Despite Loss, Prop 8 Opponents Vow to Continue Fight

California voters Tuesday approved Proposition 8 to only recognize marriages between a man and a woman, but opponents of Prop 8 vowed to continue the fight.

In West Hollywood, members of the gay and lesbian community said they were disappointed by the outcome. Rich Johnson accused supporters of using deceptive tactics, but Michael Vogel still believed that someday gays and lesbians would recapture the right to marry.

Two lesbians who previously won the right to marry spoke to reporters in Los Angeles at midday to announce they are filing a lawsuit with the high court in a bid to prevent Proposition 8 from taking hold.

"It really hurts," Robin Tyler said at news conference alongside her partner, Diane Olson, and their attorney, Gloria Allred.

"We need stop seeing this as a cultural right. It's a constitutional right, a civil right," Tyler said.

Allred said if marriage is limited to straight couples and excludes same-sex couples, then it is inconsistent and in conflict with the equal protection clause in the state constitution.

"We hope the California Supreme Court will have the wisdom to decide in favor of Robin and Diane," she said.

About 16,000 gay or lesbian couples have married in California since the state Supreme Court OK'd it in May.

"How would you feel if you woke up this morning and you weren't married to your mate?" Tyler asked.

Another lawsuit, being filed by the ACLU of Southern California, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, also charges that Proposition 8 is invalid, because the initiative process was improperly used to undo the California constitution's commitment to equality, said Jason Howe of Lambda Legal.

Proposition 8 amends the state constitution to say "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." With 95.5 percent of precincts reporting, the measure received 5,163,908, or 52.1 percent of the vote, compared to 4,760,336, or 47.9 percent opposed.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese released a statement saying its passage "was the result of an unprecedented coalition of many faith communities and other citizens who understood the importance of maintaining the bedrock institution of marriage as has been lived out since recorded history," citing "God's plan" as reflected in the book of Genesis.

Election results suggested that the high turnout of voters motivated by a desire to cast ballots for the first biracial candidate to be elected president also was a factor in Proposition 8's strong showing.

Statewide, the Democratic junior senator from Illinois had 61.3 percent of the vote, compared to 37 percent for Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. But the massive pro-Obama vote, regarded as a liberal vote, did not translate into support for Prop 8.

In Los Angeles County, there was an even bigger gap between the number of votes cast for Obama and for Prop 8. Los Angeles County residents supported Obama with 69.33 percent of the vote -- against 28.78 percent for McCain -- but gave Prop 8 only 50.4 percent of the vote, compared to 49.6 percent against.

Prop 8 proponents suggested there could have been confusion on the part of voters as to whether a yes vote meant support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or for gay rights.

But they said opposition to Proposition 8 would be consistent with the social conservatism that is perceived to exist in the black and Latino communities, both of which overwhelmingly supported Obama -- meaning that the proposition may have generated not a Democratic-Republican clash so much as a distinct conservative-liberal divide.

Eight years ago, California voters approved Proposition 22, which specified in state law that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in California. In May, the state Supreme Court ruled in response to Allred's lawsuit that limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

Supporters of Prop 8, including the California Family Council, say same-sex couples can obtain similar benefits under domestic partnership laws. Children who are not reared by a mother and father are also put at a disadvantage, according to Prop 8 supporters.


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