Prop 8 Likely to Pass

I haven’t found a news organization that’s called Prop 8 yet, and CNN’s exit polling showed it failing 48%-52%, but my county-by-county analysis of the remaining vote indicates that it will likely pass. With 93.6% of precincts reporting state wide, Prop 8 is leading by 406,519 votes (4.1%), and almost all of the precincts yet to be tallied are in counties that have favored Prop 8 by good margins.

According to data available from CNN and the office of California’s Secretary of State, there are uncounted ballots in only ten of California’s 58 counties:

Imperial (96% reporting)
Votes counted: 22,653
Yes: 70%
No: 30%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +376

Kings (95% reporting)
Votes counted: 31,915
Yes: 74%
No: 26%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +800

Monterey (65% reporting)
Votes counted: 72,382
Yes: 49%
No: 51%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: -1130

Riverside (69% reporting)
Votes counted: 240,055
Yes: 63%
No: 37%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +28,412

San Benito (95% reporting)
Votes counted: 7,487
Yes: 55%
No: 45%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +137

San Bernadino (54% reporting)
Votes counted: 332,518
Yes: 68%
No: 32%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +99,614

San Diego (93% reporting)
Votes counted: 899,326
Yes: 54%
No: 46%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +5,360

Santa Clara (78% reporting)
Votes counted: 438,899
Yes: 45%
No: 55%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: -13,427

Tulare (98% reporting)
Votes counted: 78,297
Yes: 75%
No: 25%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +910

Yolo (83% reporting)
Votes counted: 58,716
Yes: 59%
No: 41%
Projected effect of oustanding precincts: +2,073

According to this model, the uncounted ballots should break in favor of Prop 8 in each county save Monterey and Santa Clara, securing another 100,000 votes and passing by 52%-48%.

Note: All percentages rounded. The “projected effect” presumes that each county’s uncounted precincts are the same average size as those already counted.

[posted 9:19 EST]
[updated 9:52 EST]

163 comments for “Prop 8 Likely to Pass

  1. According to the SF Gate (affiliated with the San Jose Mercury News, and San Francisco Chronicle) with 92% of precincts reporting the Yes is ahead by over 400,000 votes. I suspect that is an insurmountable lead.

  2. I’m embarrassed for all Mormons over the success of Proposition 8. I’m seriously rethinking my membership in such an organization.

  3. D.,
    It would be a sad day for all of us who know you if you rethought your membership because of this; that would (IMHO) be the most tragic result of the Church’s involvement. Which is to say, please don’t go.

  4. Matt:

    Just a question: are the estimates of the unreported votes (and the yes/no split) simply your extrapolations from the reported votes for those counties? So, for example, for San Bernardino County, you divide the 332,518 counted votes by .54 to obtain an estimate for the total expected votes for the county, and then multiply that by .68 to obtain an estimate of the total Yes votes?

  5. I am proud for all Mormons over the success of Proposition 8. From what I understand, many people rallied behind a Prophet of God who gave specific counsel, even individual counsel at times, to support this Proposition. Though it was clearly not a “Mormon” Proposition, Mormons helped to galvanize support for something that did not seem likely in the past. I am reluctant to say that this will do much to stem the tide of efforts impinging on the traditional family established by God. But I am hopeful.

    Congratulations to all those that gave much, endured much, and fought for the family. The fight is certainly not over, and state laws are certainly not the end all be all–but way to go. A wonderful victory.

  6. But LDS members coughed up more than $20,000,000 at the behest of their leaders, our leaders, to support Proposition 8, the first and only state constitutional amendment which dissolved previously legalized marriages. Uggh, it’s awful. I’m very excited by Obama, but this is a bittersweet day for me, since I feel I can longer with any assurance feel our prophet is indeed led by the hand of God.

  7. the first and only state constitutional amendment which dissolved previously legalized marriages

    Whether Prop 8 can actually do this is up for debate. The gods at Wikipedia, at least, seem to think not.

  8. You can’t have an organization give 4 out of 5 dollars towards the opposition then say, “Hey! We had nothing to do with it!” Nice try.

    If you’re talking about the Church … well, it was the members, not the Church.

  9. Thanks for your kind words Sam. I will miss my wonderful friends at Church, and on these blogs.

  10. No doubt a lawsuit is on its way that will challenge the wisdom of adding words to the state constitution that now put it at odds with itself.

  11. My sentiments are similar to D.’s right now. While I disagree with the Church’s stand on Prop 8 I would not have had any problem if it simply issued a statement along the lines of “We, the leadership of the COJCLDS, support the passage of Proposition 8…” and left it at that. It is the stridency and zeal that the Church demonstrated in fighting to deny the civil rights of a group that I have a problem with.

  12. Tony,

    I think it is safe to say that the only way this would have passed is if the Church did what it did. The margin was tight enough that anything less would have caused Prop 8 to lose. I guess you would have preferred that the Prop lost, but to me, it just points out that the Church leaders rightly judged that if they were going to see this thing passed it was going to take an all out effort on their part and the part of many of their members. In that sense, we can all agree that they were prophetic.

  13. I\’m a long-time lurker commenting for the first time to express my disappointment. I am expecting my first child and went to bed grateful that my child will be born in a time where the U.S. elected their first African-American president, a man who inspires hope and who I believe will make the U.S. a better place. I woke up this morning disappointed that my child will be born in a country where we give people rights, like to right for same-sex marriage, and then take it away. I\’m disappointed our church was so involved in this happening, and can\’t help but agree with Jon Stewart when he notes the hypocrisy of the LDS church being involved in this when not too long ago, our church was persecuted for who and how they wanted to marry.

  14. Update: with 95.4% of precincts reporting state-wide and all votes in Santa Clara county counted, Prop 8 leads by 403,572 votes (52.1% to 47.9%).

  15. While needless to say I am disappointed, I am hardly surprised. It sure looks like it has passed 52-to-48, although it may tighten up a bit by the end of the count. In the 50 year struggle for gay rights, it’s hardly the worst loss. If people here think that it settles the issue even in CA, please allow me to politely burst your bubble. It’s by no means clear the CA Surpreme Court will even allow its implementation, reasoning that the state constitution now contradicts itself. We may even up with no civil marriages in CA for anybody now, just domestic partnerships for all. So stay tuned. Charge your laptop; we’ve got LOTS more blogging to do over this.

    That said, I would just like to say congratulations to those here who fought to pass Prop 8. I respect your zeal even as I disagree with your views. Yours was an incredibly well-run campaign, and I was impressed by how many involved stressed their love and tolerance for gay couples. That really did come through again and again.

  16. So it seems to be the time to start healing the wounds, right?

    I have seen stats that say 2% of Californians are Mormons. With some of them actively campaigning against Prop 8, you can hardly say that the Church leaders’ counsel to help it pass was a decisive factor. Most Mormons who supported it most likely would have voted yes without specific counsel.

    In Florida and Arizona similar definitions passed by 62 and 59 per cent respectively. Mormons were hardly decisive there, either.

    Seems that most Americans still hesitate to let marriage be redefined. But the pressure to do so will increase, not decrease. I would suggest that the word “marriage” be defined at federal level to be reserved exclusively for religious purposes and let the churches decide what kinds of marriages they want to recognize (the idea is not mine originally, I know…). That wouldn’t stop activists from pressuring LDS Church to recognize SSM, but at least that would not be a political issue. Now it is too easy to politicize by couching it into civil rights rhetoric.

    But above all, the wounds should be allowed to heal now.

