Proposition 8 Aftermath: California Gay Marriage Backers Have Much to Do Before Returning to California BallotPosted by Flap in Gay Marriage
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
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.
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