Battle over Proposition 8 intensifies

October 9, 2008 3:11:31 PM PDT
California voters have less than a month to decide what they think about Proposition 8, which would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, and the battle over the initiative is heating up in the Bay Area and statewide.

Protect Marriage, a coalition that supports the proposition, this week released its second statewide television advertisement. The ad was released Wednesday in English and Tuesday in Spanish, according to Chip White, a spokesman for the coalition.

It depicts a young girl arriving home from school and showing her mother a picture book the teacher read to her class that day. The book, "King and King," is about a prince marrying another prince.

The girl says to her mother, "And I can marry a princess," to which the mother reacts with a concerned expression.

"The ad is a powerful and provocative ad that helps inform Californians of the serious consequences if Prop. 8 does not pass," White said.

Eric Jaye, a campaign consultant for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, called the advertisement a "distraction" and said proponents will do "anything to avoid a debate about what Proposition 8 really does, which is to eliminate the right to marry for people that we know, for our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers."

A previous ad released in September by Proposition 8 proponents features a clip of Newsom saying, "The door's wide open now. It's gonna happen, whether you like it or not!"

According to a SurveyUSA election poll released Monday, after Protect Marriage released the ad featuring Newsom, the number of California voters supporting Proposition 8 jumped to 47 percent, with 42 percent against.

An earlier poll released Sept. 25, days before the ad aired, had showed support for the measure at only 44 percent, with 49 percent against.

Jaye said Newsom has not been discouraged by the shifting poll numbers.

"Some polls are up and some polls are down," Jaye said. Newsom "doesn't spend a lot of time looking at polls."

Newsom is continuing to oppose the initiative by attending voter registration rallies and "working his own network of political supporters and asking them to join the campaign," Jaye said.

Latino community leaders, including San Francisco City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, gathered at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts Wednesday to voice their opposition to the initiative.

"We need to stand up for what we all know is right and fair," Cisneros said.

Cisneros encouraged those in attendance to urge others to vote "no" on Proposition 8.

Twin events will take place Friday in San Francisco and Los Angeles in honor of the 30th anniversary of the National Coming Out Day, according to event spokeswoman Bilen Mesfin. The gatherings are organized by And Marriage for All and the Jordan/Rustin Coalition.

"From San Diego to Eureka, from the Coachella Valley to Bolinas, we're asking people to come out, speak out, sing out, and blog out for the freedom to marry," Anne-Marie Williams, executive director of the Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition, said in a statement.

San Francisco's event will take place at the Sheba Piano Lounge at 1419 Fillmore St. from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in San Francisco on May 15 to legalize same-sex marriage under the state constitution.

The historic decision made California the second state in the nation, after Massachusetts, to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

If the Nov. 4 election brings the passage of the proposition, same-sex couples, who have legally been able to wed in California since June 17, will no longer have the right to get married.


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