Schiff, Sherman back gay marriage

A landmark appellate court decision Tuesday overturning Proposition 8 prompted a range of reactions from local political officials.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, whose district includes Burbank, Glendale and La Crescenta, blasted the 2-1 decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel that upheld a lower-court ruling that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional because it discriminates against a minority group.

“Once again, activist judges with a political correctness agenda have disenfranchised the people who voted overwhelmingly to oppose same-sex marriage in California — over 4.5 million Californians in 2000, and over 7 million in 2008,” Antonovich said in a written statement.

California voters approved Prop. 8 by a 52% to 48% margin in 2008.

Antonovich also backed pledges by Prop. 8 supporters to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), on the other hand, said the ruling is a step in the right direction, calling it “another step toward full equality for all Americans.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said everyone should have marriage rights.

“We should reject any law that denies certain citizens the legal rights and protections that are available to others, simply because of their sexual preference. Everyone should have the right to marry the person of their choosing,” Sherman said in a statement.

“Furthermore, the rights of the minority should not be voted upon. In America, rights should be granted equally to all citizens across the board,” he added. “I would hope this decision is upheld if an appeal moves to the Supreme Court.”

Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) said for him the ruling is “particularly emotional.”

His brother, Michael Portantino, was publisher of the Gay and Lesbian Times in San Diego. Michael Portantino, 52, who was gay, committed suicide last year.

“My brother fought this battle for three decades,” Portantino said. “He spent his life fighting for equality and civil rights. It was a lifelong dream of his to be treated like everyone else.”

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) agreed that the government should not interfere in personal lives.

“I, for one, prefer to live in a nation and state where the government stays out of loving relationships in people’s bedrooms,” Gatto said. “Prop. 8 was a divisive, hate-filled measure when it passed, and it was nice for the court to recognize that.”

State Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) said the ruling is another victory for civil rights.

“This important decision puts California one step closer to where it should be — a state where all our citizens can enjoy the freedom to marry,” Liu said in a statement.

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