  17. Doesn\’t Obama favor repealing DOMA, and wouldn\’t that undo the effect of the state constitutional amendments?

  18. “monkeying around with constitutions” (comment 21)

    I imagine that it’s all well and good to amend the state or federal constitution (see amendments 1-10 to the federal constitution also known as the Bill of Rights which I don’t imagine you would place under the designation of “monkeying around”) until you disagree with an attempt at amending said constitution. Then, and only then, the public majority is “monkeying around” with the government.

  19. Very good news. I hope the lead holds and the proposition passes – IMO, this was almost as important as the national presidential election.

  20. What surprised me is that in the space of 8 years since Prop 22, opponents of gay marriage lost about 10% of support. What will happen in CA in the next decade as that tenuous majority continues to shrink?

  21. I woke up this morning disappointed that my child will be born in a country where we give people rights, like to right for same-sex marriage, and then take it away.

    What you mean “we”, Kimosabe?

    It’s all the fault of those dang liberal, activist, Republican-appointed Supreme Court judges, doncha know?

    Oops, I left out “evil”. They’re evil, too. But I’m sure that the evilest among them are, at this very moment, laughing their “evil, activist judge” laughs, and plotting how to invalidate this vote. Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaah!

  22. Prop 8 isn’t the worst thing that ever happened. But the zealousness with which the Church leaders encouraged members and non-members alike to support it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

    If there were no Proclamation on the Family, and no Prop 8s, no referendums on ballots, no one would care who married whom. It is a non-issue to most people, including many gay people.

    But religious zealots have made it an issue, and then they have to be refuted by gay activists, and then our Church leaders get clandestinely involved, and our members have to give money, big money, to something they don’t really care about.

    Yes, I believe if *nothing* were ever done, no one would care whether gay people married or not. And certainly not God.

  23. “the hypocrisy of the LDS church being involved in this when not too long ago, our church was persecuted for who and how they wanted to marry. ”

    I don’t see the logic there, but I believe someone already wrote a lengthy post (on T&S?) on why that argument is flawed.

  24. To anyone thinking of leaving the Church over this issue, take a cue from this story in the Gospel of John:

    After some particularly difficult and troubling teachings from Jesus, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (6:66–68.)

    Regardless of any differences you may have with the Brethren on political issues, ultimately they hold the keys of the priesthood ordinances that bring eternal life. Consider this a trial of your faith, and be true to the restored gospel.

  25. I think the most interesting figure is that white and Hispanic voters opposed the measure, and that it passed only because African-American voters supported it by 2-1. Has the Church finally figured out how to reach African-Americans in large numbers? :-)

  26. But there is a Proclomation on the family.

    Look, I voted for Obama and hope he does a great job. But one either believes in a prophet or doesn’t. And I think there are watershed moments in that belief.

    That is not to say that we should be intolerant or lack love for anyone with any views. But standing up for what we believe is okay, and important.

  27. Wounds healing? I don’t think you’ve really seen just how much ill will the mormon church has gained in this. As a Californian involved in politics I can tell you mormons will have a difficult time of things with the younger generation as they view the church’s involvement as an intrusion on their state’s rights. Even amongst non-mormon proponents of prop 8 I heard mutterings about how they wished the mormons would butt out. For better or worse the Mormon face is the face that will be remembered as passing prop 8 and when 48% of the people voting are against it and over 60% of the younger generations, I’m guessing the church might’ve won this, but the ill will gained is not a wound that will heal, especially when it’s a family issue, as a non-mormon parent tearfully told me last night, “Now my daughter has to be seperate but equal.” and she will tie that injustice to the mormons.

  28. What’s this theory about a “constitution at odds with itself”? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Has it been advanced by lawyers?

    Given that the words added to the state constitution by Prop 8 were already determined to be unconstitutional when the exact same words were initially enacted as Prop 22 in the family law statutes, I’m not sure that grafting them onto the constitution will suddenly turn those words into something that the CA Supreme Court immediately recognizes as something that doesn’t really conflict with the equal protection clause of the constitution after all.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

  29. Mark,

    “Given that the words added to the state constitution by Prop 8 were already determined to be unconstitutional when the exact same words were initially enacted as Prop 22”

    That’s because those words weren’t in the constitution before, now they are. How can the constitution itself be unconstitutional? If we’re going to play that game then we might as well just declare judges to be King and get it over with.

  30. TT,

    The last time was during a primary, where I think the Republican race was a little bit more active than the Democratic one by the time CA voted. So some of the shift comes from the change in the voting population, rather than a change in sentiment.

  31. You can’t have an organization give 4 out of 5 dollars towards the opposition then say, “Hey! We had nothing to do with it!” Nice try.

  32. That is great work, Matt. Thanks for the update.


    “I’m seriously rethinking my membership in such an organization. ”

    Abraham probably had the same thought walking up the mountain. But he stuck it out and God made it all work out in the end.

  33. MikeinWeHo,

    I find the constitutional conflict argument interesting. Speaking of the US constitution, is Prohibition illegal since the repealing amendment conflicts with the establishing amendment? Is women voting illegal since the establishing amendment conflicts with the original document? What is the purpose of an amendment that doesn’t conflict with the original? Isn’t the purpose of an amendment to amend?

  34. Mark B., yes, that’s how I did it, but with the more granular data from the state website.

    D and Ronito, I don’t deny that the church played a big role, only showing that most Americans still don’t want gay marriage; even Barack Obama doesn’t want gay marriage.

  35. “Right, Frank. The sentiment is even weaker than Prop 22 made it appear.”

    TT, but it has not changed as much as in the last 8 years as the difference between the results makes it appear. Thus, the chances of a quick reversal of the popular vote in a future Prop are not as good as the Prop 22 result would make you think.

  36. It does make sense that an amendment conflicts with the original document, as the Bill of Rights does with the national Constitution. The difference here is where the amendments to the national constitution grant rights by conflict with the original language, the amendment in Prop 8 takes rights away. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  37. Re: #34, and interesting question is whether Obama’s coattails did as much as the Church to pass 8.

    As one who is neither cold nor hot on 8, I cannot feel any excitement over its passage. The pain it has caused and will continue to cause is palpable, in an outside the Church, even to distant observers. I sincerely respect everyone who followed their conscience and voted as they felt they should, but there is so much pain here that it is hard to be happy about the outcome. Even if it is the right outcome (which I am not conceding – – I am lukewarm, remember?)

  38. I’ll go where you want me to go dear Lord, and say what you want me to say, but don’t ask me to support Prop 8.

  39. California is weird. Is there anything preventing a ballot initiative in the next election to repeal the marriage amendment? It seems like this could go back and forth over the next several years. How annoying.

  40. dear Prop8 supporters:

    your victory yesterday was pyrrhic. whether it be in another 4 years or another 8 marriage equality *is* coming to CA and within a generation to the entire nation. you have succeeded in denying rights to your gay brothers and sisters for a time, but at what cost? you’ve stirred discontent and doubt amongst your own membership. you’ve cemented the church’s reputation as a reliable force for inequality. you’ve lowered yourself in a campaign based primarily on fear and distortion rather than upon your positive religious ideals. and finally you’ve seen one of your apostles – and due to his age a likely future leader of the church – debase himself by speading the pernicious lie that if civil gay marriage stands the church could be “sanctioned” for merely preaching its beliefs.

    enjoy your day, it’s all you have.

