Both sides of gay-marriage debate vow to challenge Prop. 8 vote after a narrow victory.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Campaign workers had barely dented the food heaped on confetti-strewn banquet tables at Congressional candidate Jeff Taylor’s Salinas headquarters, which doubled as a meeting place for supporters of Prop. 8, the Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Their attention was on the presidential race, which had been called for Barack Obama. At 9pm on Election Night, a dozen people in the spacious office clustered in front of the TV to watch the acceptance speech.
“Change is coming to America,” Obama orated.
“It’s comin’ alright,” grumbled a middle-aged man, slumping in his chair.
A bored-looking teenager yanked at the strings of his patriotic balloons. Tom Moreno, whose thick ponytail fell to the waist of his black suit, pressed a cell phone to his ear and complained about the loss of “traditional values.”
Taylor arrived with election tallies showing him far behind incumbent Rep. Sam Farr. His mood was buoyed, however, by news that Prop. 8 was ahead.
A few blocks down Main Street at The Pizza Factory, Prop. 8 opponents chatted over ravaged pie tins and empty beer pitchers. Statewide, at the time, the proposition was passing with 53 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed. In Monterey County, the preliminary results were reversed, with 52 percent voting no.
The No on 8 organizers were proud, at least, of the local opposition. “That’s pretty good for this area,” said Rosa Santa Cruz, a 28-year-old Salinas resident.
The statewide numbers didn’t surprise Laura Young, a bright-eyed mother with short, tousled hair. “Any time you have a majority voting on the rights on a minority group, it’s very hard for the minority to come out on top– especially if it’s an oppressed group,” she said. “I’m upset that it’s even able to be voted on.”
But by Wednesday morning, the measure had apparently passed, winning by 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent with 96 percent of the votes counted, guaranteeing that the fight– on both sides– will go on.
Meanwhile Prop. 1A, authorizing almost $10 billion in bonds to build a bullet train connecting Sacramento to San Diego, was approved with 52 percent of the vote. Sixty-three percent of voters gave thumbs up to Prop. 2, establishing standards for the human treatment of confined farm animals, and 55 percent OK’d Prop. 3, a $980 million bond measure supporting children’s hospitals.
Prop. 4, requiring parental notification before a minor may have an abortion, fell short with 48 percent. Faring even worse were Prop. 5, expanding treatment programs for drug offenders, with 40 percent; and Prop. 6, requiring almost $1 billion per year in state funding for law enforcement, with 30 percent.
Only 35 percent of California voters sprang for Prop. 7, requiring electric utilities to generate half their power from renewable sources by 2050. The state’s most powerful environmental groups opposed the measure, calling it poorly written and likely to stall progress toward clean energy.
Prop. 9, tightening parole standards and expanding victims’ rights, was passing with 53 percent approval. But Prop. 10, authorizing $5 billion in bonds for refunds to buyers of vehicles that run on natural gas and other “clean” fuels, had only 40 percent support. The eco-lobby rejected the proposition, characterizing it as a get-rich-quick scheme for its billionaire author.
Prop. 11, which re-assigns redistricting authority to a bipartisan commission of voters, was squeaking by with 51 percent approval. But Prop. 12, a $900 million bond act providing home and farm loans to veterans, got a hearty 64 percent.