Sorry I wasn’t here to blog through the election returns. I’ve been at a whirlwind of election parties. (The Obama event at the Century Plaza Hotel was a mob scene; Causecast’s event at the Edison downtown was pretty sweet.) But I’ve finally learned what’s going on with Proposition 8.
When I last heard on the radio, the ballot measure to ban gay marriage was leading by about 10 percentage points. That number has fallen—Prop. 8 was leading 52 percent to 48 percent as I go to sleep just before 2—but the “yes” vote is still ahead:
Proposition 8 was the most expensive proposition on any ballot in the nation this year, with more than $74 million spent by both sides.
The measure’s most fervent proponents believed that nothing less than the future of traditional families was at stake, while opponents believed that they were fighting for the fundamental right of gay people to be treated equally under the law.
“This has been a moral battle,” said Ellen Smedley, 34, a member of the Mormon Church and a mother of five who worked on the campaign. “We aren’t trying to change anything that homosexual couples believe or want—it doesn’t change anything that they’re allowed to do already. It’s defining marriage. . . . Marriage is a man and a woman establishing a family unit.”
On the other side were people like John Lewis, 50, and Stuart Gaffney, 46, who were married in June. They were at the San Francisco party holding a little sign in the shape of pink heart that said, “John and Stuart 21 years.” They spent the day campaigning against Proposition 8 with family members across the Bay Area.
“Our relationship, our marriage, after 21 years together has been put up for a popular vote,” Lewis said. “We have done what anyone would do in this situation: stand up for our family.”
The battle was closely watched across the nation because California is considered a harbinger of cultural change and because this is the first time voters have weighed in on gay marriage in a state where it was legal.
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