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UPDATE: Santa Clarita Valley group cheers court rulings on gay marriage

Rally scheduled today to celebrate decisions

Posted: June 26, 2013 12:46 p.m.
Updated: June 26, 2013 2:41 p.m.

Santa Clarita Valley residents will rally today to celebrate a pair of Supreme Court decisions that paved the way for gay marriages to resume in California and also granted previously denied federal rights to gay couples.

“It’s not just a victory for the gay and lesbian community; it’s a victory for everyone,” said David McEachern, president of the Santa Clarita Valley chapter of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays group.

The rally will be held at the intersection of McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard at 5:30 p.m.

Valencia resident Malcolm Blue, who plans on attending the event today, said it was originally envisioned as a rally, but that changed once the court handed down its rulings.

“Now it’s going to be a celebration,” said Blue, who is gay.

The United States Supreme Court ruled today that supporters of California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 voter-approved measure that banned gay marriage in the state, had no standing to sue before the court after the measure was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Part of the reason Proposition 8 proponents were turned away by the court is that California state officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, declined to defend the measure.

“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” justices wrote in the majority opinion. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”

Harris, a vocal critic of Proposition 8, called the day a “great day.”

“Today is a day that reaffirms our commitment as a country to giving every person equal protection and due process under the law,” said Harris during a Wednesday press conference.

But Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, said he was disappointed by the court’s ruling and that marriage between one man and one woman is a “sacred, God-given institution.”

“I believe these issues should be decided democratically by the people, not through judicial decisions,” McKeon said. "It was my hope that the decisions made by the people in states, like California with Proposition 8, to define marriage as between one man and one woman would be respected by the Court.”

The court also ruled the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman and barred gay couples from receiving benefits afforded to straight couples, is unconstitutional and violates the Fifth Amendment.

Wednesday’s court decision is the latest in a string of victories for the gay marriage movement. Several years ago, polls showed that most Americans were opposed to gay marriage. Polling in recent months, however, shows most are now in favor.

President Barack Obama formally announced his full support for gay marriage last year after previously being opposed to it. Vice President Joe Biden, who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act while he a member of the Senate, also said he supports gay marriage.

“It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the nation slowly, state by state, throws off these petty prejudices and restrictions to their gay and lesbian citizens,” McEachern said.

Blue said he thinks the issue is about more than just the definition of marriage.

“It’s about love,” he said. “Why does anybody want to legislate love? We should be celebrating love we should be encouraging love.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney





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