  41. I’m grateful that Prop 8 passed, not only for our church, but for future generations. I compare it to the no-fault divorce laws that started becoming common 30 years ago. At the time, the common argument was that divorce didn’t hurt children as much as having unhappy parents in a conflict-ridden home. Now current research states that that argument just isn’t true. Children are self-centered and really don’t care how happy their parents are. They do best with two parents in the same home, unless the parents’ relationship is truly deviant.

    So now that we know this, it is difficult to do anything about it because no-fault divorce is entrenched in the law and the culture. The time to fight would have been 30 years ago.

    I think that, even though the harm of same-sex marriage is difficult to see now, we would have started seeing harm evident in the next generation. And by then it would have been too late to do anything about it. This is why we have a prophet. He is like the watchman on the tower, able to see danger when it is still far away. If we listen even though we can’t see what he sees, we can gain the benefit of that foresight.

  42. We may even up with no civil marriages in CA for anybody now, just domestic partnerships for all.

    Which, in my view, would be the ideal situation. I strongly feel that the state should not be involved in the least in what is a religious rite.

  43. Be careful on your projections – both Riverside (Palm Springs) and San Diego have huge SSM populations. Maybe its their precincts that are not counted?

    Matt – what is more interesting is the demographic breakdown of the exit polls (which happened to also show Prop 8 losing). (This is off the top of my head.)

    People who attend church weekly – 85% yes / 15% no
    People who church twice a year – 60% no / 40% yes
    People who don’t goto church – 85% yes / 15% no

    Older people – 52% yes / 48% no
    young people (first time voters) – 65% no / 35% yes

    College Grads – 52% no / 48% yes
    Non-College – 55% yes / 45% no

    However – since there are already 20,000 SSM done in California this year – get ready for the tidal wave of lawsuits and court challenges.

    Another item – the Episcopal Church Opposes Prop 8 – and they are seeing a big drop in memberships and parish rebellions.

  44. Sara, even if it’s better for kids to have both parents I’m not at all convinced that justifies artificially limiting the ability to divorce. While the children have to be considered also too must be the parents happiness and freedom. The other problem with “fault” divorce is that it simply has the state involved in punishing people making divorces that much more messy. While I’m all for reducing divorce I’m not sure abolishing no-fault divorces is the way to do it.

    So this is a very bad analogy to Prop-8 at best.

  45. Clark, do you really think that only religious people should marry? The state got involved in the marriage business because marriage is the institution that links fathers to children. It is an institution not only for the happiness of the couple, but for the stability of their children and future generations. These are good for all of society, not just religious people.

  46. D Fletcher, #9, those SSMs were legal only because the liberal Supreme Court of Kalifornia decided to go against the previous views of the Californian people on this issue.

    I am thankful that the Church and other religious peoples stood up against a huge moral and spiritual danger. We have seen the Church come out very clearly on what the Lord’s will is in regards to the Family, a Proclamation.

    While opinions are welcome, we are a sad people who cannot or will not see the patterns of wickedness from the Book of Mormon and Bible reappearing in our own day.

  47. Roland, according to my source, the results are all in from San Diego County. Riverside and San Bernardino counties are the ones with the biggest proportion of uncounted votes. San Bernardino county is pretty conservative.

    Someone mentioned that California has lost 10 percentage points on this issue in 8 years. I bet some of that was because of people moving out of state to take advantage of housing bubble money. I know a lot of ex-Californians in Utah. California has become increasingly unaffordable for young families, especially families that would like to survive on one income.

  48. I find all this “liberal court’s shoving down the people’s throats” stuff so annoying. Especially from alleged constitutional scholars and other allegedly informed and educated people. Do you really not know how the courts and constitutions work?

  49. Mark N., if that’s the theory then there’s no problem. Prop 22 was a statute and therefore subject to the California constitution, prop 8 is an amendment that actually changes the constitution. The constitution doesn’t contradict itself, the contradictory interpretation that was available last week is gone now. (The specific controls the general — this amendment addresses gay marriage specifically, the equal rights clause only generally.)

    For those regretting the money donated by the church, it’s interesting to read that Google, Yahoo, Apple, all the big mayors, both US Senators, etc., all opposed it.

    I expected Prop 8 to fail. Most of the time judges force something down the public’s throat the public just learns to swallow. In that sense this is a victory for asserting the right of the people to govern themselves.

  50. Clark, my point isn’t that we should abolish no-fault divorce. My point is that it is difficult to predict the long-term effects of eliminating long-standing traditions.

    Here’s another example: teaching the times tables, or long division. Progressive math teaching theories say that teachers shouldn’t waste time making students memorize times tables or teaching the long division algorithm. These are not “higher order thinking skills,” adults (presumably elementary school teachers) don’t use these skills regularly, and an inexpensive calculator can do it for you. So a lot of kids have not learned these skills. They find that they do not do well in algebra. They depend on the calculator too much and don’t have the number sense that extensive practice in the lower skills would have taught them.

    It’s easy to take for granted the benefits that comes from knowing times tables, or from the prevalence of traditional marriage in a culture. We are so surrounded by it and it is so much a part of us that you can’t see the effects of getting rid of it until you actually do eliminate it for the next generation.

  51. Rameumptom,

    we are a sad people who cannot or will not see the patterns of wickedness from the Book of Mormon and Bible reappearing in our own day.

    Seems to me that one of the most consistent patterns of wickedness from the Book of Mormon is the widening of the gap between rich and poor. Is that what you were talking about?

  52. Re: #61

    Nice deflection.

    Although you do have a point. We should focus on the gap in classes as well as the decline of moral values.

    You need look no further than the SSM debate to find an example of “calling evil good and good evil.”

  53. Jeremy: No, Rameumpton was talking about rampant sexual promiscuity which the scriptures actually address. Could you show me all of those Book of Mormon passages that say that government should tax at rates over 36% to take from those who produce wealth to give to the poor and where God established government programs to spread the wealth by force of law. I missed all those passages.

  54. Clark, do you really think that only religious people should marry?

    I think marriage is a religious rite and that what the state does should be called something else.

    Now if you mean do I think non-religious should be in stable, honest, supportive relationships with a high level of commitment then yes, I do. Do I think all those relationships should be called marriage? No I don’t. I’d much rather have a couple who aren’t ‘married’ but who are committed and mutually self-supportive than a couple who are married but don’t support each other.

  55. Well, this might be a threadjack, but…

    I worked my tail off to help Prop 8 pass. I said repeatedly during the campaign that for me, it was not about hating gay people but about preserving a particular marriage definition that I perceive as sacred.

    To this end, I want to say (despite the fact that it will probably not accomplish anything to say it) that I hope the marriages already performed during the legal period are allowed to be grandfathered in. Furthermore, I hope some loser doesn’t go try to find some kind of way to dissolve those marriages. That would suck and would serve to illustrate that some people really were supporting Prop 8 out of hate thereby casting a horrible shadow on the rest of us.

  56. Sara (#60), certainly I think people overestimate their ability to understand the consequences of change. I’m not sure that alone justifies leaving traditions in place.

  57. Matt,
    This is a minor point, but it needs pointing out. I’ve been using CNN to track the races and, starting last night, it consistently showed Prop 8 passage as ahead. That has definitely been the case since 5 this morning MST. I think you mixed up the 52 and the 48 in your original post.

  58. Blake,

    Could you show me the passage where the scriptures cap the tax rate at 36%

    I’m not going to split hairs with you on policy (we already have a progressive tax system, just like Teddy Roosevelt and John McCain 2000 said we should, and it’s not going anywhere), I’m simply saying that if you’re looking to the scriptures for red flags about society falling into wickedness, but one of the most consistent characteristics of a wicked people in the Book of Mormon is the gap between rich and poor. And King Benjamin doesn’t leave much room for blaming poor people for their poverty.

