Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

It was a history-making day at the U.S. Supreme Court today, with the high court striking down key aspects of the federal ban on same-sex marriage known as the Defense of Marriage Act. The justices also tossed a case appealing a lower court's decision to invalidate Proposition 8, California's gay marriage prohibition.

The responses have already started flowing in. Here's a sampling:

Gov. Jerry Brown


"After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state's counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted."

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco

"Thank you, Supremes, for stopping the Proposition 8 and DOMA madness in the name of love. Now any Californian will be able to marry the person he or she loves and the federal government will recognize that marriage. This is not total victory, of course. There are LGBT people in most states who don't have marriage equality yet. The fundamental questions are of justice and equality and the Supreme Court's recent rulings on voting rights and affirmative action make it clear that these struggles don't end all at once. We still have to watch out to protect the rights of lesbians, gays and transgender people - and all people who suffer discrimination or inequality for any reason. Let's keep building on the Bill of Rights, and make sure no one loses out because of where they come from, because of how poor they are or because of who they love."

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento

"This is a momentous day. I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to establish marriage equality as the supreme law of the land. After a long and difficult struggle, LGBT families, in California and across the United States, are now equal before the law. Today will go down in history as a day when our nation's highest court chose to stand for justice and the rights of all Americans. We celebrate today with the knowledge that there is more work to be done. I am committed to standing alongside the LGBT community as they continue to work for justice and equality."

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco

"It's a wonderful day for Californians who believe in equal rights for all. In 2008, Proposition 8 stripped the right to marry from LGBT citizens, while DOMA imposed an unprecedented standard that allowed states to ignore marriage contracts formed elsewhere in our nation. Today the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the fundamental ideas our nation was founded upon and taken a step towards equality and fairness. Now that the laws that held same sex couples apart have been found unconstitutional, we can finally live up to our creed that all people are created equal. I look forward to again officiating at weddings for all couples who wish to marry, this time knowing that their right is here to stay."

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco

"This is a great day in America. Today's rulings are a major step forward in ensuring equality for all. This should send a strong message to those supporting intolerant policies that, in a civilized society, we need to treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of who they love."

Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego

"The Supreme Court has now rejected that notion of second class status and recognized that the federal government should not block gay and lesbian Americans from committing their lives to the person they love and have that commitment respected by society."

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley

"This week, 44 years ago, the gay rights movement ascended from the Stonewall riots in New York, catalyzing today's historic ruling in favor of marriage equality. Today, justice for all has been served. Marriage equality in California will move forward and we can see a path to marriage equality throughout the U.S. As a proud PFLAG mom, I look forward to my role as a state legislator, along with my legislative colleagues, to ensure California's laws comply with the court's ruling."

Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park

"Marriage equality has been a priority and a dream of the LGBT community for decades. Today, with the Supreme Court's announcements, we are realizing that dream and we now celebrate equal marriage rights for all Californians. In 2008, I had the privilege of marrying my partner of 26 years. This was one of the greatest days of my life, as we were finally able to stand together and say, in front of our friends, family and loved ones, 'We are a family.' This is an experience that many loving couples have been unjustly denied until now. We are not just a gay couple; we are two individuals who are deeply in love."

President Barack Obama

"I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA

"Today my spirits are soaring because the Supreme Court reaffirmed the promise of America by rejecting two blatantly unconstitutional measures that discriminated against millions of our families. I was proud to have voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and it is so heartening to see that the federal government will now treat all marriages equally. Because of the Court's ruling on Proposition 8, millions of Californians will be able to marry the person they love - with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with it."

U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village

"Today, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and reaffirmed our country's promise to the American people that all are equal under the law. This is a joyous moment for our nation as it moves one step closer to realizing our Constitution's promise of equality for every American, no matter who they love. The highest court in the land also returned marriage equality to California and Ventura County, giving thousands of same-sex couples and their children the recognition and protection they deserve. As our country continues to move forward on marriage equality, we must keep working together to recognize equality for all Americans."

