California Bans Gay Marriage, Votes ‘Yes’ on Prop 8

Proposition 8 poll results are in and California has voted to ban same-sex marriage.

In perhaps the highest profile of several ballot initiatives voted on during Tuesday’s historic U.S. election, Proposition 8 has passed and will overturn same-sex marriage rights previously granted to California couples.

Despite a huge publicity campaign to preserve same-sex marriage rights in the state, including $100,000 donations from Hollywood heavyweights such as Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg, celebrity backing from Ellen DeGeneres and NFL legend Steve Young,  corporate support from Google and another $100,000 from Apple to fight Proposition 8, opponents of the initiative were unsuccessful in their bid to strike it down.

Total spending on the initiative — both in support of, and against, it — reached a staggering $74 million, “making it the most expensive social-issues campaign in U.S. history and the most expensive campaign this year outside the race for the White House.” 

NowPublic will be updating this story throughout the day. For more information and live updates to this story please check out NowPublic’s Scan on Proposition 8.

Please let us know your thoughts on this issue by posting your comments below.

In an election otherwise full of liberal triumphs, the gay rights movement suffered a stunning defeat as California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriages that overrides a recent court decision legalizing them.

The constitutional amendment – widely seen as the most momentous of the nation’s 153 ballot measures – will limit marriage to heterosexual couples, the first time such a vote has taken place in a state where gay unions are legal.

Gay-rights activists had a rough election elsewhere as well. Ban-gay-marriage amendments were approved in Arizona and Florida, and Arkansas voters approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. Supporters made clear that gays and lesbians were their main target.

In California, with 95 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday, the ban had 5,125,752 votes, or 52 percent, while there were 4,725,313 votes, or 48 percent, opposed.

Similar bans had prevailed in 27 states before Tuesday’s elections, but none were in California’s situation – with about 18,000 gay couples married since a state Supreme Court ruling in May. The state attorney general, Jerry Brown, has said those marriages will remain valid, although legal challenges are possible.

Same-sex couples in San Diego had rushed to get married before results of the vote on Prop 8 were in, fearing that the legality of their union could be overturned.

Officials have declared that the ban will be enforced immediately.

By late afternoon, officials had performed 27 civil ceremonies at three county offices in the region, including downtown. One official called the figure low for a weekday. Many of the morning weddings at the County Administration Center involved same-sex couples.

Many of the newlyweds speculated that the debate over same-sex marriage would continue, regardless of the outcome over Proposition 8.

They predicted that if the measure failed, opponents of gay marriage would attempt another state ballot initiative in a couple of years. And if it passed, many worried their status as married couples would face a legal challenge. The marriage ban, if approved, will be enforced starting today, officials have said.

Elsewhere in the United States, similar ballot initiatives to limit same-sex marriage rights in marriage and adoption were uniformly approved in Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas.

Out in California, Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to ban all the wonderful, tear-jerking gay marriages that ruined all the straight marriages out there, is narrowly ahead in the polls. With 95% of precincts reporting, the ban is holding up 52% to 48%. 😦 California’s Proposition 5, the one that would mandate lax penalities for all non-violent drug-related crimes, lost 59.8% to 40.2%. The only good news out of California is that Prop 4, the abortion notification initiative, looks to be failing.

Arizona’s Proposition 102, the gay marriage amendment, passed handily. […]

Florida’s terribly worded gay marriage ban passed too! With the necessary 60% and everything! This amendment also fucks over every non-married cohabitatng couple as well, and seems to even outlaw civil unions. Sorry, gays, no hospital visits for you!

Similar great news for bigoted morons in Arkansas, where the measure forbidding gays and ummarried people from adopting or fostering children passed with flying colors.

At this cataclysmic moment in American political history, it is deeply disappointing to note the incredible disparity between the American population’s national decision to elect a socially progressive African-American President — and the divisively conservative decisions being made simultaneously, at a state level, to impede that very potential for significant social progress.

Needless to say, a great many people share in this disappointment.

Heart-breaking news this morning: a terribly close vote has stripped gay couples in California of their right to marry. The geographic balance shows that the inland parts of California voted for the Proposition and the coast and urban areas voted against it.

Yes, it is heart-breaking: it is always hard to be in a tiny minority whose rights and dignity are removed by a majority. It’s a brutal rebuke to the state supreme court, and enshrinement in California’s constitution that gay couples are now second-class citizens and second class human beings. Massively funded by the Mormon church, a religious majority finally managed to put gay people in the back of the bus in the biggest state of the union. The refusal of Schwarzenegger to really oppose the measure and Obama’s luke-warm opposition didn’t help. And cruelly, a very hefty black turnout, as feared, was one of the factors that defeated us, according to the exit poll. Today this is one of the solaces to a hard right and a Republican party that sees gay people as the least real of Americans.

America, you’ve got a long way to go yet.

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