Why Proposition 8 Failed


The leaders of the No on Prop 8 movement gathered together at a summit last week to plan for the future and also to look back on the misteps of the previous push toward marriage equality.  The article shows that even amongst those involved in the campaign, there are different ideas on how best to reach the undecided voters.  My favorite part was a quote from unplanned speaker Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

“In 1994, I first began to stand up on the floor of the Legislature and talk about these issues, and talk about that this was the last frontier of the civil rights movement, that this was the only area where people of conscience, people who think they’re not bigoted in any way, feel like they can discriminate … feel like they can say no to you for a job, no for housing … say no to this community and equality of rights when it came to domestic partnerships, and now equality of marriage,” Villaraigosa said.

“We know it’s time to say: ‘Yes. Yes, we can. Yes, we will,'” he said. “I’m going to stand with you every step along the way … not because it’s popular (but) because it’s the right thing for us to do.”

(The italics are mine.)

Villaraigosa really captures the mentality of the Yes on 8 voters that I experienced last fall.  I don’t know how many conversations I had with people who recoiled in horror at the thought that their anti-gay marriage opinions were bigotted in any way, shape, or form.  It felt like if you threw out the “bigot” term at someone, it was worse than whatever the person had said to merit the title.  As if “bigot” is a slur.

You’ve heard the arguments: being gay is an immoral lifestyle choice, gay marriage infringes upon my religious freedom and ruins the sanctity of marriage, I don’t want homosexuality taught to my kids.  But it all comes down to the same distinct desire: to deny rights to another group of Americans based only on their sexual preference. Because their specific, PERSONAL belief set tells them that being gay is a sin.

Perhaps these people are not bigots through and through, but the reasoning behind their stance on Proposition 8 (and, let’s be honest, homosexuals in general) must be defined as bigoted.  It says so in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary:


Big”ot*ed, a. Obstinately and blindly attached to some creed, opinion practice, or ritual; unreasonably devoted to a system or party, and illiberal toward the opinions of others

Unreasonable is putting it nicely.  Irrational and unbelievable is more like it.



  1. is it reasonable to assume that many voters were mislead by the wording? seemed a bit backwards to me.

    • That’s a good question. I really don’t know the numbers but I would assume that there were a decent number who were in favor of gay marriage so they marked “Yes” on the ballot, when in fact marking “Yes” actually meant voting “No” on gay marriage. But, not enough to have swayed the vote, I don’t think.

      If it had been a huge misunderstanding, I think we would’ve heard a public outcry from duped voters because if anyone was confused on the language, it would’ve been those who actually wanted to vote “No” on the proposition and mistakenly voted “Yes.” So far as I know, that hasn’t really been a large issue.

  2. noted.

  3. Here’s the PROBLEM America is creating as it ALLOWS the tyranny of a majority to rule – One of these days, some LGBT person who has lost a child, home, spouse, pension, and/or job to federal inequality will put a bullet through the heads of people like Huckabee, Warren, etc., and others who are obsessed with influencing “civil” law so it PERMANENTLY EXCLUDES our families from the same governmental protections ALL Americans deem essential (would the protections exist if they weren’t essential…..for the heterosexuals?).

    ALL of the above horrors HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED to many families and their CHILDREN due to marriage inequality alone.

    Why isn’t this HATE against our family seen as the VIOLENCE that it really is?
    [equality tax revolt]

  4. I trust that this civil rights battle can be won by minds and not violence.

    That being said, I can understand your anger and frustration. I am hoping for a cultural change away from religion being so intricately intertwined in religion. Americans – even the moderately religious – have seen how simply having “faith” in one’s decision-making abilities didn’t seem to fare well for President Bush and that there is merit in education, intelligence, and understanding the difference between confidence and ignorance.

    Winning civil rights has never been easy. I see marriage equality happening sooner rather than later.

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