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield

"American history can be read as a gradual expansion of true equality under the law. Today, the arc of history bent further toward justice. I have long believed that all loving couples deserve the freedom to marry. Hundreds of thousands of LGBT Americans are building a life together, raising children, and are part of the fabric of communities throughout our nation. They deserve all the same rights that my wife Patti and I have, and I'm glad we're one step closer to a country that treats everyone with dignity and respect."

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael

"Today's historic decisions reaffirm what our founders wrote 237 years ago next week. We all have a right to pursue happiness, and that includes choosing the person we marry," said Assemblymember Levine. "These decisions further LGBT equality all across our freedom loving nation."

Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa

"With liberty and justice for all, today the Supreme Court affirmed what many of us have long known; equal protection under the law is not a subjective principle that ebbs and flows with the times. It is, however, the core tenet of this country's founding and one that I am proud to see upheld and strengthened with today's rulings. The issues that challenge equality for all may change, but we should take comfort in the knowledge that justice is unwavering."

Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina

"Today is a historic day for Californians and same-sex marriage advocates around the nation. I am proud to stand with activists in support of a more just society where individuals have the protective right to marry his or her partner. California will soon resume providing the opportunity with same-sex marriages for the residents of this state. Today's victory in our nation's highest court will shed light on the resounding effect of the resilient support around the country."

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Los Angeles

"We should all take pride in this moment. All committed couples who want to build a life and family in California can stop dreaming about marriage and start choosing marriage. In a civilized society, the law must never be wielded as a tool of discrimination that deprives our fellow citizens of such a personal choice."

Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento

"Today's rulings are momentous milestones for California's pursuit of marriage equality. Proponents of Proposition 8 had no standing because they could show no harm in same-sex couples having the same constitutional rights as everyone else. Love and commitment is universal. I look forward to presiding again at legally-recognized ceremonies of same-sex couples in California who wish to make a lifetime and loving commitment through marriage."

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton

"Today marks another important step on the long march to justice and equality for all. The Supreme Court's dismissal of the challenge to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturning Proposition 8, which denied same-sex couples in California the right to marry the person they loved, means marriage equality stands in our state. Californians have reason to celebrate. In 1989 when I introduced the first gay marriage bill in California, I couldn't even get a motion to get the bill out of committee. We've made progress but work remains to be done because there are loving couples in thirty-seven states who do not currently enjoy the same rights that those of us lucky enough to live in California currently enjoy. Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we march on."

Fred Karger, President of Rights Equal Rights

"Today we celebrate two substantial victories before the United States Supreme Court in our fight for full equality. We are two giant steps closer to the day when all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans are truly equal under the law and to ourselves. We are no longer second-class citizens."

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris

"The Supreme Court's historic ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry means that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to be legally married in all of California's 58 counties," said Attorney General Harris. "The Court agreed with our argument that opponents of same-sex marriage lacked the legal standing required to bring the issue to the court. Same-sex marriages can legally resume in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts its stay on the District Court Ruling. I ask that the Ninth Circuit lift this stay immediately, because gay and lesbian couples in California have waited long enough for their full civil rights."

Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego

"At long last, loving and committed partners of the same sex can celebrate both wedding bells and the bells of liberty. Martin Luther King Jr. correctly foretold the history of civil rights in our country when he observed, 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.'"

U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside

"But for individuals like Edith Windsor, this victory is about more than the benefits or tax credits they will receive. It is about the federal government finally recognizing their relationships as legitimate. The Supreme Court also did the right thing today in their historic decision regarding California's Proposition 8. While this ruling is the narrowest decision the justices could have made, it returns marriage equality to California and is unequivocally a step in the right direction. The court today is not imposing a decision on the American people, it's merely ratifying what has already been decided in the hearts and minds of the people."

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis

"Today, I join with millions of Americans in applauding the Supreme Court's affirmation of the fundamental principles of marriage equality. More importantly, the decisions issued today are a beacon of hope to all who choose to travel our country's long road to justice. Let us all continue the fight for civil rights for all people."

