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Reactions to ruling on same-sex marriages

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Californians, Americans react to Wednesday's ruling
  • Proposition 8 was approved by voters
  • Judge ruled that it was unconstitutional and violated equal rights clause

(CNN) -- Reaction Wednesday to a federal ruling that rejected California's Proposition 8 on same-sex marriage centered on equal rights and the voice of voters.

Edward E. (Ned) Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference:

"That the judge should find the marriage -- civilization's longstanding public policy -- irrational and discriminatory does a great injustice to the institution itself and ultimately will further encourage the disintegration of mother-father families. Homosexuals certainly have every right to the love, companionship and support of another person -- but the courts do not have a right to distort the meaning of marriage."

Gene Robinson, first openly gay Episcopal bishop, told USA Today:

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"The fight is not over but the progress forward has certainly been strengthened by this. The most important thing is that the majority of the people may not always get it right. That's one reason we have the courts."

Theodore Olson, an attorney for plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8:

"This is what American justice is all about -- when a judge, an independent judge, tries hard to listen to all of the evidence, analyzes the issues, and comes to a conclusion and vindicates the rights of a minority of our citizens to be treated with decency and respect and equality in our system."

Bishop Harry Jackson, leader of Stand4MarriageDC:

"It is not bigotry, it is biology that discriminates between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. To make a marriage requires a husband and a wife, because these unions are necessary to make new life and connect children to their mother and father. Judge Walker's slur will not stand the test of time and history. We demand that Congress and the Supreme Court act to protect all Americans' right to vote for marriage."

Human Rights Campaign:

"The battle for marriage equality continues, and we must all continue our work -- in courthouses and statehouses, in church pews and living rooms -- until equality is reality for LGBT people and our families everywhere."

Brian Raum, attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund:

"In America, we should respect and uphold the right of a free people to make policy choices through the democratic process -- especially ones that do nothing more than uphold the definition of marriage that has existed since the foundation of the country and beyond."

White House:

"The president has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans."

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"California voters have twice been given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage in their state and both times have determined that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We agree. Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of society."

Executive Director Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights:

"Using the Prop 8 proponents' own outrageous and inflammatory words, ads, and e-mails, the plaintiffs powerfully demonstrated that Prop 8 was a direct product of hostility, fear-mongering and demonization of lesbians and gay men."

California Attorney General Jerry Brown:

"In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest."

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America:

"Marriage is not a political toy. It is too important to treat as a means for already powerful people to gain preferred status or acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman undergirds a stable society and cannot be replaced by any other living arrangement."

Chad Griffin, board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which helped bring the case against Proposition 8:

"Any denial of freedom ... undermines the principles on which this country is founded."

Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage:

"I am deeply disturbed and shocked a federal judge has ruled 7 million people have no right to vote on marriage. This is a slur against the majority of Americans."

Musician Cyndi Lauper, whose True Colors Fund advocates for the lesbian, gay and transgender community:

"Today's landmark ruling ... validates that the discrimination gay couples face must come to an end. We as a society should be embracing these couples and helping them make the lifelong commitment to each other that many of us straight people take for granted each and every day."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, referring to 1973 decision that legalized abortion:

"This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

"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."

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, House Judiciary Committee:

"When Congress returns from recess, I plan to introduce a resolution condemning today's decision and urging an immediate appeal. The voters of California are not the only ones who lost today. This decision defies the voice of all citizens who have sought to define marriage in their states as the union between one man and one woman. Judge Walker's actions should be opposed and the decision should be swiftly overturned."

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

"This is a tremendous step forward for individual freedom and church-state separation. Aggressive and well-funded religious groups conspired to take away the civil marriage rights of same-sex couples in California. That was wrong, and I am delighted that the court has ruled the way it has."