Marriage equality advocates celebrate rulings

High court decisions seen as 'enormous step in right direction'

June 26, 2013|By Jill Cowan
  • Danielle Louie, in hat, and Greg Kespradit, right, join hundreds of other opponents of Proposition 8 during a large demonstration near South Coast Plaza after the measure passed in 2008.
Danielle Louie, in hat, and Greg Kespradit, right, join… (DON LEACH / Daily…)

Same-sex marriage supporters in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa on Wednesday cheered a pair of landmark Supreme Court decisions striking down California's Proposition 8 and a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act while religious leaders recognized that a cultural tide is shifting, though their beliefs are not.

"Today was a win," said Eliza Rubenstein, artistic director of the Orange County Women's Chorus and an outspoken proponent of gay marriage equality. "Sure, I'm disappointed [the decision not to hear an appeal in California's Proposition 8 case] wasn't more sweeping, but people on both sides have recognized that the tide has turned and it's not going back."

However, it could be weeks before same-sex weddings resume, as a federal appeals court must first lift a hold on the original decision that struck down Proposition 8.

Still, Rubenstein said she was "running on happy fumes," and that after years of fighting for marriage equality, the morning's decisions came as "an enormous step in the right direction."


Tom Thorkelson, who spoke personally and not on behalf of the Orange County Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he serves as interfaith director, said that while he sees the legal recognition of same-sex marriage as "a step in the wrong direction for society," the decisions weren't unexpected.

"Since the passage of Prop. 8, public opinion has moved steadily and inexorably toward an approval of same-sex marriage," he said, adding that he supports equal treatment for same-sex unions, but that they shouldn't be called marriages.

Added Newport Beach businessman Bill Dunlap, a local Republican Party leader: "For me, it's about the label."

"The names 'Google' and 'Microsoft' have been taken 'Marriage' has been taken," he said. "If they want to call it something else, I would support that, but 'marriage' has been taken for a man and a woman."

Still, Thorkelson said he recognized that from a political standpoint, "If Prop. 8 was voted on today, it wouldn't pass."

"Things I cannot change, I move ahead and make the best I can," he said. "I am not walking out of here with antagonism or negative feelings."

The Rev. Sarah Halverson, pastor of Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa, said that although California has taken legal action to safeguard rights for gay and lesbian couples, "There's a lot more to do.

"There are 37 states we need to fight for," she said. Plus, "religiously, we're not done.

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