For six months last year, gay couples in California had the legal right to get married. But it didn’t last. In November, Proposition 8 reversed the state Supreme Court ruling by defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The Court upheld the proposition on May 26, although it declared that more than 18,000 gay marriages that took place during the brief legalization are still valid.
Among the Californians who spoke out against the Proposition 8 sustainment were celebrities—not all of them homosexual—who just want equality in marriage law.
“This ruling is a decision to be indecisive,” George Takei, best known as Sulu from the original Star Trek, told Reuters. “Nothing’s changed with our marriage, but I think the California Supreme Court has changed.”
Takei married his longtime partner, Brad Altman, on September 14. His marriage remains legal despite Proposition 8, but he’s not impressed with the double standard of protecting the unions of gay couples who timed their marriages right.
“That’s not equal. That’s unequal. What the Supreme Court did essentially was maintain an inequality,” Takei told E! Online. “Only a year ago, they declared that marriage equality [was] a fundamental, constitutional right that extends to gays and lesbians, and now they say it isn’t.”
Takei, 72, added that another ballot might be the best answer to reverse the ruling. “I am confident that if we go through this again, we will ultimately prevail and our Supreme Court will go into the dust of history.”
Another legally married gay celebrity who protested the upheld ruling of Proposition 8 was comic Ellen DeGeneres, who married Ally McBeal and Arrested Development star Portia de Rossi in August. On the Twitter page for her TV talk show, DeGeneres wrote: “One day, when everyone is treated with full equality, we’ll look back and realize how wrong this was.”
Comedian/actor Wanda Sykes, best known for her role on The New Adventures of Old Christine, told E! that the ruling deeply disappointed her. “But [I’m] also very optimistic that we will return to the polls and restore marriage equality for same-sex couples… They have p—-d off the wrong group of people.” Sykes married her partner in October.
One gay celebrity whose union Proposition 8 has left in limbo is singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge.
She had planned to marry actor Tammy Lynn Michaels in order to legalize a ceremony they held in 2003. But they put the official wedding off out of fear that gay marriage would be banned again. “I wanted to wait until I knew that when I step into City Hall and I’m there with my wife and that clerk signs that piece of paper,” Etheridge, 47, told Reuters, “I want to know that it’s free and clear.”
Of the gay marriages that are deemed valid, Etheridge said, “What if this was [sic] the 1960s and it was like, ‘OK, these interracial marriages can be married but these can’t’? You can’t put this back in the bottle.” She added that she and Michaels, who are raising four children as a couple, consider themselves married and “we would like that to be recognized some day civically.”
Other celebrities who publicly protested the Proposition 8 upholding included Drew Barrymore, Pink, and James Franco, according to E!.
“Who will be happy tonight?” Reuters quoted Etheridge as saying. “How do I explain this to my children?”