Members of the LGBT community rejoiced in May when the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22, opening the door to same-sex marriages, which began taking place across the state on June 17.
Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, one of the first couples to receive a marriage license after the ruling, married outside the Beverly Hills courthouse amid a throng of supporters, flashing news cameras and a handful of dissenting religious groups holding repent signs, in accordance with their belief that the marriages were sinful.
But the newlyweds, who have been together for 15 years, say that the battle is not over yet.
There is still the highly controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8, the California Protection of Marriage Act, that, if passed, would nullify the California Supreme Courts June decision permitting same-sex marriages and strip members of the LGBT community of their newfound right to marry. Proposition 8 declares that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Same-sex marriage activists cited the need for an organized base to ensure that the initiative fails.
We have to organize as if our life depended on it. ... Its really important, especially for non-gays, to organize. If they can try a constitutional amendment to take away rights where we already have them in the constitution, they can do it for anything, Tyler said, adding that she thought the ballot initiative was pathetic.
Already 1.1 million petition signatures submitted by special-interest groups qualified the Proposition 8 initiative. Funding for the initiative has reportedly reached $2.3 million, according to the Boston Globe.
Supporters of the initiative include conservative special interest groups such as the Family Research Institute, a think tank known for publishing research indicating that gays and lesbians are more likely to be unfit parents.
The institute, which has published research with titles such as Child Molestation and Homosexuality strongly advocates against gay parenting.
Other advocates of Proposition 8 include presidential candidate John McCain, who, according to the Sacramento Bee, has recently endorsed the California Protection of Marriage Act.
I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe that judges should be making these decisions, McCain said in a statement.
Eric Lau, former president of the Asian American Christian Fellowship at UCLA, agrees. He said he felt the court ruling was unconstitutional as it was opposed by a majority of California voters.
I felt that the Supreme Court ruling was not in line with what the Supreme Court is supposed to do. ... California voters overwhelmingly opposed gay marriage, Lau said, adding that the ruling threatens the sanctity of marriage.
The right to marriage is simply not extended to everyone. ... I couldnt marry my sister, for example, because thats not what marriage is intended to be. ... Marriage is about a man and a woman, creating a family, Lau said.
God had a purpose for marriage, and we need to protect that, Lau said.
But Raffi Sarkissian, president of the Student Coalition for Marriage Equality, disagrees.
Its unfortunate that there are a small group of people that have such narrow-minded views towards minorities in general, Sarkissian said. He added that if passed, Proposition 8 would be the first amendment written into the state constitution to take rights away from citizens.
This is the first time that were attmpting to write discrimination into the constitution. ... Thats something to think about, Sarkissian said.