The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Students speak out on Proposition 8

Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in California Aug. 4, a decision met with mixed responses from across the nation. Gay marriages will resume legality Aug. 18 in the state of California, but those who oppose the idea will continue to fight through appeals.

SMU’s student body has been following the issue closely. The Daily Campus spoke to the leaders of College Democrats, College Republicans, University Libertarians, and Spectrum, SMU’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) organization, to gauge their stances on the issue.

“The overturn of California’s Prop 8 in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was a victory not only for marriage equality supporters but for those who believe in due process and equal protection,” said David DelaFuente, president of College Democrats. He said the overturning of Proposition 8 restored equal rights and protections to all Californians. 

Stephen Cesson, Red-President of University Libertarians agreed with DelaFuente. “We, as Libertarians, are first and foremost Constitutionalists. We believe the decision by Judge Walker was in line with the principle of equal protection under the law outlined in the 14th Amendment,” said Cesson. “We believe, that regardless of race, religion or, in this case, gender, that all individuals must have equal protection under the Constitution.”

Cesson noted that Libertarians believe that marriage “is a personal matter between two people, and it should not be regulated.” He said as long as the government issues marriage licenses, “they must do so in a matter consistent with the principles America was founded on–that is, Liberty and Justice for all citizens.”

Chad Cohen, president of College Republicans took a different stance. He believes the judge did not present “a compelling reason that established the inadequacy or inferiority of domestic partnerships in satisfying the rights of same-sex couples.” 

He noted that, “Going forward, the solution to the issue of the rights of same-sex couples must satisfy the need to respect the rights of same-sex couples while still maintaining traditional values.

He also believes Judge Walker overstepped his judicial authority by overruling the vote of “over seven million voters in the state of California.”

“Changes in the law, especially significant changes such as this, merit deliberate consideration and measured action,” said Cohen. “A sweeping decision of this nature runs contrary to the principle of judicial restraint that should inform all rulings from the bench.

DelaFuente disagreed, “The will of the people in a referendum cannot be heard if the referendum itself causes harm to a minority population,” said DelaFuente.

Aaron Barnes, co-president of Spectrum, said that the overturning of Proposition 8 “restored hope in all corners of the queer community,” and noted that the most important effect will be “the restoration of zeal in the queer rights movement, our faith in ourselves and our cause.”

Barnes said he was “appalled” when Proposition 8 passed. “It seemed like, for all the nobility of our cause, nothing beat the power of money and blind, ignorant hatred. Joke’s on me–all it took was one judge, one person in a position of real power, put there by US – that is, we the people – to see the truth, and restore justice. God Bless America.”

Red-President of University Libertarians, Spencer Matthews, said that University Libertarians will begin to “work more closely” with LGBTQ groups on campus. “It is one thing to write that we support their fight on paper, but we want to really walk with them so we really know what the fight is about, not just what they want to achieve with it,” he said. “We want to do this because we want to show them they are not alone.”

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