Gay Marriage

Proposition 8 Aftermath: California Gay Marriage Backers Have Much to Do Before Returning to California Ballot

Image Hosted by
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom shares a hug with Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, amid celebrations of the same-sex marriage ruling Thursday at City Hall

So says Kate Kendell, the executive director of the National Center fopr Lesbian Rights in this interview prior to today’s Vermont legislative veto override which legalized gay marriage there.

If same-sex marriage proponents return to the ballot in 2010 to try to repeal Proposition 8 and lose again, the damage done to the larger LGBT community would be “devastating,” a key No on Prop 8 member told the Bay Area Reporter this week.

In a wide-ranging interview Monday, March 30, Kate Kendell, a member of the No on Prop 8 executive committee, reiterated what she said at February’s San Francisco town hall meeting: she will not take on a leadership role in any future ballot fight. But Kendell, who is executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, was clear that the community must step up on a number of fronts if a second ballot fight is to be waged.

And she suggested, based on what happened during the Prop 8 fight, that 2010 is too early to launch a repeal effort.

This is providing the California Supreme Court does NOT rule that California’s Proposition 8, a California State Constitutional amendment that restored the traditional definition of marriage (one man and one woman) is unconstitutional. Most legal experts expect the California Supremes to uphold Propsoition 8 but allow gay marriages already performed to remain recognized.

Not withstanding today’s Vermont legislative victory for gay marriage, California laws are different as its electorate. It will be difficult for gay marriage proponents to EVER win an election in California, since it does not enjoy majority popular support.

While many new activists have become engaged since the passage of Prop 8, and many new groups have formed, two recent statewide polls show voters are almost exactly where they were on same-sex marriage as during last year’s campaign: about 48 percent support same-sex marriage and 47 percent oppose it. Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said those numbers haven’t changed much since last November.

Proposition 8 passed 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent, a difference of 4.6 percentage points.

Kendell said she would subtract 5 percentage points from supporters of same-sex marriage in the recent surveys.

“People lie,” she said. “We’re at 42 percent or 43 percent. We could claw our way to 48 percent but we never get past 48 percent.”

The question, she said, is “How to get to 50 percent plus one.”

The more likely scenatrio will be a federal constitutional challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the United States Supreme Court declaring such marriages recognizable. On the other hand, the Vermont approval may further resolve gay marriage opponents to proceed with a United States Constituitional amendment, the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA).

In either case, I don’t anticipate gay marriages (except the ones already performed in California) to be recognized in California or by the federal government any time soon.

Technorati Tags:


  • Paul

    It may sound like a cliché, but all the problems with gay marriage and how those against it respond could be solved if we had the attitude of live and let live. We want to impose our limiting beliefs on others, but we should really have a more open mind.

  • Mickey

    I just do not understand this. It goes to vote, goes to court, goes to vote, goes to court, and now going back to vote. Whether anybody agrees or not it seems the voters have spoken and it should be respected, but they are going to beat the voters to death until they get what they want. it may very well backfire though, it might stiffen the backs of the voters and they may knock it down harder.

  • Sarah

    Ah, give it ten years and the younger crowd will grow up old enough to vote. It use to be a much greater majority who discriminated, now it is a far lesser majority. In time it will be the majority who does not discriminate. No need to want to stiffen your backs and knock em down harder. Time has always proven that that particular crowd grows old and dies and a younger crowd less willing to discriminate comes into the voting poles.

    It happened that way as both African-Americans and women got more and more of their rights (even to marry mixed race, which wasn’t recognized), and for those two groups, it still continues. Women still don’t have all of their rights, such as the right to choose their own decisions what they want to do with their bodies. However, in time, that ability to choose will happen, too. For the most part though, both African-Americans and women are now, on the side of the journey where the majority doesn’t discriminate against them, only the minority. Discrimination will never be eliminated, but time helps it swing to the side of the majority not discriminating. Younger generations grew up less “stiff in the backs and willing to knock them down harder”.

    For Mickey, he most likely is right, for now anyway. I have seen so much fear based hate and hypocrisy come out of what I thought were Christians that I quit being one. Couldn’t side with that. Personal experience tells me that Micky is right on the money…. only for now.

    However, time is on the side of the gay community as people learn to let go of the fear/religious based discrimination against them. Younger people grow up who aren’t are rigid take the place of those who are. It is a fact of life, and the cycle continues as each group stands up to be counted. Proof: blacks can now get educated and even become president. Proof: mixed marriages. Proof: women being able to work outside the home without the majority giving them lip. (only a few backwoods husbands who are in the minority on that view now… point being, it went from majority discrimination to minority discrimination)

    All too easy to get caught up in the fight though. Take a deep breath and let Time move along a bit, a newer generation not so rigid in old ways who have their own point of view are always coming up, and then the fight is a less hard one. And then, the fight will be a different topic for that generation which is equally intense to them as this one is to us.

    Outrage and “stiffened backs to nock em down harder” is exhausting. Don’t you think?

    Time sure helps.