Why gay marriage lost big this week (and is Obama partly to blame?)

Jay L. Clendenin/Lara Porzak/GettyImagesJay L. Clendenin/Lara Porzak/GettyImagesThis historic, landslide presidential election was a huge win for those who are thirsting for change in the form of a progressive new political ideology in this country. And that's exactly why gay marriage activists are even more perplexed as to how Proposition 8 passed on the same day. In fact, November 4th symbolized a huge step back for gay rights when three states voted to change their constitutions to define marriage as well, a hetero thing.

While some expected bans to pass in, let's face it, far more conservative states like Florida and Arizona, the California loss was shocking to many, especially due to the fact that those who opposed the proposition raised a staggering, unprecedented $43.6 million to fight it, and had the very vocal support of many famous faces like Brad Pitt and Ellen DeGeneres (who recently married her partner Portia de Rossi in California). Writes John Cloud in Time, "Losing there dims hopes that shimmered brightly just a few weeks ago - hopes that in an Obama America, straight people would be willing to let gay people have the basic right to equality in their personal relationships. It appears not."

Yesterday Ellen, also a huge Obama supporter who expressed euphoria about his win, echoed Cloud's sentiment in her statement on the matter,

"This morning, when it was clear that Proposition 8 had passed in California, I can't explain the feeling I had. I was saddened beyond belief. Here we just had a giant step towards equality and then on the very next day, we took a giant step away.

"I believe one day a 'ban on gay marriage' will sound totally ridiculous. In the meantime, I will continue to speak out for equality for all of us."-Ellen's blog

Various reasons have been given to try and explain why the backslide occurred, even when pre-election polls predicted otherwise. They range from blaming all the attention and funds focused on Obama's campaign took liberals' attention away from the issue (wait, now it's Obama's fault!?), a reverse Bradley Effect in that people claimed they'd vote differently than they did, to the startling donation of $50,000 in support of Prop 8 from a middle income Mormon family who withdrew the money from their savings account because they believed that the measure "had so much potential to benefit our children and their children."

Says the activism group, No On 8, "Tuesday's vote was deeply disappointing to all who believe in equal treatment under the law. All Americans are harmed when any of us are discriminated against or have our fundamental rights taken away. Make no mistake, this fight is not over." To get involved, go here.

In the wake of all this, there are some questions that we need to ask ourselves:

Why do you think so many Americans vehemently oppose gay marriage? What are we, as some assert, "protecting" our children from exactly? Do you still consider marriage sacred in light of the tremendous divorce rate? Someday will we view marriage discrimination as a basic civil rights issue that we as a country violated, like equality for blacks and women?


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