Same-sex marriage (SSM) & domestic partnerships in California
Events culminating in the
Prop. 8 vote on 2008-NOV-04
Thomas Jefferson said: "The rights of minorities do not depend
upon the goodwill of the majority and cannot be eliminated by majority vote. The
rights of minorities are protected because democratic laws and institutions
protect the rights of all citizens."
It turns out that he was wrong, at least for California.
Public utility takes pro-equality side:
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), a public utility that supplies
gas and electrical power to most of central and northern California, has
announced that they will support marriage equality by donating $250,000 to the
"No on 8" campaign and join with Equality California to create a business
advisory council to encourage businesses in California to help defeat the ballot
Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and
Families -- a group that opposes marriage equality -- said that the
"... power -- gas and electricity. They should not be
taking positions against ballot measures. That's like a quasi-government agency
taking positions against ballot measures, which is illegal. ... It's time for
businesses to take a stand. It's either yes or no for natural marriage. The
voters need to take a stand -- yes or no for Proposition 8. And businesses, he
adds, need to take a stand -- with their dollars -- for the amendment."
One News Now -- a conservative information source -- included in its report:
"He adds that the money contribution would also seem to make PG&E, which
services a large part of central and northern California, 'the homosexual
marriage utility'." 1
Curiously, they did not place quotation marks around the word "marriage" as
has been their custom in the past when referring to same-sex marriage. They have
quotation marks to indicate that they did not consider same-sex marriage to be a
real form of marriage. 1
Episcopal Church bishops oppose Proposition 8:
The bishops from all six Anglican dioceses are recommending that voters
defeat the referendum. Nine bishops issued a joint statement on 2008-SEP-10
"We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is
threatened by same-sex marriage. Rather, the Christian values of monogamy,
commitment, love, mutual respect ... are enhanced for all by providing this
right to gay and straight alike."
Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, said the California bishops: "... believe
that continued access to civil marriage for all, regardless of sexual
orientation ... promotes Jesus' ethic of love, giving and hope."
Other religious leaders, including those from Catholic, evangelical, Hindu
and Muslim faith groups are promoting the referendum. 2
Massive funding poured into Prop 8:
The LA Times reported that very substantial sums have been poured
into both sides of the Proposition 8 battle, and that the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the
is particularly active in the attempt to ban marriage equality:
"... [All] supporters have poured $19,778,208 to outlaw same-sex marriage,
about $1.6 million more than opponents of the measure. Add the two sides
together and that's about $38 million. Imagine the good it could be
doing elsewhere. ... Mormons have been active participants in the
campaign both as volunteers and financial contributors, giving an
estimated 43 percent — some $8.4 million — to the Proposition 8
campaign, according to the Web site mormonsfor8.com. There are about
770,000 Mormon church members in California, but Mormons from outside
the state have been encouraged to give money and time to help pass the
Subsequently, the Family Research Council estimated that the Mormon
Church donated $22 million in support of Prop. 8. They credit this money
as ultimately tipping "... the scales in the amendment's favor." 9
MaxBlumenthal of The Daily Beast reported that other major
contributors supporting Prop. 8 were:
The Knights of Columbus, a conservative Roman Catholic
Elsa Broekhuizen, the widow of Christian backer Edgard Prince and the
mother of Erik Prince, founder of the controversial mercenary firm,
Howard F. Ahmanson, a reclusive heir to a banking fortune, and supporter
of such conservative Christian programs teaching Intelligent Design in the
public schools , and rolling back affirmative action in California. 10
According to Achievement_gap's Weblog, there were at least ten
donors who gave $500,000 or more to fight Prop. 8:
Ron Burkle raised $3.9 million from a fund-raiser at his home.
California Teacher's Association: $1,312,998.
Bruce Bastian, (WordPerfect software), $1,000,000
Robert W. Wilson, $1,200,000
David Bohnett, lawyer, $1,100,000
David Maltz, $1,000,000
John Stryker, $1,000,000
Fred Eychaner, $675,000
WIlliamson Capital, LP, $570,000
Stephen Bing: $500,000 11
Vote No on Prop 8 website offered free cell phone ring message:
a website that allows anyone to convert their cell phone ring tone into a verbal
message that promotes the defeat of Prop 8, and the retention of marriage
equality for all loving, committed couples. They comment:
"This is a great idea - simple yet effective and keep in mind that
it is incumbent upon each of us to do absolutely everything in our power to pull
this off. We each need to bring passion, inspiration, originality and boldness
to the table in order to ensure victory. Please do your part by voting NO on
Prop 8 and by downloading the message to your cellfone now. Have all of your
friends & family members come to the site and download this message and vote NO
on Prop 8!"
On 2008-OCT-20, Ellen Degeneres asked Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), Democratic candidate
for vice-president, about his position on Prop. 8. First, he congratulated her on
her recent marriage to Portia de Rossi. After the audience applause settled
down, he said:
"If I lived in California, I'd clearly vote against Prop 8. Barack [Obama} and I
both opposed a similar attempt nationally. There was an attempt to talk about a
[federal] constitutional amendment which I think is regressive; I think it is unfair."
Prop 8 campaign distributes misleading flier:
The vote yes campaign admitted that it had lied about Senator Barak Obama's
and Joe Biden's position on same-sex marriage in a pamphlet that it had
distributed to African-American voters. The flyer incorrectly stated that
Senator Obama urged voters to vote yes on Prop 8 and thus defeat marriage
In response, the NO on 8 Campaign launched a TV ad blitz in the state on
2008-NOV-01. It states that:
Sen. Obama has called Prop 8 "divisive and discriminatory,"
Gov. Schwarzenegger has said "it should never happen,"
Sen. Feinstein closes by telling voters: "No matter how you feel
about marriage, vote against discrimination, and Vote NO on 8."
Meanwhile, on OCT-30. Obama campaign released a statement on OCT-31 that
stated, in part:
"The Obama-Biden ticket opposes Proposition 8 and similar discriminatory
constitutional amendments that could roll back the civil rights he and Sen.
Biden strongly believe should be afforded to all Americans." 4
Patrick Guerriero, NO On Prop 8 Campaign Manager, said:
"This incredible cross-section of support comes at the same time that Prop
8 continues to spin a campaign of lies and distortions. Proposition 8 is wrong, and targeting certain
communities with lies is wrong. Voters get it, and that’s why Prop 8 will fail
on Tuesday." 4
The No on 8 campaign produced a TV commercial that is wildly misleading if
interpreted literally. It shows some Mormon missionaries invading the home of a
lesbian couple, stealing their wedding rings, and tearing up their marriage
Barak Obama comments on MTV:
Senator Obama was asked about Prop 8 during an MTV interview aired on
2008-NOV-3. He responded:
"I think it's unnecessary."
"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay
marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit
somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that's not what
America's about." 5
On other occasions, Senator Obama has indicated his support for civil unions
for same-sex couples with rights and obligations equal to those of marriage....
without the word "marriage."
If a little over 2% of those supporting Prop 8 had opposed it, the measure
would have failed.
Meanwhile, state constitutional SSM bans won in Arizona and
Florida. 7 An Arkansas measure that
prevents unmarried couples from adopting children or being foster parents
also passed. Promoters of the initiative admit that their measure mainly targets same-sex couples.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.