Did Barack end gay marriage?
The famous Bette Davis line “Fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy night” pretty much sums up the rollercoaster of emotions felt by the thousands who gathered in San Francisco’s Castro district in anticipation of results on the 2008 election.
There was elation as Barack Obama was proclaimed the first African American elected to the U.S. presidency, followed later in the night by stomach-churning dread as numbers showed Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California, to be winning by a 52% to 48% margin.
Though the liberal San Francisco crowd was overjoyed at the Obama win, there was definitely a pang of regret in the air. Some wondered if the Democrat’s victory came at the cost of marriage equality; as the pundits have noted, Obama brought African-Americans and Hispanics to the polling booth in huge numbers, and these communities have traditionally balked at same-sex marriage. Even the "Yes on 8" people noted that their strong draw among Democrats was thanks in large part to the grassroots efforts in these minority communities. “I’m happy Barack won, but it might have led to the downfall of marriage equality in California,” said San Francisco resident Crit Rowe. “But sometimes you have to lose a finger to save the whole hand.”
And as Castro resident, Michael Weller said, “Everybody expected Arizona and Florida [which both had gay-marriage bans on the ballot] to go down, but this is California. We hoped we’d win this one.”
Brad Dyer, another San Francisco resident was disheartened by the trend so far. “Something is terribly wrong when Californians vote to give chickens [California Prop 2] more rights but take away the rights gays and lesbians already have now.”
But whether there is a “downfall” for same-sex marriage in California is still to be decided. The “No On 8 Campaign,” which has battled to preserve marriage rights for gays and lesbians, released the statement, “We expect that there are more than three million and possibly as many as four million absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted.”
So supporters of marriage equality (not to mention the thousands of same-sex couples who have married legally in the past months) might have a few more bumpy nights ahead of them as the final votes are tallied.
Did you follow the Prop 8 race in California? Are you shocked by the results? Do you think Obama's success cost "No on Prop 8" votes? Let us know!
(Photo: Getty Images)