California Voters Have Moved Significantly on Issue of Equality, NO on Prop 8 Campaign was Historic, Broad Coalition Effort Across State

(San Francisco, CA, November 6, 2008)—No on Prop 8 campaign leaders today expressed deep disappointment with the passage of Proposition 8, which takes away the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Although final ballots still continue to be counted during the next 30 days, campaign leaders do not believe those votes will be enough to overcome the small deficit of no votes needed to prevent Prop 8 from passing.

“Our hearts go out to the families in California who, because of Prop 8, will for a little longer be denied important respect and security, and have to continue to fight against inequality and second-class status,” said Kate Kendell, a member of the NO on Prop 8 Executive Committee. “It is profoundly wrong to eliminate fundamental rights, and all Americans are harmed when any of us is treated differently under the law.

“This is a very disappointing moment for all of us, not just for same-sex couples and the LGBTQ movement, but also for the nation as a whole,” Kendell continued. “As history judges this, there will definitely be a moment in time when there is recognition that this was a mistake, that this decision does not hold up the highest ideals of our Constitution of equality and justice for all.”

While absentee and provisional ballots continue to be counted across the state, the Secretary of State’s office is reporting that Prop 8 is passing with a five-point margin, which pales in comparison to a 2000 marriage initiative that passed by 23 percentage points.

“The progress we’ve made on the issue of marriage equality in just eight years is dramatic, and shows incredible movement in how Californians view this issue,” said Geoff Kors, a member of the NO on Prop 8 Executive Committee. “We are within just a few points of winning equality, and that fight resumes immediately. I have no doubt that one day soon all Californians will be allowed to marry the person they love.”

Although California’s Proposition 8 came closer to defeat than any other similar measure in the nation, the Prop 8 campaign intentionally led their efforts with a barrage of lies and deception. Consequently, Prop 8 earned support from many voters who believed the initiative was about something other than eliminating the right to marry from same-sex couples.

“Despite that obstacle, we had incredible momentum going in to Election Day, and nearly 5 million people voted to protect the freedom to marry for all Californians, and that is pretty extraordinary,” said Lorri Jean, a member of the NO on Prop 8 Executive Committee. “We mounted a truly historic campaign by just about any way you measure it. We raised an unprecedented amount of money, received the endorsement of 69 newspapers, created the largest coalition of allies in the history of our movement, and literally activated tens of thousands of volunteers, not just in California but around the nation. The NO on Prop 8 supporters dug deep, gave until it hurt, and then gave again.”

“I’m really proud of the broad and diverse coalition we put together,” said Yvette Martinez, Political Director for NO on Prop 8. “I’ve worked on a lot of campaigns, and have never seen such a broad coalition of people who have put their heart and soul into an issue like this. I know our coalition wants to move forward with us as we take the next steps for equality in California.

One of the cities that showed significant movement toward equality in the past few years was San Diego, where Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council signed a resolution opposing Prop 8.

“We have come a long way everywhere, but our vote in San Diego paralleled the vote statewide, which shows that we have progressed tremendously in the last eight years,” said Kevin Tilden, a member of the NO on Prop 8 Executive Committee.

In communities across the state, leaders vow to continue moving the issue of equality forward, underscoring that it will only be a matter of time before all Californians understand that the freedom to marry is about love, commitment and treating others as you’d want to be treated, with equality under the law.

“Just 24 hours ago this country elected the first black person as its president,” said Andrea Shorter, Director of And Marriage for All. “We know that there is an amazing opportunity for us to continue moving forward. The African American people and its community stands together, and we will not stand for state-sanctioned segregation and discrimination. We will continue to fight.”

“One silver lining we see this week is that statewide legislative candidates who support equality for all Californians won important elections on Election Day, even in districts where the electorate voted to pass Prop 8,” said Kors. “Clearly, the rights of gay and lesbian people are not an effective wedge issue. Supporting equality doesn’t hurt candidates it helps them.”

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The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.www.NCLRights.org