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UPDATE 2-FACTBOX-Reaction to California gay marriage ruling
(Updates with reaction from White House, conservative group)
LOS ANGELES Aug 4 (Reuters) - A federal judge in San Francisco on Wednesday struck down California's ban on gay marriage, which was approved by voters in November 2008 and upheld by the state Supreme Court in May 2009.
Following are reactions to the ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker:
* The White House:
"The President has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans," the White House said in a statement.
* California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
"For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves," Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued by his office.
"At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity.
"Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people."
* Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California:
"This is an enormous victory for the equal rights of gays and lesbians," Feinstein said in a written statement. "Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling today confirmed what many of us had felt was clear all along: that it is unconstitutional to take away the rights of gays and lesbians to enter into the institution of marriage."
* Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby group:
"(The ruling has) almost left me speechless ... This has now become a national case. Using the courts to inject this radical social policy solves nothing and it only inflames the political passion of people and so I think this is far from over ... That they would find a right to same-sex marriage in the constitution is just absurd."
* Jerry Brown, California's attorney general and a candidate for governor in November:
"In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest," Brown said in a statement.
* Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America
"Judge Walker's decision goes far beyond homosexual 'marriage' to strike at the heart of our representative democracy," Wright said in a prepared statement.
She added: "Marriage is not a political toy. It is too important to treat as a means for already powerful people to gain preferred status or acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman undergirds a stable society and cannot be replaced by any other living arrangement.
"(The) citizens of California voted to uphold marriage because they understood the sacred nature of marriage and that homosexual activists use same-sex 'marriage' as a political juggernaut to indoctrinate young children in schools to reject their parents values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree."
*Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who lives in California and is married to a woman:
"Equality won!," DeGeneres said in a Twitter message.
* John Eastman, former dean of Chapman University Law School who ran unsuccessfully for California attorney general:
"Judge Walker's claim that the definition of marriage, as has been known for centuries, doesn't even pass rational basis review directly (and) conflicts with Justice O'Connor's opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, as well as common sense.
"The equal protection clause requires that we treat similarly situated people similarly, but there is no question that homosexual and heterosexual couples are differently situated with respect to procreation, one of the purposes of marriage."
* Luke Otterstad, a 24-year-old Sacramento man, who was outside the courthouse with his fiance, Nadia Shayka, 22:
The couple, who oppose gay marriage, were wearing T-shirts that read "bride" and "groom."
"I'm very upset. I feel like I don't live in America." (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Dan Levine and Ed Stoddard)
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