Thousands of same-sex couples have married in California since the state Supreme Court lifted the ban this spring, but Proposition 8 could re-instate the ban in November. Both sides of campaign are attracting millions in contributions -- from inside and outside California. Reporter: John Myers
Adapted from the radio transcript.
Some 11,000 same-sex couples have married in California since the state Supreme Court allowed it, according to new data from by UCLA's Williams Institute. Proposition 8 on the November ballot would re-instate the ban on gay marriage, and new campaign finance data shows both sides of the measure are attracting lots of political contributions.
The measure is easily the most high-profile of November's 12 propositions and would create a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. TV ads are starting to flood the airwaves, and the opposition struck first.
"Julie and I have been married for 46 years. Together we have raised three children who are both adults," say two parents in a No on Prop 8 ad. "If Prop 8 passes, our gay daughter and millions of our fellow Californians will lose the right to marry. Please don't eliminate that right for anyone's family."
While the opponents of the ban attempt to make the campaign personal, so, too, do the supporters of the ban, even using San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in one new ad.
"This door's wide open now. It's gonna happen. Whether you like it or not," Newsom tells a clapping crowd of same-sex marriage supporters. Newsom began issuing gay marriage licenses in 2004.
Then the narrator chimes in.
"Four judges ignored four million voters and imposed same-sex marriage on California," she says, referencing the California Supreme Court's decision to overturn Prop 22, which banned gay marriage, earlier this year.
Most political consultants say it cost about $2 million to run an ad statewide in California for a week -- almost double two years ago. As such, Prop 8 could easily be the most expensive campaign in California this year. Campaign finance records as of Monday show that, pro and con combined, some $37 million have been raised in the battle over same-sex marriage.
Donors in the news
Some donors themselves have made news.
National leaders of the Mormon church have asked followers to send checks to California in favor of Prop 8, and at least another $2 million in contributions have come from other groups with strong religious views, including the Catholic service group the Knights of Columbus.
Meanwhile, opponents of Prop 8 have collected contributions from gay-rights organizations, the ACLU, labor unions such as the California Teachers Association and even a quarter-million dollars from PG&E.
The political masterminds behind the two campaigns clearly differ on whether Prop 8's ban on gay marriage is right or wrong, but they speak in similar terms about the politics.
"The Supreme Court's decision did fundamentally change the dynamics of this issue," said political consultant Frank Schubert, who heads up the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. "It used to be about tolerance and acceptance, but the court has moved it to a mandatory acceptance of it, from a legal perspective."
The No on 8 political manager, Steve Smith, disagrees with that kind of characterization but agrees the battle changed once the court allowed same-sex couples to marry.
"They're our relatives, they're our friends," Smith said. "And if that happens, more and more and people see them married, it ceases to become a thing."
Outside money flowing in
Neither side sees as important that a lot of money is coming in from outside California. Almost $10 million has come from other states, with about $6 million of that for the No on Prop 8 campaign.
Both sides also agree the kinds of Californians that vote are crucial, especially young voters.
"I think you're going to see record numbers [of voters] of under the age of 30," said Smith of No on 8. "That particular group of voters is very good for us."
The Yes on 8 campaign agrees but believes young voters may be trumped by a higher turnout of those with a more social conservative viewpoint. That could include, on this issue, Latinos and African-Americans.