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Proposition 8 Passes

Along with voters in Arizona and Florida, Californians approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.  In the Golden State, this is more significant as it overturns the state Supreme Court decision mandating state recognition of same-sex marriage.

This is not as bleak as it seems.  We will revisit this matter.  And with young voters (age 18-29) opposing the measure by a margin of 63-37 61-39*, the question of gay marriage is now only one of time.

The ballot language helped keep the margin close.  In bold face, our ballots told us the impact of the proposed constitutional amendment, “eliminates [the] right of same-sex couples to marry.”  Playing on that language, the “No” campaign could have defeated the measure had they focused the campaign on a line they used in their third ad, “Because regardless of how you feel about marriage, it’s wrong to treat people differently under the law.”

That line, I believe, shows respect for those who see gender difference as the defining aspect of this ancient institution.  Too often, in this campaign, opponents of the measure made it appear supporters had malign motives.  To be sure, some did.  But, for others, the great majority perhaps, same-sex marriage represents a significant social change.

I had long ago resolved to vote, “No,” on the measure, but wavered at points during the campaign, largely because of the raft of e-mails I received from friends, acquaintances and others who have my e-mail address demonizing the initiative and its supporters. I know many people, good people who voted “Yes” on 8.  They don’t hate gay people. They just see marriage as a sacred institution between individuals of different sexes.

For a brief moment, I did not want to vote the same way as did those writing those hateful missives. Had it not been for the married same-sex couples I knew, I might have been swayed.

When we look at this narrow defeat, consider the rhetoric and actions of certain advocates of gay marriage, notably the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom. If they caused someone like me to waver, how might they have impacted straight people who lack close gay friends and know no same-sex couples?

With a better campaign, focusing on freedom rather than equality, opponents might have defeated this measure.

There are signs of hope.  Proposition 22 passed in 2000 with 61% of the vote. Eight years later, the percentage fell to 52%. And, as even the proponents of the measure made clear in their campaign, the initiative retains the state’s landmark domestic partnership program.

Gay people can still get married. The state will just no longer sanction their unions as such.

*CNN has tweaked their numbers since I first penned, er pixeled, this post.



  1. This was left on a friend’s MySpace page as his comment…..

    “(Name withheld) welcomes everyone to a NEW America! (Except for a certain 52% of Californians. You’re a #$%&ing bunch of intolerant self-righteous shit heads.)”

    I have no patience for intolerance from either side and if tolerance is expected it must be practiced. This is a difficult issue for alot of people and some will never agree but if any strides are to be made this type of vitriol has got to stop. Protest peacefully, march peacefully, and definitely vote, these are positive ways to make change. But to name call with impunity has got to stop. It’s just embarrassing,sad and wrong and needs to be called out as such.

    I didn’t know what to say but shook my head and deleted him as a “friend”

    Comment by Mark — November 6, 2008 @ 10:12 pm - November 6, 2008

  2. Sean A, so what if the differences are ideological vs. biological? Actually, the reason that gay persons were stripped of privileges, and Mormons (in my example) were stripped of privileges, is because the majority voted to do so.

    NDT, my example was not to be construed that Mormon’s should be denied their freedom of religion. And as you would argue, Mormons are NOT being discriminated against. They would be free to marry nonMormons like everyone else.

    Comment by Pat — November 6, 2008 @ 10:15 pm - November 6, 2008

  3. I noticed this statement on a friends MySpace page:

    (“Name withheld)….welcomes everyone to a NEW America! (Except for a certain 52% of Californians. You’re a #$%&ing bunch of intolerant self-righteous shit heads.)”

    What a shame to read this. Intolerance is not acceptable on either side and if tolerance is expected, tolerance must be practiced. This is a difficult issue for a-lot of people in and out of the Gay community and some people may never agree.

    Protest peacefully, March peacefully discuss in a civil matter and by all means vote, but to resort to this vitriol is beneath common decency and does a gross disservice to the Gay community.

    After shaking my head in sadness, I removed this person as a “friend”

    Comment by Mark — November 6, 2008 @ 11:21 pm - November 6, 2008



    Comment by Mitch — November 7, 2008 @ 3:10 am - November 7, 2008

  5. The gay community in California is upset about the black community’s vote regarding Proposition 8 and have largely blamed that community’s vote for its failure. What I find so disingenuous about the (predominantly) white gay community, is that the moment where they “need” the black community, there’s this effusion of emotion and discussion of “unity”, “healing”, and other words you rarely hear.

    I think this has identified the rarely spoken, but ugly secret within the gay community – it’s probably just as notoriously racist, if not more in some areas, than in the greater white community at-large. I’m sorry, but as much as I disagree with Prop 8, I feel no urgency to support it with the same zeal as others in the white gay community state they need us. It’s an honest statement to say that the road to the greater black community is to start talking to the smaller, but critical gay black community.

    Did you know there are two gay prides in the community? Did you know that communities are very much aligned by ethnicity so when there’s this “call for unity” when it comes to politics, the white majority gay community simply isn’t going to garner the same response from other minority communities until a clear and inclusive dialogue can happen with gay communities of color and gay community at large. Until the greater white community can face it’s racist tendencies, often classified as “inherent preferences” , you’ll never achieve the foot soldiers needed from other communities of color, particularly the black gay community, to talk effectively to the greater black communities regarding issues like Prop 8.

    I’ve continually read that white gay leaders are “shocked” by the black communities response to Prop 8. Well I’m not at all. As with any other political issue, although it might seem there’s a natural proclivity for political alliance. However, those needed to evangelize the political message are still searching for fences to be mended.

    Comment by down2earth210 — November 7, 2008 @ 12:52 pm - November 7, 2008

  6. […] 52% of the state of California voted for proposition 8. There was even support for Proposition 8 among homosexual people. The people spoke loud and clear and the response to this vote is to protest, block traffic, target […]

    Pingback by One man’s voice » Blog Archive » Proposition 8 protests in Southern California — November 10, 2008 @ 3:21 pm - November 10, 2008

  7. They didnt eliminate the rights of people, they chose to protect the rights of people.

    Here it is in a nutshell. Marriage was created as a religous insitution. Government entities began taxing marriage centuries ago and therefore offered marriage certificates. To this day, if you have a religous ceremony, it is by custom that the priest, rabbi, etc. sign the religous document which you then take to the state to get your certificate.

    You can may convince some state authorities to hand out certificates for homosexuals, or polygamists, which was the case in the past, as well as first cousins and girls at the age of twelve. (see Hawaii), but this does not mean you are married.

    In other words, you cannot change the history of the origin of religion, try as you may. Whether it be communion, marriage, baptism, etc.

    You can make up your own, just like a clubhouse or treehouse and create your own officiation. But you cannot change history or the will of God.

    Comment by JoeG — November 16, 2008 @ 4:13 pm - November 16, 2008

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