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  Edition # 77  
San Francisco, 11-20-2008

Figure [1]: In San Francisco, most people are against Proposition 8.

Angelika While people in San Francisco were dancing in the streets to celebrate Obama's victory, many were disappointed by another vote: the hotly contested Proposition 8 (Proposition=Referendum) received a narrow majority. In California, voters not only cast their votes for the president, but also for various referendums. Proposition 8 amends the California Constitution so that a marriage can explicitly only exist between a man and a woman. So, whoever is for Proposition 8 is against same-sex marriage, and whoever is against Prop 8 is for same-sex marriage. Don't get confused!

52% of California citizens said "yes" to Proposition 8. You may remember that only in May of this year the highest California court allowed same-sex marriage and in the meantime, 18,000 same-sex couples have said "I do" in California (Rundbrief 07/2008).

Immediately, the analysis started of who had voted against same-sex marriage. In an irony of fate, the higher voter turnout of the black Californian population, who wanted to cast their vote for Obama, seemed to mean the end of same-sex marriage at the same time, since 70% of this population group voted for Proposition 8. However, the proportion of blacks in California is relatively small (6%). Generally, religious affiliation or frequent church attendance was a better indicator. Latinos, who are usually Catholic, also voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 8.

Figure [2]: Especially in the Castro district in San Francisco, the result of the referendum was received with regret.

Now the last word has not yet been spoken, because the case goes back to the highest California court. Just today the judges decided that they will deal with whether the 18,000 legally closed same-sex marriages remain valid and whether Proposition 8 is really an amendment to the constitution or a change to the constitution. This may seem like splitting hairs to you now, but if the judges decide that it is equivalent to a constitutional amendment, Proposition 8 is invalid. A change of the constitution can only be put to a vote by the voters if a two-thirds majority of the legislature has voted for it beforehand, while for an amendment, a voter petition by signatures is sufficient. The opponents of Proposition 8 argue that it is a change of the constitution, since fundamental rights of a population group are withdrawn by simple majority vote. So the bickering continues.

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