Sunday, October 26, 2008

That other big American vote on November 4th...

With the U.S. presidential election taking most of the attention south of the border (as well as the numerous fights for seats in Congress and state legislatures), most LGBT citizens haven't forgotten about the cliffhanger of a referendum in California.

While Obama's lead nationally looks solid, the fight for equal marriage in California looks anything but certain. After California's Supreme Court ruled earlier this year to allow same sex marriages, opponents doubled their efforts to get the issue on the ballot on Nov 4th, this time promising to enshrine a ban against equality in California's constitution.

At first, polls showed Proposition 8 trailing in voter support as good news stories of happy gay couples getting hitched made headlines. But in recent weeks, anti-gay opponents closed the gap in voter support, at one point taking the lead in a couple of opinion polls after they ran a slew of misleading ads alleging that same sex marriage in California would force schools to teach homosexuality and cause churches to lose their tax exemption. These developments undoubtedly lit a fire under the pro-equality side, jarring them out of their complacency with the prospect that their right to marry could literally be taken away.

Money has recently poured into the pro-equality side. Ellen DeGeneres, who recently married her longtime partner Portia Di Rossi thanks to the court ruling, generously donated $100,000 to the cause. Three cast members from the popular 'Ugly Betty' TV show have launched a Spanish-language ad urging California Latinos to vote against Proposition 8.

Apple Computers also donated handsomely to the pro-equality side, which reinforces my own joy in having finally bought a Macbook last year. Businesses that have come out in favour of equality will no doubt face the wrath of the bigots pushing for entrenched discrimination, but I have a feeling those who support equality will continue to reward such companies and more than make up for any potential losses.

The big push against Proposition 8 in the last couple weeks seems to have tipped the race back toward the good side. The pro-equality side now has an eight-point advantage in the latest poll. Of course the situation is fluid, so no doubt the final result will remain hard to predict.

Check out the No on Prop 8 website here and consider making a donation to the cause of equality under the law south of the border.

On November 4th, I'll be up late watching the California results closely long after (hopefully) Mr. Obama is declared the new president.

3 comments:

Joseph said...

Good Post. Thanks for keeping folks informed about this very important race. In addition to the very real impact on gays and lesbians in the US, this proposition will have a big impact culturally on the US - one way or the other.

Nearly 1 out of ever 5 US citizens live in California so it would be huge if same-sex marriage became legal there.

The other race I'm watching is the amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida (where it isn't even remotely legal due to statutes at this point, with NO recognition of same-sex couples at all).

However, that isn't enough for some folks who want to banish the relationships forever by enshrining it in their constitution.

With a 50% vote requirement, it would probably be a lost cause in Florida. However, there the threshold for passing an amendment is 60%. As it is, the vote will probably be very close. Most recent polls show greater than 55% supporting the amendment, and these type of issues in the US have historically tended to poll a bit lower than the final votes.

Here is praying for a positive outcome for homosexuals in both races.

Miles Lunn said...

I think the big thing here is how high will voter turnout be. The types who oppose gay marriage tend to be more likely to show up at the polls regretably than those who don't. In addition, California is considered a safe Democrat state so Democrats may not be as motivated to show up as they would be in a swing state. Still Arizona rejected a similiar amendment and it is a far more conservative state than California, so it may very well fail, lets hope at least.

WesternGrit said...

To think that a modern nation finds it's collective mindset so far back in the Middle Ages is just pathetic.

Good job bringing up this crucial topic.

... And viva la Mac!