March 4, 2012

C.U. Reacts to California Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

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In reaction to a federal appeals court’s Feb. 7 decision to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage, many Cornellians said they support the ruling and believe people should be allowed to marry whom they want.

The federal appeals court determined that Proposition 8, a controversial law banning same sex-marriage, is unconstitutional — a decision that was met with the approval of many supporters of gay rights in the U.S.

While opponents of same-sex marriage argued that marriage should be a same-sex union, and that children should be raised by a man and a woman, the court said that Proposition 8 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The clause states that “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Many Cornellians said they were happy with the judges’ decision.

Jadey Huray ’14, the co-facilitator of LBQ, a support group for “queer” women, and a candidate for LGBTQ representative for the S.A., said that she is ecstatic about the overturning of Proposition 8.

“It’s a milestone event reflecting the changing attitudes towards same-sex marriage across America, especially in California,” Huray said. “Prior to the overturning of Proposition 8, there was a real disconnect between the feelings of the general populace and the [California] administration.”

Additionally, Huray said that the overturning of Proposition 8 has had “a ripple effect here at Cornell as more people become increasingly aware of LGBTQ issues, the rights both afforded and deprived of those individuals.” She said that she thought it will help “mobilize individuals to fight for those rights and feel more at ease with their identity, as their respective states becoming more accepting towards their relationships.”

Similarly, Selene Leung ‘15, from Northern California, said that she understands why same-sex marriage is such a controversial issue. At the same time, Leung said, she believes that people should still have the right to marry whomever they want.

“I understand why they are being so ambiguous with their decision,” Leung said. “It’s difficult to reconcile the wants of such diversely opinionated groups. However, I still believe people have the right to marry whoever they want.”

On Feb. 21, supporters backing a ban on same-sex marriage asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the Feb. 7 ruling. Although the court has yet to decide whether or not to take on the appeal, Prof. Theodore Lowi, government, said that because the Supreme Court has a “standing majority who are conservative,” it is possible that judges could make Proposition 8 legal again.

Lowe added that this will be a “tough decision” for the Supreme Court to make.

Nate Treffeisen ’12, LGBTQ representative at-large for the Student Assembly, said “leaders in our day-to-day lives, from President Obama to President Skorton and our University’s administration, should be acting as leaders to achieve equality for the LGBTQ community as well.”

Original Author: Jaclyn Chen