Prop 8 Statistics
Ballotpedia.org has an informative page regarding California Proposition 8.
What struck me, when I examined the statistics, is the small difference between Yes and No vote counts. According to the final count shown at the State website (PDF), the difference was only 599,602 votes out of 13.4 million That’s less than 5 in 100 people. The vote could so easily have swung the other way, if a few hundred people in each precinct either voted differently, failed to vote, or more voted who stayed home on November 4 — if more people thought a little harder and longer about the impact of this proposition on people’s lives. I wonder if anyone now regrets their vote, or regrets not voting.
In the time between the prior State Supreme Court ruling and the election (June 15 to November 4, 2008), less than 5 months, approximately 20,000 couples, or 40,000 people, entered into same sex marriages in California. Some of these couples had been together and waiting to marry for decades. Would that every opposite sex marriage lasted so long. That’s about 15 dividing votes for each newlywed. The difference is so close that I can see this as a tragic slip through the cracks of voter opinions and action, and basic rights. I also wonder, if each of those voters had known one of the newlyweds personally, would they have wanted to take away their right to marry? Is this just a law that made it through the ballot initiative process because some voters couldn’t imagine themselves in another’s place, or thought of those people whose rights they were limiting as just some imaginary people “out there” and of no consequence to them because they didn’t know them? It’s easy to think impersonally when voting. But our rights aren’t impersonal to us. What if this had been a ballot initiative to take away the marriage rights of people over thirty, or people with blue eyes? What if it affected your personal rights or those of someone you care about? Would that have changed your vote?
What bothers me most is the source and size of some donations for the Prop 8 campaign, which is in my opinion shameful. Why do we allow such large single source donations for a ballot proposition that changes the state constitution, when we don’t allow them for candidates who serve only a few years? Why do organizations that claim to be pro-marriage and pro-family take it on themselves to keep people from marrying, and in the process divide families?
This is an anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-love amendment. No matter what the California Supreme Court decides about this Proposition, I think it must be repealed — if not by the court then by another election, hopefully with more voters thinking this through and thinking for themselves rather than letting their churches or their knee-jerk reactions think for them. Mistakes have been made before with constitutional amendments, at the state and federal level. Some of the worst have been corrected by shifting public opinion as we see their negative or unintended impacts. I hope this will be one of them. I don’t want to see my home state so divided on this. I do want to see equality in marriage rights.
Some other reading on this topic:
Democracy, Law and Proposition 8
Including this excellent opinion piece by Byron Williams at The Huffington Post:
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NOTE to Tarot visitors: I’ll get back to my Tarot posts soon — I’ve been occupied with other personal business. But I have not abandoned my Tarot study.