Local gay community sees validation of its rights, Prop. 8 supporter calls the court ruling 'tragic'

blindelof@sacbee.comJune 26, 2013 

Reaction to the Supreme Court's narrow decision Wednesday on Proposition 8 was greeted with glee by gay people and their supporters in Sacramento and decried by those who were disappointed by the high court.

The 5-4 decision court supported same-sex marriage in California.

Nicola Simmersbach, attending a gathering at Lambda gay and lesbian center in midtown Sacramento, and her domestic partner, Diana Luiz, want to get married as soon as possible.

"We never take our rights for granted because we have not had them," said Simmersbach. "We have lacked legitimacy. This gives us legitimacy. These are the principles on which this country stands and they have just been affirmed."

Another person at the center, Ellen Pontac, thanked the crowd before saying "Now go get married." The room erupted in cheers.

Her wife, Shelly Bailes, also addressed the crowd: "Prop. 8 is overturned. Prop. 8 is in the dust bin of history."

The overturning of Proposition 8 was criticized by others. Nell Keim of Sacramento said the ruling was tragic.

"This is especially harmful for children who need both a father and a mother, a husband and a wife, from whom they can absorb the formation they need to grow up and become good fathers and mothers, husbands and wives themselves," said Keim.

She said that is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church for 2,000 years and that will never change.

Laurette Elsberry said the ruling on Proposition 8 was tragic and evil.

"The Catholic Church will always bless only monogamous, life-time marriage between one man and one woman because that is the creator's plan," said Elsberry. "Every child needs both parents."

The November 2008 California initiative abolished same-sex couples' right to marriage. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme court concluded that the supporters of Proposition 8 lacked the legal standing to defend the ballot measure.

The decision leaves intact a trial judge's order blocking Proposition 8 from taking effect. This means two same-sex couples who filed the lawsuit against the ballot measure can marry. Advocates say other same-sex couples in California should be able to take advantage of the same ruling. It is unclear when couples can resume getting married in California.

The court's majority stopped short of declaring a constitutionally protected right to same-sex marriage for all states.

At the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Enrique Manjarrez said that the narrow ruling "means we have to keep fighting. Just keep fighting for love and love will prevail."

And Pontac said simply: "I'm just really happy to get rid of Prop. 8. Nothing negative today."

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