  59. Ryan, I have a feeling the majority of your fellow Prop 8 supporters don’t agree with you and would prefer to see the 20,000 gay marriages dissolved.

  60. We are now 30 for 30 on these types of ballot propositions passing. (AZ took twice) The lesson for me is that politically & religiously the church finds itself with the majority in this country on this issue.

    Some examples.

    TX 75-25
    FL 62-38

    CA was much closer of course but CA is politically far to the left on the nation as a whole and even in CA the Prop passed. I predicted to JNS over a BCC a 52-48 prop victory last spring.

  61. Especially in a election contest as contentious as this one, I can understand some people lying to pollsters about their vote. Prop 8 supporters have had to endure a lot of intimidation from their opponents. I can see that some people would give their true opinion at the polls, but not have the courage to tell the exit poller how they voted.

  62. Arlin: That is an unusually stupid and unhelpful thing to say to those who struggle with doubt. It is, however, probably a good way of driving them out of the church, something that strikes me as inconsistent with baptismal covenants.

  63. Jeremy: I don’t like it when conservatives quote scripture for their notions of government. I like it even less when liberal spread the wealth types quote scripture to support what they don’t support. Are you suggesting that unless the government levels all wealth we’re somehow wicked — or that the scriptures in the most remote possible exegesis have anything to do with government redistribution programs? I believe that is not merely bad exegesis, it is just preposterous. Have you looked at the tax rate that the Nephites regarded as wicked oppression by an unrighteous king?

  64. #8–Congratulations to all those that gave much, endured much, and fought for the family.

    You didn’t fight for my family by supporting Prop 8. Quite the opposite.

  65. Jeremy, the breakdown of marriage receives a lot of attention in the Book of Mormon (and the Bible). Think of Jacob 3, where Jacob says that because they are not faithful to their wives, the Nephites will eventually be destroyed completely as a nation, whereas the Lamanites will be preserved. Think of Alma 39, where Corianton’s sexual sin is compared to (next in severity to) murder.

    Yes, the gap between rich and poor is also a serious concern in the Book of Mormon and the Bible both. But if you want to address problems with poverty, unemployment, lack of education, etc., you have to address the home, which is the most important place where children either learn or do not learn to function well in society. There are other important issues to address, obviously, but to try to correct the problems of wealth and poverty while ignoring the role of family life in shaping both those who go on to be rich (and potentially exploitative) and those who go on to be poor, is a losing battle. To maintain that we have to treat well those we don’t know, while being indifferent to how we approach the closest and most powerful relationships, makes no sense.

  66. I have to agree with Matt on the legal issue of whether Prop 8 takes effect.

    It’s a constitutional amendment. Thus, it’s now part of the constitution.

    By definition, the constitution cannot be unconstitutional.

    As to whether this harmonizes with the EQP clause — it’s a basic tenet of constitutional (or other legal) interpretation that more specific provisions control. So this will be viewed as a valid provision, an exception of sorts to the EQP clause.

    Note that this does _not_, as far as I can tell, overrule or otherwise affect the court’s ruling that sexual orientation is a protected class in California.

  67. Ben H,

    I don’t really disagree with any of the individual points you make. But I don’t see the BoM making the explicit and causal connection between the breakdown of the family and poverty that you do. (In fact, one could argue that the causality in some ways goes in the other direction…). And I’m still interested in hearing how you’d square your comments with King Benjamin’s pretty straighforward condemnation of blaming poverty on the poor.

  68. Some things that the Constitution allegedly says (according to comments above), and what the actual text of the document says:

    “Is women voting illegal since the establishing amendment conflicts with the original document?”

    The “original document” is silent on women voting. The only federal elections in which individuals voted directly under the Constitution as originally adopted were elections for congressmen, and the only qualification for voting was that the voters meet the requirements for voters for the more numerous branch of their state legislature. So, if a state had granted rights to women, blacks, children, dead people, corporations, etc. to vote, that would have been effective to define the class of voters for the federal elections.

    “It does make sense that an amendment conflicts with the original document, as the Bill of Rights does with the national Constitution.”

    If you can find one clause of the Contstitution which “conflicts” with any statement in the Bill of Rights, you must have better eyes than anyone else.

  69. re: 88

    Are you sure it’s that straightforward, Kaimi? I’ve read lots of other stuff about it possibly being declared a revision instead of amendment, etc. Seems like this now inevitably heads back to the CA Supreme Court, doesn’t it? But hey, I know nothing about the law other than what I read here in the Bloggernacle. :)

  70. re: 88

    Are you sure it’s that straightforward, Kaimi? I’ve read lots of other stuff about it possibly being declared a revision instead of amendment, etc. Seems like this now inevitably heads back to the CA Supreme Court, doesn’t it? But hey, I know nothing about the law other than what I read here in the Bloggernacle. :)

  71. As to the consitution being in conflict with itself.. I heard a law professor on NPR say that the most recent amendments to a constitution trump prior writings (not unlike our policy on modern revelation) So essentially the answer would be equal rights for all except in the case of any marriage that is not between a man and woman.

    This, of course, is assuming that you accept the courts claim that “Marriage” is a right in and of itself as opposed to my belief that the rights that were created for people who are married should also extend to civil unions and that there is no such thing as a right to be labeled as married.

  72. I am with Kaimi on the notion that internal contradictions between constitutional provisions are not a big problem, and it would be bizarre to say the least if the California Supreme Court was to chuck out a validly adopted amendment to its constitution on the grounds that it violates some other provision of the constitution. No one would say with a straight face that the 13th amendment is invalid because slavery was blessed in the original constitution, nor would anyone say that the 17th amendment is invalid because it flatly contradicts the method of choosing senators set forth in the original document. Those who think that they is some objection to Prop. 8 under the California equal protection clause are talking legal crazy talk. (Of course, prior to Goodrich I would have said that holding that traditional marriage couldn’t pass rationale basis scrutiny was legal crazy talk.)

    The revision v. amendment issues is trickier is it goes to the method by which the California constitution is changed, rather than the validity of any changes that are in fact made. Here, I can’t claim to know how California law works.

  73. Mike, FWIW, it appears that Prop 8 opponents tried to have it thrown off the ballot back in June for precisely that reason. As far as I know, the California Supreme Court dismissed the petition without comment. Read into that what you will (they may have found the argument unpersuasive, or they might have just dismissed the issue on ripeness grounds).

    From a practical standpoint, I don’t think this will get overturned. Prop 22 was only struck down by a margin of 4-3, and I suspect at least one of those four will reconsider when (s)he’s being asked to nullify a constitutional amendment rather than a statute.

  74. Note: The NPR law professor mentioned that the trumping power of an amendment is what gives it it’s name. Because it amends the previously written constitution, it isn’t intended to be in harmony with the existing constitution. That would defeat the purpose.

  75. Ryan: There are amendments that don’t claim to trump original language but rather to reject previous interpretations of it. For examle, Kurt Lash at the University of San Diego has what I think is a pretty compelling argument that the 11th amendment should be understood as a gloss on the original constitution rather than an outright change to it. This, however, is inside constitutional baseball. Your basic point is correct: Validly adopted amendments to a constitution may be — and generally are — inconsistent with its pre-amendment terms.

  76. This from the Newsroom on Prop 8.:

    “Before it accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments, the Church knew that some of its members would choose not to support its position. Voting choices by Latter-day Saints, like all other people, are influenced by their own unique experiences and circumstances. As we move forward from the election, Church members need to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society.”