State Controller John Chiang

"Every Californian deserves the chance to pursue happiness and share their lives with loved ones. A society that accepts discrimination will never succeed like a society that is open, inclusive, and based on respect and equality. Today we took great steps in the right direction."

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco

"This day could not have arrived without the courageous efforts of civil rights pioneers who bravely fought for legal recognition of our rights and humanity. Today we pay tribute to them, knowing they have helped pave the way for millions of LGBT people to live happier and more fulfilled lives, which will only benefit their families and the rest of society. Today is also an affirmation of the power of coming out, telling our stories and putting love and authenticity foremost in our lives. With legal doctrine, legislative victories and public opinion increasingly on our side, LGBT Americans can finally envision a day where future generations will look back and wonder how this outcome could have ever been in doubt and why it took so long to happen."

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego

"Equality has rarely been achieved easily, but it's a value Americans know is worth fighting for. I am elated to know that same-sex couples now have the opportunity to marry and look forward to celebrating with friends who are no longer legally barred from pursuing their own happiness, regardless of who they love. Today is a great day to celebrate a renewed commitment to equal treatment and respect of one another, but I pledge to defend equal rights for all people as the injustice created by inequality still persists in many corners of our society."

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles

"This is a tremendous victory, not just for the LGBT Community, and not just for the large and growing majority of Americans who have embraced us, but a victory for justice itself," said Speaker Pérez. "With the Court's action, Judge Vaughn Walker's decision is the law of the land in California, and that means that, for the first time in five years, LGBT Californians can walk the streets of California knowing that we are fully equal citizens in every respect."

Rick Jacobs, Founder of CourageCampaign.org

"Today the nation took another historic step towards creating a more perfect union. This is a watershed moment for equality and a clear statement from the highest court in the land that discrimination and hatred have no place in a country founded on the principles of liberty, justice and equality. The judiciary has now caught up with the American public and the tremendous momentum our movement has had since the passage of Prop. 8 five years ago. Love should not be legislated or litigated. We hope today's rulings settle this issue once and for all as we celebrate loving couples marrying in California and across the country in the coming weeks, months and years."

Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Nora Campos, D-San Jose

"What a historic day for justice and equal rights in America today. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the values of commitment and enduring love by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding a lower court's ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex couples to be able to marry in California. Everyone who has married remembers the joy of that day. Soon all Californians will have the ability to experience that beautiful moment."

Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber

"I'm very disappointed by the Court's decision; the people's vote was ignored. Proposition 8 was passed by the voters of California. But the political elite, who did not agree with the election results, refused to defend the people's vote. This is about elected officials at the highest levels of government and their refusal to defend the will of the majority of the people of the state of California whom they serve. This decision clearly undermines the initiative process - a powerful constitutional tool for the people of this great state to determine public policy. It calls into question the very nature of the people's right to bypass the political system and directly assert their will using the democratic process."

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens

"With today's ruling, thousands of same-sex couples in California will be able to legally marry whom they love. For the first time in history, tens of thousands of LGBT families across the country will now be able to access federal benefits, which includes the ability to petition their same-sex foreign national partner for residency. For all of you naysayers and for all those who would stand in the way of equality, we are here to remind you, it just got better because we made it better and we will continue to make it better. We won't stop until all members of the LGBT community can honestly say, 'and justice for all.'"

Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello

"I applaud the United States Supreme Court's historic decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This decision takes us closer to achieving the promise of equality in our democracy and it represents a tremendous victory for couples and families who deserve the same treatment under the law. I join Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris in urging counties to get ready to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts its stay."

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata

"This is a good day for all who believe in fairness and equality. I applaud today's Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples in California the right to marry as well as to give married same-sex couples the over one thousand federal rights previously denied them. The ability to marry the person of one's own choosing is directly in keeping with our Constitution's promise of '...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' The Justices' rulings today will make many families - right here in California, and around the nation - whole. I'm pleased that Gov. Brown has already directed the California Department of Public Health to advise counties to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as the federal court in California lifts the stay currently in place."



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