While many Americans celebrated the victory of liberal-Democrat Barack Obama, other more conservative voices had something to celebrate as well. California, a state considered a bastion of liberalism, passed a ballot measure banning homosexual marriage. The measure, also known as "Proposition 8", calls for an amendment to the state constitution which will now read: "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Florida and Arizona passed similar bans on Tuesday. Also, in Arkansas a measure was passed that was intended to bar gay men and lesbians from adopting children. In all, thirty states have now passed bans on same-sex marriage.
Elated by the rejection of gay marriage in state elections, conservatives Wednesday urged Congress to follow suit by approving a federal constitutional amendment that would extend the prohibition nationwide. In February, President George W. Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage saying: "I believe marriage has served society well, and I believe it is important to affirm that — that marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal, and the job of the president is to drive policy toward the ideal."
Conservative leaders called the result a repudiation of the November 2003 ruling by the Superior Court in Massachusetts legalizing same-sex marriage there. In California, Proposition 8 overturned a recent California Superior Court decision that recognized same-sex marriage as a fundamental right. The official ballot language for Proposition 8 was "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry". The New York Times reports that in Palm Springs, California, a homosexual-friendly city, Mayor Steve Pougnet had performed 115 same-sex weddings since June, when such ceremonies began. By contrast, this week the city has canceled eight planned ceremonies.
However, the newly-approved bans could be overturned in the future by a U.S. Supreme Court decision, which is why conservatives want an anti-gay marriage amendment passed by Congress. Lawsuits seeking marriage rights or challenging bans on same-sex marriage have been filed in Oregon, Nebraska, Washington, California, New York and New Jersey.
Hollywood stars, including Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg, as well as multinational companies such as Apple Computers campaigned against the ban, with donations of up to $100,000 each. Hundreds of gay-rights demonstrators gathered in San Francisco as gay weddings were abruptly halted across the state, and county clerks stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Gay-rights activists also gathered outside a Mormon temple in Westwood, California to protest the church's backing of the gay marriage ban. Opponents estimated that members of the church had given more than $20 million to the "Yes-on-8" campaign. Supporters of the bans in California, Arizona and Florida benefited from the donations and volunteers were mobilized by a broad array of churches and religious groups from across the ethnic spectrum. Pro-ban activists utilized hard-hitting ads especially targeting the Hispanic community and its traditional Christian and family values.
Regarding the homosexual act the Bible states, "You shall not lie with a man as you lie with a woman, it is an abomination." (Leviticus 18:22) and "A man who lies with a man as one lies with a woman, they have both done an abomination; they shall be put death, their blood is upon themselves." (Leviticus 20:13)