Same-Sex Marriage Outlawed Yet Again In Calif.
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Back now with Day to Day and a devastating blow to supporters of gay marriage. Here in California, voters approved Proposition 8, which bans the right of same-sex couples to marry. The State Supreme Court legalized gay marriage earlier this year, and ever since then, more than 11,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot. Joining us now is NPR's John McChesney. He's been following this. And so, Proposition 8 has passed. What is next?
JOHN MCCHESNEY: Well, that's not exactly clear. I see that the opponents of Prop. 8 are saying they're waiting to see even more vote counting. 400,000 votes they say separate yes from no on Prop. 8, and they're waiting to see what the secretary of state says. It seems to me, it's been signed, sealed, and delivered. The problem now is for the 11,000 or so I figure 18,000 gay couples who've been married under this law, what happens to their marriage? Is it legal, or is it not legal? What kind of legal challenges can be mounted against this amendment to the California constitution. I, quite frankly, don't know the answer to that, and I'm sure a lot of legal people are looking at it, and they're not sure of the answer either.
BRAND: I guess it could go back to the drawing board legally, right? I mean, this kind of thing passed several years ago with another ballot initiative, and that's what led to the State Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage earlier this year.
MCCHESNEY: Right. I mean, you had just a proposition, not an amendment to the constitution, and the California Supreme Court flipped it over, and by the way, Arizona and Florida, looking at what happened in California with the Supreme Court, passed constitutional amendment yesterday banning gay marriage. And in Arkansas, there was a proposition that said gay couples or unmarried couples can't adopt children, so they were just run across the country in several states.
BRAND: Well, in this state, it was a particularly heated battle, which lots of money spent on both sides. What happened with the Prop. 8 supporters. What was their winning strategy?
MCCHESNEY: There was a foray of television ads. This was the most expensive social issue ballot initiative in the country's history, $74 million. I think the only thing - the only campaign that spent more money than that was the presidential campaigns, something I read somewhere made that comparison. And it was an extraordinary blitz, I'm sure you know, of television commercial after television commercial. But one thing political observers were saying, is that the high turnout of Hispanic voters and black voters for Obama might have pulled against the no on Prop. 8 vote. Those voters are not particularly strong on gay rights, at least according to a lot of observers who watch it, and that may have turned it around.
BRAND: All right, so we are expecting what, a legal challenge to this should this stand?
MCCHESNEY: That's what I see some people are saying. Now, how you challenge a, you know, ballot measure that has amended the constitution and passed by the state's population I'm not sure that the legal courses there are. I'm sure a lot of people are studying it right now trying to figure it out.
BRAND: Perhaps it could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
MCCHESNEY: It could. It could.
BRAND: NPR's John McChesney. Thank you.
MCCHESNEY: Thank you.
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