2 UCSB grad students react to Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage

by Patricia Marroquin, Graduate Division Communications Director
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 4:10 PM

Michael D. Bourgeois recently completed his doctorate in Sociology at UCSB, while Anna Sorensen is currently working on her Ph.D. in Sociology. Credit: George FoulshamTwo UCSB grad students weighed in on U.S. Supreme Court rulings today that were celebrated by gay rights activists in California and elsewhere across the country.

The high court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) strikes down Section 3, which narrowed the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal benefits.

In a separate opinion, the Supreme Court found that backers of California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage did not have the standing to appeal a ruling by a federal district court that struck it down. The Supreme Court’s decision means the lower-court ruling that found the ban unconstitutional will stand.

In a UCSB press release, Michael D. Bourgeois, who earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at UCSB this month, said: “The Supreme Court hasn’t ruled that Prop 8 constitutes a discriminatory practice. It just says the proponents who brought it to the court had no standing to do so.”

“It’s a very federalist decision,” Anna Sorensen, a UCSB graduate student who is working on her Ph.D. in Sociology, said in the press release, referring to Proposition 8. “The Supreme Court gave no inkling that [same-sex marriage] should be a right. It’s strictly a states-rights ruling.”

Both rulings are victories for gay rights, Bourgeois noted. “For the first time in history,” he stated in the release, “same-sex marriages in states where it’s legal must be recognized by the federal government.”

For more information, read the full UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications press release and view the office's video below.