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Nation watches as state weighs ban

Prop. 8 battle drew money and attention from across the U.S.

November 05, 2008|Jessica Garrison, Cara Mia DiMassa and Richard C. Paddock | Jessica Garrison, Cara Mia DiMassa and Richard Paddock are Times staff writers.

Most of the state's highest-profile political leaders -- including both U.S. senators and the mayors of San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles -- along with the editorial pages of most major newspapers, opposed the measure. PG&E, Apple and other companies contributed money to fight the proposition, and the heads of Silicon Valley companies including Google and Yahoo took out a newspaper ad opposing it.

On the other side were an array of conservative organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, Focus on the Family and the American Family Assn., along with tens of thousands of small donors, including many who responded to urging from Mormon, Catholic and evangelical clergy.

An early October filing by the "yes" campaign reported so many contributions that the secretary of state's campaign finance website crashed.

Proponents also organized a massive grass-roots effort. Campaign officials said they distributed more than 1.1 million lawn signs for Proposition 8 -- although an effort to stage a massive, simultaneous lawn-sign planting in late September failed after a production glitch in China delayed the arrival of hundreds of thousands of signs.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, November 06, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
Proposition 8: A chart in some editions of Wednesday's Section A that contained vote results for Proposition 8, the measure to ban gay marriage in California, said the figures were the latest as of 12:25 p.m. Pacific time. They were the latest as of 12:25 a.m.

Research and polling showed that many voters were against gay marriage, but afraid that saying so would make them seem "discriminatory" or "not cool," said Flint, so proponents hoped to show them they were not alone.

Perhaps more powerfully, the Proposition 8 campaign also seized on the issue of education, arguing in a series of advertisements and mailers that children would be subjected to a pro-gay curriculum if the measure was not approved.

"Mom, guess what I learned in school today?" a little girl said in one spot. "I learned how a prince married a prince."

As the girl's mother made a horrified face, a voice-over said: "Think it can't happen? It's already happened. . . . Teaching about gay marriage will happen unless we pass Proposition 8."

Many voters said they had been swayed by that message.

"We thought it would go this way," Proposition 8 co-chair Frank Schubert said. "We had 100,000 people on the streets today. We had people in every precinct, if not knocking on doors, then phoning voters in every precinct. We canvassed the entire state of California, one on one, asking people face to face how do they feel about this issue.

"And this is the kind of issue people are very personal and private about, and they don't like talking to pollsters, they don't like talking to the media, but we had a pretty good idea how they felt and that's being reflected in the vote count."




Eliminate gay marriage

YES: 52.5%

NO: 47.5%

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