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Tracking COVID-19 at UCLADance Disassembled: Seeing Beyond the Curtain

Proposition 8 passes, amending California constitution on marriage

By Max Schneider

Nov. 5, 2008 1:32 a.m.

The results of Proposition 8 ““ a highly anticipated and contentious initiative ““ was passed long after the polls closed Tuesday night.

Students involved in campaign efforts for both sides closely followed the reports coming in from state precincts.

The controversial proposition would amend the California Constitution to make only a marriage between a man and a woman recognized by the state.

Just 36 hours prior to election night, Alvaro Day was on Landfair Avenue, handing out fliers to urge students to vote for the proposition.

The third-year political science and history student said that he opposes same-sex marriage because he is concerned that it would enable the court system, and not the public, to decide various ramifications of the bill ““ including whether churches would lose their tax-exempt status by refusing to marry a gay couple.

“The courts will become the new legislators without having that check by the people,” he said.

“Judicial activism is very dangerous. You can’t have four people deciding to overrule the will of the people.”

Day said that he is worried that the decision on Proposition 8 will affect freedom of religion because judges may side against churches in court cases.

“Time and time again, civil rights always trump freedom of religion in the courts,” he said.

Day, who has campaigned actively for the cause, said he was motivated by another more personal factor: his religious beliefs.

An active Christian, Day said that marriage is a religious institution defined in a context that does not condone homosexuality.

“Different verses in the Bible … clearly spell out that homosexuality is not something that God looks nicely upon,” he said.

If same-sex marriage becomes accepted, it may set up a precedent of moral decadence, Day added.

While Day was campaigning in Westwood on Tuesday, Calvin Cheng was just blocks away, urging voters to reject Proposition 8 while standing 100 feet from the polls on Weyburn Avenue.

The second-year linguistics student said that he felt a special connection to the issue because he is gay and hopes to marry someday.

He said that he used to joke about the prospect of having to move to such countries as Spain or Canada that allow same-sex marriage in order to get married.

But he said that Proposition 8 made him actually consider pursuing this idea.

“It could well affect where I decide to live my life,” Cheng said.

He said that he also opposed the proposed amendment because he believes that it reneges on basic human rights.

“What I’m really looking for is equality here,” he said.

“It’s not an issue of ideology. it’s an issue of fundamental rights.”

Cheng said that he has campaigned heavily in the past week and decided to put forth the time because he hoped that if California took a stand on endorsing same-sex marriage, other states would soon follow suit.

“California is well-known for setting precedents,” he said.

“If Prop. 8 is (passed), it sends a sign to the rest of the nation that if California can’t do it, then maybe (they) can’t either.”

Barbara Sinclair, a UCLA professor emeritus of political science, agreed that whether or not the proposition passed in this state would impact those seeking to legitimize same-sex marriage elsewhere in the country.

“(California is) seen as a sort of cultural leader,” Sinclair said.

She added that if the proposition is rejected, it will be read as showing the increasing tolerance that Americans have for same-sex marriage.

Sitting in his dorm room on election night, Cheng said that regardless of the result of Proposition 8, the struggle for same-sex marriage to become accepted into mainstream society is still underway.

“Whatever happens now, the fight for social equality for the queer community is not over,” he said.

“Our work isn’t finished yet.”

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Max Schneider
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