiment that needs no special protection by or recognition from the United States Supreme Court."

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

"As I sat in the chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court this morning, I took a moment to savor this final step in the long march towards justice. It is truly an emotionally staggering day.

"When the city of San Francisco started on this journey in 2004, we were very aware that marrying same-sex couples would lead to litigation. We were also cognizant that we could have moved forward with a legal battle without challenging state law. But discrimination and inequality is as much about people as it is the law, and in marrying Phyllis Lyon and the late Del Martin, a loving committed couple of 50 years, we put a human face to marriage inequality.

"The human faces - mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, grandchildren - have turned the cultural and political tide of this country. The monumental shift in public opinion during the last decade is a tribute to the hard work of LGBT activists and allies who continue to battle at the ballot box for equal treatment under the law - state-by-state, vote-by-vote. LGBT communities across this nation have won over individuals of all religious and political persuasions by rationally advancing that there is no basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of the basic rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

"I salute Ted Olson, David Boies and the American Federation for Equal Rights as well as Dennis Herrera, Therese Stewart and the staff of San Francisco City Attorney's Office for their tireless passion and staunch commitment as the fight maneuvered through the legal system. Olson's pointed argument before the Justices of the Supreme Court was eloquent and persuasive, establishing a powerful narrative for equal treatment under law.

"We are on the verge of the ultimate victory for same-sex couples. Now, as we patiently await the final verdict by the Supreme Court, I believe that a majority of justices will validate that those who yearn to live in loving, committed relationships can do so without the stain of discrimination.

"Finally."

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles

"Today's oral arguments before the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Proposition 8 once again made a powerful case for marriage equality. I am confident the Supreme Court will make a ruling based on justice and strike down Proposition 8--and DOMA as well.

"This is an issue that speaks to our understanding of justice. Proposition 8 was a clear violation of the values of equality in the eyes of the law that emanates from the Constitution, and moreover, goes further in subverting the ability of the people's elected representatives to pass laws reflecting the public's strong--and growing--support for marriage equality. That is why I am confident the court will act in the spirit of decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, Reitman v. Mulkey and Loving v. Virginia and strike a powerful blow for justice."

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley

"I applaud the heroic efforts of my Berkeley constituents Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier, who are at ground zero of this historic battle to legally recognize same-sex marriage in California and across the nation. This incredible couple has fought valiantly for equal marriage rights and their story has helped shape public opinion.

"National polls demonstrate that a majority of Americans support gay marriage, and acceptance is only growing. For me, marriage is a fundamental right to which everyone is entitled and denying anyone the right to marry the person they love impacts all of us. As a mother of lesbian daughter, I want the Supreme Court to do the right thing."

Attorney General Kamala Harris

"I declined to defend Proposition 8 because it violates the Constitution. The Supreme Court has described marriage as a fundamental right 14 times since 1888. The time has come for this right to be afforded to every citizen."

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens

"The hopes and dreams of an entire community depend on a decision on whether or not same-sex marriage should be allowed in the state of California. For the sake of families, partnerships and the 40,000 children whose parents are part of the LGBT community, I hope that the Court will side with justice.

"In the last few years, we have seen the public perception of same-sex marriage change towards a more positive and inclusive one. Even among the Latino community, opinion has moved in a progressive direction. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2011, about 54 percent of Latinos indicated that they support same-sex marriage.

"This June, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to stand alongside the thousands of families that have been disenfranchised. An affirmative verdict will finally dismiss the archaic notion of separate but equal."

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park

"Marriage equality has been a priority and a dream of the LGBT Caucus since its inception in 2002. As chair of the Caucus, I am looking forward to see the day that all Americans, gay or straight, are able to marry.

"Marrying my partner of 26 years in 2008 was one of the greatest days of my life. This was an experience and an opportunity that many loving couples have been denied until now.

"Same-sex couples should be granted, in spirit and name, the same rights many other married Californians have long enjoyed, such as the ability to file jointly for taxes, become foster or adoptive parents, be assured they will be taken care of under a spouse's employer or veteran benefits, and even freely visit a loved one in the hospital.

"The passage of Proposition 8 was a dark day for individual freedoms and rights. The ban on same-sex marriage came as shock to most, and we have worked diligently for four years to overturn this discriminating measure. The tide of public opinion has slowly changed in our favor with representatives from both sides of the aisle recognizing the fundamental fact that all American are afforded the same protections under the Constitution.

"We must continue to fight because, after all, marriage equality is an individual right, not an individual state's right. Our work is not done until every American can also exercise their right to marry whom they love."

PHOTO CREDIT: Proposition 8 author Andy Pugno talks with supporters while awaiting election returns in his unsuccessful 2010 legislative race. The Sacramento Bee file, 2010 / Randy Allen



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