Updated: Reactions to Supreme Court rulings on same-same sex marriage

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Street celebration on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights in West Hollywood. Photo: Saul Gonzalez

Gay marriage supporters celebrate in West Hollywood. Photo: Brandon Nightingale
Gay marriage supporters celebrate in West Hollywood. Photo: Brandon Nightingale

It’s been a long and exciting day for supporters of same-sex marriage. On this evening’s Which Way, LA? we looked at how soon gay marriage might be reinstated in California, what it could mean for various same-sex couples and where public opinion stands now. Listen below:

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis looks at how same-sex marriage supporters and opponents are responding to today’s Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act are seen as giant steps forward in the gay rights movement. Meanwhile, conservative groups say they will continue to defend Prop 8 and seek its enforcement. Bill Duncan is the director of the Marriage Law Foundation, and spoke to KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis.

Whittier gay activist David Flores. Photo by Gina Delvac.
Whittier gay activist David Flores. Photo by Gina Delvac.

David Flores, a gay activist from Whittier, walked down Sunset Boulevard this afternoon carrying a large rainbow “pride” flag and an American flag. “Before we’re gay we’re Americans first,” Flores said, “and we’re entitled to every equality as any other American.”

Gay marriage may be on the verge of becoming legal again in California, but Ron Wallen got in on the nuptials when it was legal here, before Proposition 8 passed. Both he and his late-husband Tom Carrollo, the man he’d been with for 55 years, served in the U.S. military.

Wallen couldn’t have access to Carrollo’s federal benefits because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which today, was struck down by the Supreme Court. Ron Wallen spoke with KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis from his home in Palm Springs:

On today’s To the Point, we hear responses to the Supreme Court decisions. We hear the legal details and the emotional reaction from both sides, who agree on one thing: traditional marriage is changing fast. Listen here.

Update 2:45 KCRW interview with West Hollywood City Council Member John Duran about what’s next for California

John Duran told KCRW’s Saul Gonzalez, “30 days from now I expect I will be marrying couples right where I’m standing.”

Updated 1:15 p.m: 9th Circuit Court will wait 25 days before allowing gay marriage

AP reports:

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that it will take at least that long for the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to become official.The San Francisco-based court said it may continue to bar gay marriages even beyond that if proponents of Proposition 8, the state’s gay marriage ban, ask for a rehearing.

Updated 10:45 a.m.: California Attorney General says “We Californians should be proud” and urges the 9th Circuit to lift the stay on gay marriage as quickly as possible.

Attorney General Kamala Harris speaking about Prop. 8 and DOMA. Photo: Avishay Artsy
Attorney General Kamala Harris speaking about Prop. 8 and DOMA. Photo: Avishay Artsy

California Attorney General Kamala Harris applauded the Supreme Court for its decisions, saying, “we know that these same sex couples have been denied equal protection under the law for far too long.” She also shared a story of how she performed marriages at City Hall in San Francisco, and stressed that these couples are part of society, our role models, and people in the community. “I think it’s quickly changing,” said Harris of the perception of gay marriage.

She also said that as soon as the stay is lifted, gay marriage can resume. Even though it takes 25 days for the Supreme Court decision to be instated, the court can lift the stay sooner.

Gay marriage supporters celebrate in West Hollywood. Photo: Saul Gonzalez
Gay marriage supporters celebrate. Photo: Saul Gonzalez

Updated 10:15 a.m. Brad Sears on the Supreme Court rulings:

Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute at UCLA, breaks down today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Sears says the rulings represent a major step in the fight for universal gay marriage in the United States.

Updated 9:45 a.m. KCRW listeners have been weighing in on Facebook:

Tracy Bachman: Yes!! It means everything. It means my wife can collect my hard earned social security.
David Reinwald: When equality and love reign over ignorance, intolerance, and hatred– it is a beautiful day!
Phil Jun: I’m excited and a little shocked by the ruling. I know there will always be hate in this world, but I’m glad there are signs of justice and equality as well.

Gov. Jerry Brown, Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, President Obama and others responded on Twitter:

So when can you get married?

Not yet. First a federal appeals court needs to take action to restart gay marriage in the state. The LA County Clerk issued a press release with all the details and links to how to obtain a marriage licence, once it’s given the go-ahead. The County Clerk’s office also says they are prepared for any increase in volume of requests.

But Gov. Jerry Brown has said that all counties should issue marriage licenses as soon as the stay on gay marriage is lifted by a California’s court. This will take at least 25 days. From the LA Times. :

“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 9th Circuit confirms the stay is lifted,” Brown said in a statement.

From the County Clerk:

No change in the issuance of marriage licenses can occur until further notice. Upon direction, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk will  begin issuing licenses and performing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Activists celebrate gay marriage in West Hollywood. Photo: Saul Gonzalez
Activists celebrate gay marriage in West Hollywood. Photo: Saul Gonzalez

Search for all things “gay” on Google and you get a rainbow:

A rainbow appears in Google, when you search for "gay"
A rainbow appears in Google, when you search for “gay”

From KCRW’s Facebook page: What do the gay marriage rulings mean for you?

Art Weeks:  “It means I am closer to being accepted as an equal human on this planet.”

Meghann Carey: “It means i’m no longer a second class citizen in my own country.”

Susan Kibrick: “I’m over the moon! It means I can finally, in my own state, and with federal recognition, marry my partner of almost twelve years!!!”

Update 8:00 a.m.  

Today’s ruling essentially paves the way for gay marriage in California, adding it to a list of states where gay marriage is legal:

Gay marriage is now legal in all of New England, parts of the East and West coasts and a portion of the Upper Midwest. It remains against the law in much of the interior West, most of the Midwest and all of the South.

The Supreme Court decision means that 95 million Americans now live in states where gay marriage is recognized, or roughly 30 percent of the country’s population.


The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the part of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstituional. Married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits allowed to all married couples.

Justice Kennedy wrote the decision, which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan joined him. Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito dissented.

From USA Today:

In a 5-4 decision written by justice Anthony Kennedy, said the federal law unconstitutionally denied equal treatment to gay and lesbian couples. “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled of recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” Kennedy wrote.

But Kennedy wrote that the decision was “confined to those lawful marriages” performed in states that already recognize same-sex marriage.

From SCOTUS blog:

What this means, in plain terms, is that same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law– with regard to, for example, income taxes and Social Security benefits.

The New Yorker has this slideshow of moments from Edith Windsor’s life, who was at the center of US. v. Winsdsor.


The Supreme Court ruled on Hollingsworth v. Perry to uphold gay marriage in California.

From SCOTUS blog:

After the two same-sex couples filed their challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court in California, the California government officials who would normally have defended the law in court, declined to do so. So the proponents of Proposition 8 stepped in to defend the law, and the California Supreme Court (in response to a request by the lower court) ruled that they could do so under state law. But today the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, it held, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.