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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) _ KCBS has been getting reaction from around the Bay Area about Wednesday’s ruling by Judge Walker to overturn Proposition 8.
Mayor Newsom Lauds Walker’s Ruling
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was all smiles when he heard the decision.
“This is an extraordinary moment because real people’s lives have once again been affirmed,” he said.
Newsom said that despite being pleased by the ruling, he knows it is just the beginning as the appellate process will now get underway.
Newsom is seen by many as the man who got the ball rolling on same-sex marriage. In February of 2004, he authorized the city of San Francisco to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
More than 4,000 couples were married during the 29-day wedding spree until the city stopped issuing licenses at the order of the California Supreme Court.
Those unions were ultimately voided by the California Supreme Court in August of that year.
“This has never been about politics,” said Newsom.
He said he remains confident that the ruling will be upheld and said the issue is in his blood. Newsom said he will continue to support the rights of gays and lesbians no matter what job he holds.
Crowd Celebrates in Castro Neighborhood
Hundreds gathered outside of San Francisco City Hall Wednesday, celebrating the ruling to overturn Proposition 8.
The crowd, which grew to roughly 600 people, was part of a celebratory rally that began in the city’s Castro neighborhood.
During the march to City Hall, the crowd expanded as people walked out of office buildings and joined the marchers as they made their way along Market Street.
Many in the crowd carried rainbow flags as well as signs that read, “Everyone deserves the right to marry.”
A truck also drove alongside the procession playing the Queen song “We are the Champions” over loudspeakers.
Positive Reaction from South Bay
No one in Santa Clara County was happier with the ruling than the President of the Board of Supervisors Ken Yeager, the first openly gay elected official in the county.
“I’m very excited. I think many of us always believed it was unconstitutional that gays and lesbians were unfairly and unjustifiably being denied the right to marriage,” Yeager said. “With no real valid reason for that denial. So, everybody is very excited that the judge ruled in our favor.”
Yeager’s excitement was tempered a bit with the fact that the judge issued a stay along with the ruling.
“A little bit of mixed emotions and a bit of a roller coaster, but certainly, overwhelmingly, the good news is that this was deemed to be unconstitutional,” he said.
Yeager said he was confident in the ultimate outcome of the case, even if it goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Reaction Not All Positive
While many were overjoyed by Wednesday’s ruling, supporters of Proposition 8 voiced their displeasure.
Bill May of Catholics for the Common Good said the issue is not about civil rights for gays and lesbians and that it is the right of the people to determine the law.
“In a democracy, the power needs to be placed in the people and legislatures, rather than appointed judges,” he said.
May also said the ruling invalidated the votes of more than seven million Californians.
“We’re terribly disappointed as are probably the more than seven million voters of California that decided that marriage should be defined as being between a man and woman,” said May.
National Organization for Marriage Executive Director Brian Brown also voiced his displeasure with Judge Walker’s ruling.
“It shows you how far gone our courts have proceeded to viewing that they have the right to create law rather than just interpret law,” said Brown. “And I have no doubt that this is going to the U.S. Supreme Court and I’m optimistic that Walker’s ruling will not stand.”
Brown said while he was disappointed, he said the ruling was expected as Judge Walker “showed his cards” early on in the process.
State Officials, Candidates Weigh In
Governor Schwarzenegger said the ruling is an important step toward equality and freedom for all people.
The Republican governor said Wednesday’s ruling “affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves.”
Schwarzenegger was one of the original defendants, but he refused to support Proposition 8 in court.
Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown said the decision is great news.
Brown posted the comment on his Twitter account shortly after the ruling was announced.
The attorney general also released an official statement through his office, reiterating his belief that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Republican candidate Meg Whitman told reporters before the ruling that she is against gay marriage, but favors civil unions.
She has said she voted for Proposition 8.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said she disagrees with the ruling.
Fiorina said California voters spoke clearly against same-sex unions when a majority approved Proposition 8 in 2008.
California’s senators, Democrats Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer both said they supported the ruling and called it a historic step torward for equal rights.