Proposition 8 campaigning begins

September 22, 2008 7:40:21 PM PDT
The fight officially began between gay marriage supporters and opponents. The battle is over Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment in California on the November ballot that would ban same-sex marriage.

Mild-mannered retirees Sam and Julia Thoron of San Francisco are the unlikely faces on the frontlines against Proposition 8, the initiative to ban same sex marriage.

The couple, who has been married 46 years and has a gay daughter, is starring in the first statewide commercial urging Californians not take away the right of same sex couples to marry.

"We have become very deeply committed to the principle that our daughter deserves to be treated with every aspect of her life with the same respect and dignity as her two straight brothers," Sam Thoron from No on Proposition 8.

The new ad launches what promises to be an expensive battle between gay rights and traditional marriage groups. Each side has already raised at least $10 million through August.

The "Yes on Prop 8" side is mobilizing churches and will be ready to hit the airwaves next week.

Eight years ago, 61 percent of California voters approved the same-sex marriage ban. More recent polls show shifting attitudes in this state.

A Field Poll this month found Proposition 8 losing. About 55 percent of California voters would not ban same-sex marriage, 38 percent said they would, while seven percent were undecided.

Californians get to vote again in November because the California Supreme Court ruled earlier this year the state's previous same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.

Part of the "Yes" side's strategy will be to depict the high court as a group of rogue justices writing law.

"I think we're entering into a very dangerous time when you have four activist judges in San Francisco who threw out the vote of millions of California voters. I think it sends a dangerous message that your vote doesn't count," said Jennifer Kerns from Yes on Proposition 8.

While it's a mild start to the Proposition 8 battle, no one expects the tone to stay that way as Election Day approaches.


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