California’s Prop 8 Still in Limbo

The fight for equality in California is not over. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, absentee and provisional ballots have yet to be counted. Additionally, three initiatives are coming before the state’s Supreme Court. Still, two Chron articles sound a depressingly negative tone, as in this piece

Californians appeared poised to overturn a state Supreme Court decision in a historical move that would write a ban on gay marriage into the state Constitution, while other bond measures proposed during a weakening economy were defeated or struggled with a narrow lead.

By Wednesday morning, with 95 of precincts reporting, the measure appeared to be passing with 52 percent support but was too close to call with an untold number of absentee and provisional ballots left to count. A number of other measures among the 12 ballot initiatives were also too close to determine.

The outcome of the same-sex marriage ban dominated the list of ballot initiatives faced by California voters, with proponents saying religious liberty and the building blocks of society were at stake. Opponents called Proposition 8 a civil rights battle, that tested the American ideals of equality and personal freedom.

The second piece, about a San Francisco pro-equality rally, sounds a wee bit more positive:

Carrying signs and candles and unbreakable optimism, several thousand supporters of same-sex marriage gathered outside San Francisco City Hall tonight to buoy spirits and to declare that the fight for equality would continue.

Despite the [apparent] passage of Proposition 8, which alters the state constitution to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, many of those attending the vigil said they were heartened by the vast show of support from the electorate – nearly 5 million people cast ballots opposing the measure.

“We are not sending up a white flag,” said outgoing state Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco). “It’s a tough state, a conservative state, it’s a big mother of a state – and we did brilliantly.”

Chanting “Marriage, equality, U.S.A.,” rally participants said they will not be discouraged – and they will not back down.

But in the wake of a heartfelt [apparent] defeat, it was impossible “not to feel like second class citizens,” said Vandi Linstrot, standing with her spouse, Jami Matanky. The couple married in Oakland on June 17 – they’ve been together 24 years and have raised twin sons.

“California is saying that it is legal to disciminate against gays and lesbians,” said Linstrot, 53, a business analyst. “Marriage is safe now? From what? I don’t know why people feel threatened by us. Many thousands of gays and lesbians have gotten married in the last few months and what happened? Straight marriage continued. There was no great upheaval.”

… Standing at the podium, Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, exhorted the crowd to pay heed to history: gay rights have steadily gained ground.

“It is a shameful day and it is a day the state will live to regret,” she said.

Personally, I am through with crying. This is not over. If this historically racist nation (more on that later) can elect a president with African ancestry, it can get over its need to keep a group of citizens under its boot. Sometimes “the people” are dead wrong, and they are patently so in this case. Whether a majority of bigots — including oppressed people willing to oppress others — accept it or not, we are their equal. The day of acknowledged equality for all is coming — and it will come much sooner than the haters think. For now, let us pray that the courts do what is right, not because it is safe or politic, but because it is the right thing to do.

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