Will Newsom's Howard Dean Moment Be Downfall of Gay Marriage?

"Whether you like it or not" comment now infamous

By Lisa Bernard and John Boitnott
|  Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008  |  Updated 4:51 AM PDT
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Gavin Newsom Pushing Hard Against Prop. 8

AP

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference at City Hall in San Francisco.

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Gavin Newsom Pushing Hard Against Prop. 8

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is appearing on radio shows, speaking at college campuses and using social media Web sites to get his message out about gay marriage ahead of the election.
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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has been one of Proposition 8's most vocal supporters, has attracted notoriety and some criticism, for doing something that many believe has hurt gay marriage's chances of existing past November.

"It was Howard Dean-esque and they used it and it was effective," Newsom said.

Newsom referred to his jubilant remarks at San Francisco City Hall earlier this year, just after the California Supreme Court ruled gay marriage to be legal.

The speech has become famous for one of Newsom's lines, which has been used in commercials for those against gay marriage.

"This door's wide open now," he said. "It's going to happen, whether you like it or not."

Newsom said he was actually quoting Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement.

"People didn't like it when we overturned laws against interracial marriage," he said. "70 percent opposed it. King said in his speech, 'Whether you like it or not that Supreme Court stood upon a principal, and we look back on that with pride.'"

But the Yes on 8 campaign argues same-sex marriage is not the same as interracial marriage.

Bill May of the campaign disputes that the passage of 8 would be a setback for same-sex couples.

"Same sex couples already have all the rights and benefits of marriage under the domestic partners laws," May said. "They are not losing any rights."

"Civil unions are not marriage," Newsom argues. "Marriage is marriage. I didn't ask my wife to civil union me. I asked her to marry me."

Newsom said he feels a sense of urgency as the race rapidly comes to a close.

He said he is going on radio shows, speaking at college campuses and at Google to urge a no vote on Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage.

"(I am) on radio, T.V., two to three shows a day -- I did two this morning," Newsom said. "(I've been) talking to the Latino community, African American outreach, I'm talking to a Chinese paper editorial board later this week."

Newsom said he is holding a fundraiser at his house, going on Myspace, Facebook and Youtube, all in an effort to make sure same-sex couples can still get married after the election.

Meanwhile, officials at San Francisco City Hall continue to marry people daily.

"It actually is something that has already been legally afforded and it's going to be stripped away," Newsom said.

Proposition 8 is stirring up more than emotions. It's also stirring up loads of cash.

Campaign finance records show total contributions of more than $60 million, coming from more than 64,000 people in all 50 states and 20 foreign countries.

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