West Hollywood, California (Wednesday, November 5, 2008-) – The successful Barack Obama campaign may show that racial bigotry has been set on its heels nationally, but California showed the world that discrimination is still a vital force.
Californians stripped their fellow gay citizens of a basic right yesterday, the right to marry.
Local leaders of the battle against the consecration if bigotry expressed equal parts dismay and hope, albeit tempered by pragmatism.
With 96 percent of the vote counted as of this writing, 52.1 percent of the state’s voters – over 5 million – had voted to permanently enshrine discrimination against gays and lesbians in the state’s constitution by passing Proposition 8, the measure that stripped gays of the right to marry.
“We thought it would go this way,” Proposition 8 co-chair Frank Schubert told the LA Times on Tuesday night.
“We had 100,000 people on the streets today. We had people in every precinct, if not knocking on doors, then phoning voters in every precinct.
“We canvassed the entire state of California, one on one, asking people face to face how do they feel about this issue,” he said.
While the Yes on 8’s ground game may have been effective, far more so was the advertising campaign.
The entire campaign cost over $73 million dollars – the largest expenditure ever for a statewide ballot proposition – with the Mormon Church funneling tens of millions of dollars into adds filled with lies and deceits.
Equality California (EQCA) scrambled to catch up, raising over $30 million to fight back.
West Hollywood Mayor Jeff Prang told WeHo News this morning that he was disappointed by the vote.
“I’m distraught; it makes it very hard to join the celebration over the Obama and Democratic victories because Californians voted to discriminate against me.”
Even worse, he said, “they’ve taken from us something we had; I feel like a Christian in the coliseum seeing the Emperor’s thumb go down.”
Mayor Prang said, “Here I am, a Mayor of a city, yet I’m still a second class citizen. Even so, we must view this as a temporary setback on our long road to equality, because human rights wins in the end.”
There are roughly 3 million ballots to be counted still, but with such a large deficit to make up – 400,000 votes separate the sides this morning – and the major urban precincts all reporting 100 percent counts, it appears exceedingly unlikely that the No side can catch up.
Prop 8 won in Los Angeles County. With all precincts reporting, Yes showed a 20,000 vote victory.
The initiative was placed on the ballot by the religious right; its primary initial funders is an Arizona religious organization named Alliance Defense Fund.
Done so in response to the conservative-leaning CA Supreme Court’s ruling that to keep one group from enjoying rights shared by all others equaled discrimination, which was, until yesterday, unconstitutional, the measure drew support from across the country.
The 16,000-plus same-sex marriages that have been performed this summer will stand, for now, but
A protest rally has been scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) at 7 pm on San Vicente Blvd between West Hollywood Park and the Pacific Design Center – 647 N. San Vicente Blvd.
San Vicente Blvd, between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue will be closed tonight starting at 6 pm. San Vicente south-bound traffic will be directed to make left or right at Santa Monica Blvd.
Signs have already been posted to help divert traffic.
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Attorney Gloria Allred and her clients, Robin Tyler and Dianne Olson, who won the
right to marry in the California Supreme Court will hold a news conference to announce a new lawsuit against Prop. 8
Ms. Allred will file the new lawsuit today with the California Supreme Court on behalf of the couple. The new lawsuit will contain a new and controversial legal argument as to why Prop. 8 is unconstitutional.