SANTA ANA, Calif. — As afternoon turned into evening on Aug. 4, anti-Proposition 8 activists were both jubilant and guarded at “Day of Decision” rallies throughout Southern California. In Santa Ana, hundreds gathered at Sasscer Park to celebrate U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn A. Walker’s opinion that the California Constitutional Amendment against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Chapman University School of Law Professor Katherine Darmer said she spent two hours reading the entire opinion from Judge Walker before speaking to the crowd at Sasscer Park.
“I think what was most interesting to me was the thorough way (Walker) had discussed all the evidence that had been presented in the trial,” Darmer said. “He really did an effective job of demonstrating that the expert witnesses on the side of ‘Marriage Equality’ were far more persuasive than the people who had testified on the other side. He sort of anchored that in the Constitutional principles of equality and due process.”
Darmer, who has been connected to Orange County Equality Coalition, also said that an appeal has been filed by the opposition in the 9th Circuit Court. “The lawyers that were responsible for this decision will obviously stay on the case and continue fighting. It will then go the United States Supreme Court,” she said.
Another speaker, local comedian Cate Gary, said she does a lot of door-to-door canvassing of voters about Proposition 8. Gary said she was at the gym when Vaughn released his decision.
“It came across the CNN ticker on the TV. I ran home — it was really exciting,” she said.
During her remarks to the crowd, Gary told an anecdote about speaking to an Orange County woman who had a large cross by the doorbell. “It’s funny when you have those conversations because your assumptions are often wrong. You need to leave those at the door, forget your prejudices. She (the homeowner) was really open to having this conversation,” Gary said.
The point of knocking on doors, Gary said, is to be a positive association with the Marriage Equality movement.
“Ideally, I would like it if the Supreme Court would have a ‘Brown v. Board of Education’ moment and say ‘We are going to strike this down because it is not right,'” she said. “I think that’s a little optimistic, to be honest.”
Gary thinks it would be more realistic to get the issue back on the ballot in 2012 in California.
“Hopefully, people would have changed their hearts and minds and that, of course, will tilt the balance and give it us at the ballot box,” she said. “It is unfortunate to have to ask for it, to ask people for rights, but either way, I think it’s cool.”