    Not a bad bit of advice for all concerned…

  77. Nate,

    With the narrow 52-48 victory let me lay out 2 scenario’s for you and please comment on the legal implications.

    2012: SSM rights folks try to overturn this amendment. They succeed. Fast forward to 2020 and there is another battle and SSM loses again.

    What happens to those SS marriages that occur when its legal?

    Also is it possible for the pro-SSM people to appeal to the Federal District courts on a constitutional amendment like this?

  78. Seth,

    I’m sure I won’t be going anywhere, despite the apparent rashness of my statements here. I’m too weak and wishy-washy.

    I just wanted to express, in the clearest possible terms, the quality of my mood following yesterday’s referendum. I have a huge amount of dismay for anyone who would knowingly put up money supporting such a proposition, and additional shame for those who claim to be Christians. And the Mormons involved (many) are hardly reaching out to the world with charity and good will.

    But this is just an excuse to wallow in my own problems and get your validation. I’m a single middle-aged LDS man, living alone in NYC, without a job. My sexual life is non-existent. I belong to the LDS church because I was born to it, but I see myself slowly drifting away, as I get older and families seem younger and younger. I feel like I don’t belong, even if I’m needed to do my calling.

    I’m just one of those loonies for which the Church isn’t a good fit. Perhaps it would be better for everyone involved if I simply disappear, like my blog says, into my alter-ego, The Invisible Man.

    Thanks for listening; I’ll go back to lurking now.


  79. Nate & Kaimi-
    Has a state supreme court ever declared a constitutional amendment as unconstitutional? I agree it doesn’t make any sense from a legal perspective. To do so would be utterly destructive to rule of law and democracy. What would be the recourse? Impeachment? Revolution?

  80. bbell: You could always challenge Prop 8 in federal court on federal constitutional grounds. As constitutional law currently stands, I don’t see a strong argument against Prop. 8, but I suppose that one could always wave your hands at Clereburne, Romer, and Lawrence and see what the court does. My understanding is that sophisticated gay-rights groups have actually consciously avoided a federal court challenge related to SSM because they think that they will lose.

    I’ve no idea what the status of marriages contracted prior to the ban will be. I suspect that no one else does either until the issue is addressed by the California courts.

  81. The LDS Church Must Be Destroyed…blah, blah, crazy talk, blah

    I know, huh? They’re so intolerant.

    /That comment is humor at it’s most awkward :)

  82. Nate,

    The judges you mention is actually what I was thinking. The ninth circuit would seem to be the place to challenge this. I would expect a challenge soon.

  83. calisaint: I’ve got no idea on the state level. For what it is worth, there was a constitutional challenge to the constitutionality as enacted of the 18th Amendment (prohibition) which argued that Prohibition was inconsistent with the higher law basis of the constitution as a whole. It was unsuccessful. See The National Prohibition Cases, 235 U.S. 350 (1920).

  84. Mark B. I was pretty sure that the Constitution didn’t specifically prohibit women voting but at the time it seemed to add support to my original thought about the logic behind disqualifying an amendment because it contradicts the document it is amending. I didn’t really have the inclination to research a casual aside that wasn’t central to what I was trying to express, I figured most people would recognize that. But thanks for the footnote.

  85. D. Fletcher, a few years back, I visited your ward in NYC and ended up meeting Danithew. He pointed you out on the organ, and your playing was wonderful. Don’t think you won’t be missed if you leave — every person counts. I would also say that most of all YOU count in God’s eyes. Peace brother.

  86. Well D. Fletcher seems to have resolved his doubts but mine aren’t as easily assuaged. If anything, this issue has exacerbated some lingering doubts I’ve had that would have likely stayed just under the surface for me.

  87. Jeremy: First, suppose King Benjamin were condemning people for saying that the beggar has brought on himself his own misery. That is not what I am saying. I am saying that children often have serious problems due to the failure of their parents to raise and nurture them well, provide a stable and supportive environment, etc. There are lots of places in the scriptures that support this idea. It happens. When people go astray because of their parents, the sin is (at least substantially or also, perhaps primarily) on the heads of the parents. In some cases parents fail because their parents also failed, but wherever the blame finally rests, I am not saying poor people are responsible for their own poverty.

    Second, King Benjamin’s point is not mainly about whether the beggar has brought his misery on himself. He never says that this is not true. Rather, he says that we are all beggars, and so this is no excuse. Maybe the beggar did bring his misery on himself; so what? We have sinned too. We still need to have compassion and do what we can to help. One thing we can do to help is to strengthen the families in which individuals learn how to be human by upholding a clear standard of love, fidelity, etc. in the form of marriage.

  88. D.,

    Don’t you dare disappear. You’ve always been one of my favorites on the blogs–one of the most (if not THE most) informed and intelligent commenters on the arts–particularly the performing arts. We need your refined sensitive touch around here.

  89. D.,

    Also, a few weeks ago, the polls were showing that Prop 8 would lose. People changed their minds because the proposition proponents (in large part funded by Mormon dollars, yes, I know) were very successful at frightening them — telling them that the proposition would cause children to have to struggle with their sexuality before they were ready, would undermine religious freedom of speech, would lead to the downfall of conservative churches, etc.

    I suspect that the swing voters genuinely wanted to support gay families but were genuinely terrified by fear-based arguments (many put forth over pulpits) and manipulative advertising. If I am correct, then I can offer the following morsel of comfort: Mormons, Mormon leaders, and Californians in general may be gullible and paranoid, but they are not nearly as mean-spirited, anti-gay, or anti-gay-family as this measure might lead you to believe.

    (Also, some of them just get a huge kick out _anything_ that infuriates liberals, activist judges, and residents of San Francisco and Hollywood. But that’s another story.)

  90. Tony,

    I know what it’s like to have EVERYthing brought into question–with no answers that make any sense. Hang in there bro.. There’s only one of you–and losing you would be an infinite loss.

  91. Alright, so there were those disappointed with my response on this thread. Alright, I can understand how it could be construed as offensive, honestly it wasn’t my intent. I realize, it was harsh, and I will admit to a certain degree of gut instinct in it’s writing, because I saw something that troubled me and wanted to say something, anything about it in the hopes of helping.

    So… Um, if you did take offense, Sorry.

  92. FWIW, the portion of gays and lesbians who leave the church is said to be 9 out of 10. It is a loss to both those who leave and to the church as a whole. But then, the current world view in Mormonism has no place for the gender variant and those who don’t fit the binary of eternity.


    1) 18,000 newly seperated SSM couples file lawsuits in California and other states to overturn the laws – but get rejected.
    2) SSM groups put preassure on Congress and Obama to overturn Federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which allows states to set marriage requirements. Obama has already declared his intent to do so.
    3) Christian groups push for Federal Amendment to restrict SSM.

    If you thought Prop 8 was a big battle for the LDS – you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  94. Living in San Francisco, I can say that most people here are heartsick over the passage of Prop 8.

    I voted against Prop 8, coming to the conclusion that my position on marriage is ultimately my religious view and had little to do with civil marriage. The argument that civil marriage is a \”divine institution\” doesn\’t hold with me. Since when has the Church considered civil marriage to be \”divine?\” We don\’t even call the ordinance \”marriage.\” I also felt that I couldn\’t vote \”Yes\” unless I could say to my friends who are gay: \”I believe you do not have the right to be married.\” It\’s easy to hide behind the secrecy of the ballot box. Furthermore, if marriage is only for procreation, should those unable to have children stay married? Should people past child-bearing years remain single?

