Prop 8 candlelight vigil held

November 6, 2008 7:03:42 AM PST
With the passage of Prop 8, California's constitution will be amended to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Tuesday's vote was 52 to 48 percent which was relatively close, but the Secretary of State's Office said Prop 8 passed in an overwhelming majority of California's 58 counties.

Forty-two counties voted for it. Only one of the eight Bay Area counties voted in favor of Prop 8. Just Solano County said "Yes." At San Francisco City Hall hundreds of people demonstrated against Prop 8 Wednesday night with a candlelight vigil.

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There is no question there was a profound sadness at San Francisco's City Hall Wednesday night, but with that sadness came a renewed sense of purpose.

It started out as a somber night as hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters came to grieve together -- now that Californians passed Proposition 8, the initiative to ban same-sex marriage.

"The love and affection of my coworkers today, my straight coworkers who were heartbroken for me and for all of us, I made it through the day a lot stronger than I thought I would," said Chris Waddling, a newlywed.

And that was the prevailing sentiment at this vigil -- that the support among friends is helping them press on. They acknowledge, though, they have a lot of work to do.

"Take a deep breath, analyze what we did and get out in those communities who still need to know us 'cause you know, when you know us, you love us," said San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano.

Proponents of same-sex marriage plan to battle it out in the state Supreme Court as well. Three separate lawsuits were filed aimed at striking down Proposition 8. Among their main points, Prop 8 violates the principles of equal protection. ABC7 Legal Analyst Dean Johnson says that argument has a lot of merit.

"Sexual orientation is a protected class so Equal Protection anything that vitiates the rights of that class is always strictly and carefully scrutinized," said Johnson.

But prop 8 supporters say voters have made it clear, marriage should be between a man and woman.

"All I can say is the people have spoken twice on this. And the efforts to try to shove this down the throats of the voters, whether you like it or not, is not going to sit well," said Bill May, with Catholics for the Common Good, one of the groups behind Prop 8.

Same-sex marriage proponents are well aware of the importance of winning the court of public opinion. Still, the court of law is where they're pinning their hopes for now.

"We will go to court, we will make that argument and I am optimistic we will win," said Therese Stewart, San Francisco's Deputy City Attorney.

As for the 18,000 same-sex couples who've gotten married since the state Supreme Court ruling in June, their fate will likely end up in court. Attorney General Jerry Brown says he will defend the legality of those marriages.


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