A crowd of several thousands marched through the streets on San Francisco Friday night in protest of Proposition 8; a bill passed appealing the same-sex marriage law approved in California five months prior.
The ban also passed in Arizona and Florida, but its success in California, a predominantly democratic state, was viewed as a major setback for gay rights advocates.
According to CNN.com, Massachusetts and Connecticut are now the only states where same-sex marriages are legal, though both Rhode Island and New York will continue to recognize ceremonies performed in states where gay marriage is legal. California will still allow same-sex civil unions, but that is not an option in Arizona and Florida.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newson announced the harsh news at a conference at City Hall, stating the “city is no longer marrying people” of the same sex.
According to the New York Times, the ballot in California was passed with a 61 percent of the vote, encouraged by a large turnout among black and Hispanic voters supporting President Elect articles about Barack Obama’s candidacy. Obama opposes same-sex marriage.
Although the New York Times quoted 70 percent of the vote in favor of Proposition 8 as Blacks and Latinos, Mercurynews.com states that young people across the board voted against the bill.
“I was honestly shocked when I heard the results,” said 20-year-old San Diego resident Alonso Villa. “Even though the issue doesn’t affect me, this issue definitely contradicts separation of church and state, and personally I think its wrong.”
For many civil rights activists, the result of this year’s election was both a step forward and a step back. The Times quoted Julius Turman, a chairman of the Alice B. Toklas L.G.B.T. Democratic Club, a homosexual political group in California, saying the win was “the definition of bitter-sweet.”
“As an African-American, I rejoiced in the symbolism of yesterday. As a gay man, I thought, ‘How can this be happening,’” said Turman.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 17,000 same-sex unions were performed in the state of California since the original gay marriage was legalized in May. State Attorney General, said it was likely these marriages would remain valid, although some legal difficulty may be expected.
The cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Santa Clara County as well as several civil rights and gay rights groups claimed they would sue to reverse the ban.
Gov. Schwarzenegger also spoke against the bill, in an interview with CNN Sunday morning, he stated:
“It’s unfortunate, obviously, but it’s not the end,” said Schwarzenegger “I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area.”
First time voter and Los Angeles resident Ben Sommer, commented on Proposition 8 saying he was “apathetic towards the issue”, yet did not feel the government should over turn such civil rights issues.