Bakersfield reaction mixed to same-sex marriage ruling

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Wednesday was a historic day for the gay and lesbian community. The nation's highest court declined to hear the appeal of Proposition 8, paving the road for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

Supporters of the gay and lesbian community celebrated the victory Wednesday evening at a rally in southwest Bakersfield.

Not everyone in Kern County is celebrating the issue, though. Chad Vegas is the pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Vegas said he is upset by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to return Proposition 8 to California, allowing same sex couples in the state to marry. Voter-approved Prop 8 banned same-sex marriages in 2008 in California.

"I define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman," said Vegas. "A father and a mother coupled together for the bearing and raising of children throughout their lives is essential to a healthy, sustainable society."

Bakersfield native and 1982 Highland High School graduate Kris Perry was in Washington as a plaintiff in the case. She told a different story.

"Today, we go back to California and say to our own children, all four of our boys, your family is just as good as everybody else's family," said Perry. "We love you as much as anybody else's parents love their kids."

Ken Mettler is a spokesman for Prop 8 in Kern County and said he fears the Supreme Court ruling will create a domino effect for rulings on other issues.

"I'm afraid rulings like this will be opening up a Pandora's box. It's not just this issue. It now goes to the age of consent, it goes to multiple parent marriages, polygamy," Mettler said.

Mahdi Kadri is a Kern County native and said those who are against same-sex marriage don't have rational arguments.

"I've heard some of the arguments against (same-sex marriage) that are like, 'Oh well, then where does it stop? Are you gonna be allowed to marry your dog?' Those arguments are all kind of silly," Kadri said.

Whitney Weddell is an advocate for the LGBTQ Community in Kern County and said regardless of others' opinions, she feels the rulings on Prop 8 are a step in the right direction. She said the fight for gay and lesbian rights is not over, but she is particularly excited about the Supreme Court's overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act.

"There's over a thousand rights that you get federally once you say 'I do,' and so gay and lesbian couples will have access to those now that they didn't have before," Weddell said.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday it will wait at least 25 days before allowing same-sex marriages to resume in California, giving Prop 8 proponents time to appeal.