Voters approve Proposition 8, opposers protest
Published: Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 01:11
The bittersweet mixture of success and loss arising from Tuesday's election will reserve a permanent position in Ellen Seidler's memory for the rest of her life.
Tears of elation for Sen. Barack Obama's victory turned to tears of sorrow at the passage of Proposition 8.
"We marched together to elect (Obama) as president. (Yet,) some of the same people decided to take away my rights," said Seidler, media and communication arts professor at Contra Costa College. "They keep saying it's about the children. I have a 10-year-old daughter. It's about my kid too.
"I am somehow ‘the other,'" she said. "I don't quite know how to explain that to her."
Proposition 8, which adds an amendment to the state constitution specifying "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," was approved with a 52.5 majority, according to information released by the California Secretary of State's Web site Wednesday.
"Yes" on Proposition 8 co-Manager Jeff Flint said the amendment passed because voters reaffirmed the fact that California has a progressive domestic partnership law and wanted to restore marriage to "the way it was before."
"It passed because the voters gave a lot of various consideration to the importance of traditional marriage to society and thought it should remain between a man and a woman," Flint said.
George Riley, a representative of the American River College Student Association that ignited controversy when it endorsed Proposition 8 in September, said he supported the amendment for ideological reasons.
"I support Prop. 8, because I support an ideology of moral values," Riley said. "We should protect the word marriage for its sanctity."
Despite this goal of protecting marriage, some say Prop. 8 strips gays and lesbians of human rights.
Lilia Tamm, director of campus outreach for the "no" on Proposition 8 campaign, said that with more important issues such as war and the economy, banning gay marriage is not only a threat to civil liberties, but a mismanagement of priorities as well.
"We are moving in the right side for tolerance," Tamm said. "This (is) a huge step back."
Seidler said the amendment is not about protecting marriage and was able to pass because there is still a lot of ignorance and hate in the world.
"We've transcended the issue of race in this country. At the same time, we have a lot to deal with in terms of bigotry (toward) gays and lesbians," she said. "We're one of the few groups where it's still acceptable to blame. We're the scapegoat for other peoples' insecurities, for other peoples' anger and insecurities."
Although the proposition may have passed, many are already looking for ways to eliminate its effects.
When voters approved the nearly identical Proposition 22 in 2000, the state Supreme Court eventually deemed it unconstitutional in May of this year, allowing same-sex couples to marry.
Since Proposition 8 is a state constitutional amendment, as opposed to an initiative, different legal actions must be taken to overturn it, such as another amendment or a federal ruling.
Those in favor of legalizing gay marriage, however, will remain steadfast in their quest to achieve their goal, Seidler said.
"Were not going to sit idly back and let this happen. We will eventually prevail," she said.
Contact Alec Surmani at email@example.com.