With the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling this morning that declares Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a celebratory gathering will be held tonight organized by members of the Santa Barbara Equality Project, a program of the Pacific Pride Foundation.
Prop 8, the 2008 ballot measure that restricted marriage in California to between one man and one woman, is in violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the court decided in a 2-1 ruling. “Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to opposite-sex couples,” the court said in a statement earlier today.
This ruling comes as welcome news to the Equality Project, which helped defeat Prop. 8 in Santa Barbara County in 2008. “We are lucky to have a supportive community of individuals, organizations, and faith groups who strongly believe in the right of all loving couples to commit themselves in marriage,” said Meredith Munn, LGBT Advocacy Coordinator for the Equality Project, in a prepared statement.
David Selberg, executive director of the Pacific Pride Foundation, was excited about the 9th Circuit’s decision. “In the finest tradition of our courts, they have replaced ‘separate but not equal’ with true equality, justice, and human dignity,” Selberg said in a prepared statement. “The courts have made a milestone decision toward equality for Gay and Lesbian people away from second class citizenship. And now California can take its rightful place on the national stage as we continue this struggle for the basic right to marry the person we love.”
Representative Lois Capps, a longtime proponent of gay and lesbian rights, issued her own statement shortly after the decision was announced. “Today’s ruling is a historic milestone in achieving full equality for all Americans, further confirming what so many Americans have known for some time now — that marriage is a fundamental right which cannot be denied to gay and lesbian couples,” she said. “Marriage equality is a necessary step to ensure the civil rights of lesbian and gay Americans and their full participation in our society. This decision sends a clear message to all LGBT Americans, but an especially positive one to LGBT youth — you are valued and worthy, your rights are equal to others and not less, and one day you too may grow up and marry your beloved.”
The gathering this evening will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Society at 1535 Santa Barbara Street. All supportive members of the public are invited to attend so they can learn more about the ruling and celebrate as a community.