    How many people who are so stridently opposed to gay marriage actually know any gay people in committed relationships?

    Although there were many donors to the Yes campaign, the LDS Church has been identified & is recognized as the major force behind the campaign. I am glad that the Church has taken a stand on family life but thinks it was best done by the Proclamation on the Family and not by engaging in a political campaign.

  95. ronito (17) – Surely you understand the difference between an organization giving 80% and encouraging its membership to give the money. To not acknowledge the difference is a bit dishonest…

  96. Now that the election is over, it is time for members of the church to remember another obligation they have. Each member has covenanted to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. After this event we need to show forth an increase of love. Will those who labored so diligently to pass this proposition turn around and labor for the rights same sex couples are hoping for? The offer of help may be rejected, that is the choice of those who feel defeat, but the church now needs to encourage a helping hand be offered to all.

    Now would also be a great time to take all of this energy over marriage and turn it to strengthening families in general. I\’m not interested in political campaigns to change divorce laws, but why not start promoting what a successful marriage is. Let\’s make a bold stand about abstinence until marriage and complete fidelity within marriage. Let\’s make a bold stand that there is no success that can compensate for failure in the home and get parents focused on family before work. There are a lot of hurdles to be overcome, the poor economy for one, but this is a cause that is much more worthy of fighting for than the proposition.

  97. Nathan, I think that is a great idea. I would love to see some Church commercials that specifically call for fidelity within marriage (like the home front commercials).

    This should also be done more for adoption (the warmer, softer side of the abortion issue).

  98. “The offer of help may be rejected, that is the choice of those who feel defeat …”

    Oh, please. Such an offer would bring tears of gratitude to 99% of the defeated.

  99. “Clayton [. . . ]advised members hurt or confused by the church’s involvement to seek counsel with their bishop to understand the doctrinal basis for the church’s position. He also said any action regarding members who spoke out against the measure would be left to local church leaders’ discretion.”

    Huh . . . I wonder if this could lead to some confusion, hurt feelings, and very uneven application of church discipline? It seems that local leaders are not necessarily all equipped to deal with the sensitive gradations between between opposition, disagreement, and apostasy, or the role of church and state.

  100. “Congratulations to all those that gave much, endured much, and fought for the family. ”

    Yes, and thanks to all those who gave much and endured much, my family is at risk.

    Frankly, it’s a slap in my face to hear how much those who found for Prop 8 “endured.” It was a few weeks of their lives. Trust me when I say, it ain’t squat. You haven’t endured discrimination in the workplace. You haven’t endured hate crimes based on who you love and have committed your entire life to. You haven’t endured refusal to be at your child’s bedside in the ER because you aren’t her “real” mother, even though you raised her. You haven’t endured financial hardship when you’ve lost a job, couldn’t be placed on your partners insurance and you have a chronic medical condition.

    If this is supposed to be an organization who supports commitment and families, I certianly can’t tell. It looks like the LDS Church only supports their own version of families.

    If your Prophet only supports one man, one woman families, your single parent families must feel pretty small right now, too. The family is a living and growing thing. It evolves. It does not stay stagnant.

    If this is a church of love and compassion, I’m sorry, but I will have to look elsewhere. I am pretty sure God doesn’t sanction discrimination.

  101. My husband\’s non-member family are in California and so we know a lot of non-members there who were voting in favor of Prop 8. It is not just a Mormon thing. Often the minority tends to be the most vocal until the other side has to take a stand. One can believe in the sanctity of marriage and still love the gay population. My sister is gay and I support her right to choose her lifestyle and I love her for who she is outside of her sexual orientation, and yet I can still support my church leaders and God\’s perfect design.

    As I have read the scriptures, there are countless examples of the things God asked of His people being difficult. And there are just as many examples of the people wanting to rebel because they are of the view that is different than that of the prophets, who is sustained as a mouthpiece of the Lord. Given that the scriptures show us that God\’s mouthpiece is helping us to understand God\’s will in the affairs of men and that it is not going to agree with imperfect mortal understanding. Perhaps there are things on the horizon that we can\’t see, but God can, things which if we did understand we would have a very different viewpoint than we do now on certain issues. Faith is not having all the answers. It is simply trusting that God does. And faith really only matters when things seem hard or difficult. After all, anyone can trust when things are going their way and there isn\’t some some challenge to their own beliefs or life situations, yet when it isn\’t going so smoothly, that is when God asks us to have faith and to trust His plan. If members insist on criticizing the church\’s position on things, then those members are simply fostering the contention and dissension that is so much a part of our society and the adversary\’s desire for all of us.

  102. “It is not just a Mormon thing. ”

    Really. I endured Amendment 3 in Utah, and now Prop 8 in California, both with astounding LDS financial backing, Proclaimations and put downs.

    Feels much like a Mormon thing to me.

  103. “I am pretty sure God doesn’t sanction discrimination.”

    If He doesn’t, then who is it that divides the sheep from the goats?

  104. Times and Seasons lawyers, your sideblog indicates that defending the new amendment from legal challenges will be the job of Attorney General Jerry Brown. Is there anything that will compell him to do his job properly and not throw the cases?

  105. A reminder to everyone not to take any particular comment here too seriously if you find it offensive. People are not at their best around election time.

  106. would love to see some Church commercials that specifically call for fidelity within marriage (like the home front commercials).

    This should also be done more for adoption (the warmer, softer side of the abortion issue).

    Great idea.

  107. John Mansfield (131):

    If for no other reason, the the two dozen or so amici curiae that will inevitably get sent will make any arguments that Jerry Brown avoids. Besides, the court isn’t a debate judge; the court’s job is to issue the right decision, not award the side that argues the best with the win.

  108. Nate W.,
    parties can still do a lot to shape litigation. Courts can very well decline to consider issues that actual parties didn’t raise, e.g.

  109. “SSM groups put pressure on Congress and Obama to overturn Federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which allows states to set marriage requirements. Obama has already declared his intent to do so.”

    He made a clear statement against the DOMA in his 2004 Senate race. But he hasn’t emphasized that position (if he still holds it). Do you know of a more recent statement on it? I would be kind of shocked if Obama spent political capital on the DOMA in the same way that Clinton did with gays in the military.

  110. Dear Friends,

    Thank you for the opportunity to welcome everyone to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club’s Pride Breakfast and to congratulate you on continuing a legacy of success, stretching back thirty-six years. As one of the oldest and most influential LGBT organizations in the country, you have continually rallied to support Democratic candidates and causes, and have fought tirelessly to secure equal rights and opportunities for LGBT Americans in California and throughout the country.

    As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.

    For too long. issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. This is no less than a core issue about who we are as Democrats and as Americans.

    Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks. My thanks again to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club for allowing me to be a part of today’s celebration. I look forward to working with you in the coming months and years, and I wish you all continued success.


    Barack Obama

  111. Adam:

    You’re right as a general principle. I think the court won’t ignore the amici in this case because the political capital they have to expend in making a decision in this particular case. To be seen as at least minimally legitimate, the court has to address every argument it is aware of, including arguments made by the amici and not the parties. That’s just my appraisal of the situation, though.

  112. Chino: It would be great if Obama held to his promise to attempt to overturn the Federal Defense of Marriage Act — it would galvanize the opposition like no other act he could engage in and would expend all of his political capital in a battle that he is sure to lose. It would paralyze his political effectiveness and insure his defeat in the next election. I say go for it Obama!

