What they're saying

Quotes in reaction to a federal judge overturning California's same-sex marriage ban:

"For our entire lives, our government and the law have treated us as unequal. This decision to ensure that our constitutional rights are as protected as everyone else's makes us incredibly proud of our country."

-- Kristin Perry, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging Prop. 8

"On no less than 14 occasions, the Supreme Court has held that marriage is a fundamental right. This decision recognizes that Proposition 8 denied the plaintiffs, and tens of thousands of other Californians, that fundamental constitutional right and treated them unequally."

-- Theodore Olson, plaintiffs' attorney

"The judge's invalidation of the votes of over 7 million Californians violates binding legal precedent and short-circuits the democratic process. ... It is disturbing that the trial court, in order to strike down Prop. 8, has literally accused the majority of California voters of having ill and discriminatory intent when casting their votes for Prop. 8."

-- Andrew Pugno, attorney for group that defended Prop. 8

"Today's ruling strikes a resonant chord against discrimination that should not only withstand appeal, but change hearts and minds."


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-- Dennis Herrera, San Francisco city attorney

"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."

-- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

"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."

-- Jerry Brown, California attorney general

"As a single, gay man, marriage has always been a difficult institution to personally relate to. But my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer about a year ago. It really struck home when I realized: Marriage and weddings are these pivotal moments in one's life. I never realized how deeply I held on to childhood aspirations of getting married. ... It's only more recently that I've started to understand the ramifications, implications of marriage. It was the realization my mother might not actually be there to witness my wedding."

-- Tawal Panyacosit, API Equality of Northern California

"We recognize that this decision represents only the opening of a vigorous debate in the courts over the rights of the people to define and protect this most fundamental institution -- marriage."

-- Kim Farah, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

"This historic decision is a step forward in the march toward equal rights and reflects a growing legal consensus that marriage equality is protected by the U.S. Constitution.''

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

"The people of California spoke clearly on this issue at the ballot box in 2008. That decision is being challenged through our court system and while I don't agree with the judge's ruling today, this is one in what will be a multistep legal process."

-- Carly Fiorina, Republican U.S. Senate candidate

"California is a freer, more just place today. By overturning Proposition 8, Justice Vaughn Walker affirmed a basic American value: We all deserve to be treated fairly under the law, and we all deserve the freedom to marry."

-- Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Source: Staff reports, Associated Press