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Voters approve Prop. 8

Posted: November 5, 2008 9:49 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2008 4:59 a.m.

When it came to predicting a split vote on Proposition 8, the street corners of Santa Clarita said it all.

One minute motorists on McBean Parkway near Valencia Boulevard drove by supporters waving signs calling for "Yes on Prop 8," and the next minute they saw the same number of people honking for "No on Prop 8."

After final votes were tallied early Wednesday, California voters adopted a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, overturning the state Supreme Court decision that gave gay couples the right to wed just months ago.

The passage of Proposition 8 in Tuesday's election represents a crushing political defeat for gay couples and gay rights activists, who hoped public opinion on the contentious issue shifted since the voters overwhelmingly passed an earlier gay marriage ban in 2000.

Supporters saw it as salvation for society's primary building block: the nuclear family.

The proposition passed 52.5 percent in favor to 47.5 percent against.

"It just shows you can't believe the polls," said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita. "All the polls leading up to the election had Prop. 8 losing. Not only did it win, it really showed where California stands on the issue."

Some local supporters of Proposition 8, however, see the narrow win as a sign of a divided community.

"It's obvious. It means we're pretty much split about how
people feel about this topic," said "Yes on 8" supporter Larry Bustetter of Valencia Hills, who began a nightly ritual of removing his lawn signs after thieves kept stealing them. "Maybe it's not totally surprising with the nature of things in California. It's gratifying, however, that we were at least able to get there," he said about the narrow victory.

Campaigns for and against the proposition spent an unprecedented $73 million.

Laura Taylor of Valencia married her partner, Patty, four years ago in Halifax, Nova Scotia, because same-sex marriage is recognized in Canada.

"I didn't realize it was that close," she said. "I woke up this morning and I was disappointed but optimistic. It's two steps forward and one step back."

"It was a very lonely feeling for Patty and I then," Taylor said. "Now, to go out there and see as many signs for ‘No' (to Prop 8) as there are for ‘Yes,' that was very heart-warming for me - that there's movement forward."

With election officials and others estimating 2 million to 3 million provisional and absentee ballots still to be tallied, leaders of the No on 8 campaign said they were not ready to concede. "Because Prop 8 involves the sensitive matter of individual rights, we believe it is important to wait until we receive further
information about the outcome," said Geoff Kors, director of Equality California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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