    Further, the propaganda mantra of the radical gay movement that the Church has denied civil rights to gays and lesbians by backing Prop 8 is just misinformed. Gays and lesbians will not lose one right, protection or privilege as a result of passage of Prop. 8 except the so-called “right” to call their union a “marriage.” They will continue to have all of the indicia of civil unions that provides the same legal protections under California’s extremely liberal anti-discrimination statutes which are not changed by passage of Prop. 8. Indeed, it is the radical gays and lesbians who seek to disenfranchise Mormons from having a voice in the political arena that are the real threat to civil rights.

    I would also highlight that it is a myth that the Church somehow sponsored a massive campaign that overwhelmed the poor opponents of Prop. 8. They outspent the pro Prop. 8 side by a vast margin and nearly twice as much of their contributions came from outside of CA as pro-Prop 8 contributions.

  113. Blake:

    Which part of the DOMA would galvanize the opposition–the part where DOMA refuses to recognize same-sex couples for purposes of federal benefits or the part where it restates the settled case law of full faith and credit clause? How about he repeals the first and leaves the second behind? Would it make people angry that if their state recognizes same-sex unions that the people in those unions would get the same federal benefits that opposite-sex married couples do? I mean, last I checked, the church doesn’t oppose that. It actually seems reasonable to me.

  114. I agree with the sentiment that the church so strongly supported prop 8 not to discriminate against gay couples, but to preserve the idea that a decent human being (and a decent church) can respectably take the position that gay marriage is wrong, or that homosexual acts are sinful. In today’s editoral by the editors of the National Review, much the same point was made. In discussing the Mormon missionary “home invasion” ad, it was noted:

    “The current conflict over marriage is in part a proxy for a larger ongoing conflict about the role of religious people and religious values in public life. As courts come to endorse the principle that sexual orientation is just like race, American government is going to find itself in the position of treating traditional faith communities just like racists. Voters should beware — if they are consulted on the matter.”

    Amen. I have been criticized for saying this in the past, but I will say it again. If gay marriage becomes widely, legally accepted, the church’s ability to privately believe and teach that homosexual relationships are morally wrong will be severely circumscribed. Just think of the social opprobrium (and potential government sanctions) tied to any type of racism, and you can imagine the social/legal position of our church in twenty years. THAT is why the church is taking such a hard stance on this issue.

  115. “Just think of the social opprobrium (and potential government sanctions) tied to any type of racism, and you can imagine the social/legal position of our church in twenty years. THAT is why the church is taking such a hard stance on this issue.”

    Yep. Deja vu all over again. Throughout this campaign I strongly felt this was the Church’s real concern behind promoting Prop 8. It just felt profoundly wrong that the Church wouldn’t be upfront about this concern but would instead let the folks at fight the battle with distortion, misrepresentation, and outright lies.

    Regardless of Prop 8 or other similar initiatives, I have no doubt the social opprobrium will ensue. But I have enough faith in the courts and in the First Amendment that I’m not worried about potential government sanctions.

  116. Chino: For the numbers on donations, see here: ^ “Opponents of gay marriage ban ride wave of donations”, The San Jose Mercury News (2008-10-24). The amount reflects donations to under proponents and Equality for All under opponents. Donations to other organizations on both sides of Proposition 8 are not included in these amounts.

    The data show that only 12% of donations for the Pro Prop 8 came from outside of CA. However, 21% of No On 8 came from out-of-state. Jan to Oct, the donations of each side were about equal (about $27,000,000 each). However, between 1 Oct. and 18 Oct. the contributions for Pro 9 were about $2.5 M and for No On 8 were $10.7 M.

  117. The basic rule of legal interpretation is that, as any law is amended, the latest language overrides any conflicting terms in the previous version. That is how the “right” to buy alcohol was taken away by amending the US Constitution, and then restored years later. No matter what the California constitution used to say (a matter of dispute between the 4 justices on the one hand and the 3 dissenters), what it now says is that same-sex marriage is NOT a right guaranteed by the California Constitution. 3 of the justices were very clear that they saw nothing in the California Constitution that justified the claim by the other 4 that it overrode the decisions of the voters and of the legislature to deny “marriage” to homosexual couples. In some 130 years of California history, no state supreme court had seen such a requirement in the state constitution. As the dissenters pointed out, the ruling of the majority was a pure exercise in raw judicial power that denied the most fundamental constitutional right of the people, to make the laws that govern them. People claiming that the state constitution is immutable and not subject to amendment by the people are basically announcing that they no longer support democracy, and that they believe that the votes of 4 of 7 lawyers should have more authority to the vote of millions of citizens.

    Much of the real basis for opposition to Proposition 8 is by people who don’t trust the people at large with real power, and believe that they and those who think like them should be able to rule society, despite the will of the majority. If they don’t like the decision of the majority, they will simply rule it illegal, period. Lawsuits by people challenging Proposition 8 are based on that hatred of democracy. If some judge takes the bait, and declares Proposition 8 invalid, it is going to lead to loss of respect for the courts, for they will have declared themselves the rulers of the people rather than their servants. If the courts don’t respect the rights of the people to govern themselves, why should the people have any duty to obey the decisions of the courts? Judges who indulge themselves in such despotism are taking us toward a breakdown in respect for law and judicial decisions that will have much more dire consequences than any ruling on same-sex marriage. It is possible that Californians would put up with judicial tyrranny, but other states, where the majority against SSM is much larger, will not. I cannot imagine President Obama ordering the National guard to enforce a 9th circuit ruling requiring gay marriage in Idaho. What will result instead is the realization by the people that they can defy the rulings of the courts, and the courts will no longer be an effective counterbalance to abuses of power by the legislative and executive branches. The California Supreme court majority are rolling the dice with the entire role of the judiciary in our system of government.

  118. “Much of the real basis for opposition to Proposition 8 is by people who don’t trust the people at large with real power, and believe that they and those who think like them should be able to rule society, despite the will of the majority. If they don’t like the decision of the majority, they will simply rule it illegal, period. Lawsuits by people challenging Proposition 8 are based on that hatred of democracy.”

    Raymond, we live in a republic — a representative democracy. In 2004 and again in 2007 the California state legislature passed a same-gender marriage bill, only to have it vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger both times. (And unlike the electorate in 2008, the legislature was not influenced by the thoroughly discredited propaganda from the “Yes on 8” campaign.)

    So my first question to you, Raymond, is: Which was more objectively democratic, the bills passed by the legislature or the initiative passed by the voters? And my second question is: Do you think Governor Schwarzenegger hates democracy?

  119. anyone who is gay and mormon,

    i know it’s hard and painful, but this is a plea not to leave the church. your marriages count. you count. you will prevail. anyway, sweeties, you are truly loved. your trials are observed with compassion by your Father in Heaven and many other mormons.

    You are needed to be a visible reminder. when everyone who is gay leaves their home states, churches, etc. to move to nyc, la, san fran, there’s no one left at home to teach by example. it’s harder for people who know and love gay people to support discriminatory legislation and opinions when they see the consequences and pain caused. i’m straight and i left my ward all upset and traumatized after the last “Defense of Marriage” act brouha 8 years ago and still haven’t gone back. that was cowardly. i shouldn’t have done that. i should still be there reiterating my bone deep belief that gay people need to be treated like everybody else, and taking whatever flack necessary. if everyone who disagrees leaves…there’s no one to counter this tragic course which will bear us further and further away from the rest of society.

