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LGBT Community Decries California's Proposition 8

This story was written by Traci Kasperbauer, Iowa State Daily

A state constitutional amendment in California has taken effect, banning same-sex marriage.

Proposition 8, as it is titled, was listed on the General Election ballot Tuesday night and won by only a few percentage points. As of 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, the proposition was supported by 5,387,939 and opposed by 4,883,460 California voters.

As many as 3 million absentee and provisional ballots have still not been counted. Results of the vote-by-mail ballots will not be officially completed until 28 days after Election Day Dec. 2. So far, 52.5 percent of voters supported the amendment and 47.5 percent opposed it.

I hope that every effort is exhausted to find a way to invalidate this or recount it so that they know for sure if it actually passed or not, said Zach Ford, graduate student in educational leadership and policy studies and spokesperson for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender student services advisory board. It just seems to be an awful, awful precedent for our country and Im quite ashamed that something like that could pass.

The amendment overturned the California Supreme Courts ruling in June that made a previous ban, in 2000, illegal.

Supporters of the amendment and multiple news sources have already called the results a victory, but opponents are less sure. With only a little more than 95 percent of the votes counted, opponents of Proposition 8 are still hoping to close the gap.

Alissa Stoehr, Iowa State Universiter graduate in interdisciplinary studies and graduate advisor for the LGBTAA, said with such a slim margin of victory Proposition 8 will not pass without resistance.

I do feel that its going to make [the opponents of the amendment] feel more inspired to do more activism around it, Stoehr said. I do see this going to the Supreme Court.

In this election, same-sex marriage bans were also passed by larger margins in Florida and Arizona. Florida voters approved the state ban with 62 percent of the vote.

Proposition 102, which banned gay marriage in Arizona, passed with 56 percent of the vote. Just two years ago, Arizona rejected the very same ban.

Even though there are other same-sex marriage bans being voted on in Florida and Arizona and there have been many in the past this one was different because it was a vote to take a right away instead of a preventative measure, Ford said.

A new ban on same-sex adoptions also passed in Arkansas. The ban, which passed with 57 percent approval, prevents unmarried, co-habitating couples from becoming adoptive or foster parents.

Gay marriage is not recognized in the state of Arkansas. The mission of the Arkansas Family Council, which sponsored the ban, is to promote, protect and strengthen traditional family values.

Three lawsuits have been filed against the passage of Proposition Eight. The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have all asked the California Supreme Court to overturn the proposition, and two of them have asked that Proposition Eight not be allowed to take effect while legal cases are still pending.

Thousands of disappointed demonstrators rallied against the amendment in California on Wednesday night.

The peaceful protests were held in West Hollywood and outside CNNs Los Angeles bureau on Sunset Boulevard. Protests continued throughout the day Thursday.

The LGBT community in California has now been relegated to a second class citizen status, Ford said. There was a right that they had and many were exercising that has now been stripped away from them.

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