A slim majority of California voters approved Prop. 8 in November. The hotly anticipated opinion on three subsequent cases challenging its constitutionality — Strauss vs. Horton, S168047; Tyler vs. State of California, S168066; and City and County of San Francisco v. Horton, S168078 — was published this morning on the court's official website.
Gil Sperlein, general counsel for Titan Media, is among the California same-sex couples whose marriage was held in legal limbo.
"We are obviously disappointed by the Court's decision," Sperlein told XBIZ. "In complete contrast to the Court's statements in In re Marriage Cases the Court now claims that Proposition 8 only changes the right to use the word 'marriage' and therefore only represent a minor change to the rights of a small group of people. The Court failed to recognize that subjecting questions of equal protection to the will of the majority constitutes a fundamental change to the Constitution."
"We will work with others to educate California voters until Proposition 8 is overturned."
Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, told XBIZ today's decision is "a step backwards for all of us."
"Whether you are gay or straight, a loss to anyone's civil rights hurts us all. Rest assured that the groups employing their misplaced morality to squelch the rights of same-sex couples will not stop until they have imposed their will on us all, stomping out our right to privacy and eliminating our personal freedoms."
"Californians can and must fight back to restore the very fiber of California’s Constitution by repealing Prop. 8 in 2010," Duke said.
XBIZ spoke to a number of industry professionals about today's decision:
Patrick Collins, Lucas Entertainment publicity director: "Personally, I'm against marriage. It's an institution firmly rooted in misogyny and more recently, racism and homophobia. It's frequently used as a tool to create a privileged class, groups of haves and have-nots. Furthermore, there's no reason why states should allow two people living together to have benefits that others do not, simply because they're living together and have a certificate from the State.
"However, legislation that denies a class of people rights is simply unjust and wrong. Plus it seems that California will now have to deal with two types of gay couples: those that were married before the election, and those who were not. Again, we have people who will get benefits and those that will not. While I don't live in California, this seems like an increasingly complicated and potentially futile legal battle for lesbians and gays there. I hope this is something that will come in front of the Supreme Court of the U.S. and we can finally have a nationwide resolution to this situation."
Chris Ward, Director and CEO of Raging Stallion Studios: "The decision really sucks. Our offices are right outside the courtroom in San Francisco, literally across the street, and there is a major protest now underway — loud and noisy. Gay rights have always advanced best in times of adversity, so this decision will be a win for us in the long run. It will make us stronger and we will win our equal rights over the long haul."
Sister Roma, Hot House Entertainment art director and member of San Francisco nonprofit org, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: "I am dismayed although not surprised by the Court's decision to uphold Prop 8. Let this be a wake up call to California's LGBT community. Despite our state's liberal reputation, we must avoid the traps of complacency and a false sense of security. We have to work harder than ever to gain our civil rights. The hypocrites who hide behind their religion to support hate and practice bigotry won this round — but it's not over. My community and my God believe in love and support equality for all. We will win the next battle — and eventually the war — against hate."