    Stay…be braver than are an agent of cultural change and an instigator for tolerance. Lost and lonely mormon kids who already know themselves to be gay need to see you in church and out of the closet, being humble and loving to all, yet authentic to your true self. (up to 10 percent of each generation will be in the gay spectrum, in any culture or epoch…despite what the pro-8 ads insinuated, learning about gay marriage in elementary school isn\’t the thing that\’s going to “turn them gay”) these kids need courageous role models. gay teens still commit suicide at a shockingly high rate.

    because we’re a gerontocracy, it took our church twenty years longer than the rest of america to understand race relations. the attitudes of 90 year old males are set in stone. patience…

    much of the country already understands why this is a civil rights issue, even if Mormons are oblivious and perplexed as to why 2,000 hurt people are waving prop 8 = hate signs at our temple in LA. it is hate, whether you intend it to be hateful or not, to tell people that you resist their efforts at equality. we get to vote on their marriages, they don’t get to vote on ours. i’m totally in favor of the idea someone mentioned above…abolishing all civil marriages and just having the states issue domestic partnerships with all the same benefits as marriage and leaving the name “marriage” to whatever people want to do in churches or personal celebrations.

    ps to SLO Sapo above… yeah, and how does it come that a CONSTITUTIONAL amendment can take place in California with a simple majority? 48 to 52 is pretty much half and half split. to amend a constitution, it should be a far more dramatic threshold.

  120. Thanks Tamara. For some, though, I fear recent events have increased discomfort beyond the breaking point to the unbearable. For those who can bear staying, please stay.

  121. re: 118 “the portion of gays and lesbians who leave the church is said to be 9 out of 10”

    Do you have a link, source, authorative rumor, anything to pin this down?

    I’m a former SSA struggler — I stayed active in the Church, never “came out” and am now temple married in CA. My experience here among those I know, is that they have also stayed in the church or left and then come back so that’s why I question this number. In particular, I wonder if it at all reflects those who never come out? I don’t see how it would and that is exactly what the Church asks those like myself to do — to refrain from making this a public or core part of our identity — to move forward as “normal” so again, I’m wondering who this said number really reflects?

  122. I have a question. In 3 Nephi 12:23-24, as part of giving the Sermon on the Mount to the \”Other Sheep\” the Lord said \”Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.\”

    How do those members of the LDS Church who support and those who do not support Prop 8 intend to apply this fundamental teaching? If one attempts a reconciliation with their brother, how will they be treated? What happens then?

    I live in Utah, and am politically affiliated with the Cynics (Motto: Whatever party is in power will prove that the other party ought to be in power.) I tend to support the concept that \”marriage\” should be defined as between one man and one woman. I also firmly believe that same sex couples are entitled to some kind of civil recognition of their relationships. I also understand that the issues Prop 8 was written to address are not going to go away with its passage. The one thing Prop 8 accomplished is that the heat of the debate has been turned up. While it is a dangerous thing to try to justify one\’s position by quoting scripture, I think I can safely say that the scriptures teach that contention is not in keeping with the Spirit of the Lord.

    We are going to have to deal with ramifications for years to come. You may wish to label me or belittle me or brow-beat me for my positions. I may wish to call you names or kick your butt or ignore your existence for your positions. None of these responses will lead to reconciliation.

    So, what will?

  123. Kent said, “How do those members of the LDS Church who support and those who do not support Prop 8 intend to apply this fundamental teaching? If one attempts a reconciliation with their brother, how will they be treated? What happens then?”

    Well, Equality Utah issued a request for the LDS Church to stand by their word and assist us in positive legislation that does not mimick marriage, but protects the GLBT community with some fundamental rights and protections the Church said they would not be opposed to. As of right now, the Church has failed to respond.

    “While we disagree with the LDS Church’s position on Proposition 8, we respect that their position is based on the guiding principles of their faith.

    “Throughout the campaign, while the LDS Church stated its support of Proposition 8, it also made repeated comments that the Church “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights.” Just last week, Elder L. Whitney Clayton stated the LDS Church does not oppose “civil unions or domestic partnerships.

    “This is the purpose of our Press Conference today. We are taking the LDS Church at its word. In response, we will be introducing legislation to address each of the policies mentioned by the LDS Church.”

    The items we are asking for:
    1. Hospitalization Visitation Rights and Rigths of Medical Care
    2. Fair Housing and Employment (yes, I can still be evicted and I can still be fired for being gay here is Utah)
    3. Probate Rights
    4. A Domestic Partner Registry
    5. Repeal of part of Utah’s Amendment 3 (but not the portion that calls for Marriage to be one man and one woman).

    See full transcript here:

    If the LDS Church truly stands by what it says, they will help us in the fight for legal preotections for the GLBT community. If they fail to respond, we know that Prop 8 and Amendment 3 support was because of the inherant hate of the gays.

    Put your money where your mouth is.

  124. “Throughout the campaign, while the LDS Church stated its support of Proposition 8, it also made repeated comments that the Church “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights . . :”

    What will be your response if the church clarifies this statement by saying, “the statement was specifically regarding california” or “in those states where such rights have already been established by the will of the people”?

  125. I think it would be fine if the Church simply said we are neutral on the issue in any state, whether it is yet established or not.

  126. Drex, I expect the Church to clarify their statements. I don’t expect the Church to actually support Gay rights, even though over the course of Prop 8, they have routinely said they do. I have lived in Zion enough to know a snow job when I see one.

    It was one thing to say, “Well, we’re not against the gays, we are pro Traditional Marriage.” It’s an other to have one of your own leaders explicitly say the LDS Church does not oppose “civil unions or domestic partnerships.” That, my friends, is a bell that cannot be unrung.

    If the leaders of the Church attempt to back slide now, they will simply look like homophobes.

  127. There is a world of difference between “does not oppose” and “is willing to carry water for”. The Church cannot backslide from a position it has never taken.

  128. Connie #154: As I read your list, it does not sound unreasonable. With whom are you working in the Church? Is it through the Public Affairs office, Presiding Bishop’s office, Area Presidency? I would think one of the biggest challenges is to get through the bureaucratic jungle to talk to people who can make policy decisions (Quorum of the 12, 1st Presidency). It is an extraordinarily progressive step for the Church to have have made the statement you quoted – the Church “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights.” Just last week, Elder L. Whitney Clayton stated the LDS Church does not oppose “civil unions or domestic partnerships. –

    It will take a very long time for that statement to find its way into the consciousness of old timers in the Church. I am not speaking here of General Authorities. I think most of them are reasonable and progressive, if cautious.

  129. So perhaps this isn’t the thread for this (ignore me if I’m out of place) but can someone—perhaps one of the lawyers?—explain to me how the CA State Supreme Court overturning a ballot proposition because it is unconstitutional is in any way inappropriate?

    I thought that legislative oversight was one of the Supreme Court’s raisons d’être, and that its interpretative powers were an important check to the legislative branch’s ability to oppress the minority in the majority’s name. (Or maybe I shouldn’t have taken American Heritage as an independent study…)

    Forgive the threadjack, and thanks for any responses. If there’s a thread already addressing these issues, I’d be glad to be pointed there.

  130. Richard D. (#162),

    The difference is that Prop 8. is constitutional amendment, not an ordinary piece of legislation. The California Supreme Court’s powers are derived from the California Consitution. They cannot just ignore what it says.

  131. Mark D, perhaps I’m not being clear enough. I’m referring to the rhetoric I keep hearing about how Prop 22 was unfairly/unethically/arbitrarily overturned by a bunch of “activist” liberal judges.

    I understand why/how Prop 8 amends the CA Constitution. I don’t understand the complaints about the overturning of Prop 22.

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