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O.C.'s 'hidden minority' celebrates Prop. 8 ruling

Same-sex marriage opponents believe will of California voters should be upheld by Supreme Court.

February 07, 2012|By Lauren Williams
  • Same-sex couple Agustin Gonzalez, far left, and Roman Beltran, second from left, attend a rally hosted by the Orange County Equality Coalition and the Gay Neighbors, Families, and Friends of Santa Ana. The rally celebrated a federal court's ruling that could be a step toward overturning Proposition 8. It was held at Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Santa Ana.
Same-sex couple Agustin Gonzalez, far left, and Roman… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Supporters of same-sex marriage called Tuesday's federal court ruling negating Proposition 8 a step in the right direction while opponents argued that the will of California voters should stand.

"It is incredible, marvelous," Newport Beach Dr. Jorge Rodriguez said of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to overturn the proposition on constitutional grounds. "I'm really reminded of that Martin Luther King quote that I love: 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.'"

Rodriguez, a Laguna Beach resident who works at Orange Coast Medical Group, said that as a doctor he sees health problems, including depression, in patients who do not feel validated.

As someone "who's in the people business," he said he has noticed that "the wellness of society influences the wellness of the individual."

Mel Distel, activism chairwoman for the Orange County Equality Coalition, planned to attend Tuesday's gathering in support of the ruling in downtown Santa Ana.

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"OCEC is relieved that steps are being taken in the right direction to afford our families the same dignity and respect as other families," she said. "And we hope that through this, we'll be able to really reach out to the public as equals rather than being the hidden minority in Orange County."

The Rev. Sarah Halverson, who leads Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa, said the decision was in line with her understanding of God's vision and that she hopes to one day officiate same-sex weddings that result in legally certified unions.

"God has given each of us the right to live happy lives and fall in love with whoever we fall in love with," Halverson said. "For me, I think we're getting closer to what God has in mind for us."

Opponents argued that California voters' will should stand.

Alexandria Coronado, a former member of the board for the county's Department of Education, said too often the voice of the voters has been overturned by a panel of judges on a variety of issues and that such actions should stop.

"I think the votes should stay in the state of California and it hasn't," Coronado said.

She anticipates the vote will be appealed to theU.S. Supreme Court.

The impact from Tuesday's ruling won't be felt for at least another year or two, when the appeals to the ballot measure have been exhausted, said UC Irvine law professor Richard Hasen.

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