Prop 8 in the balance

Corrected and revised

With 95% of precincts now reporting it appears CNN’s exit poll call on Prop 8 was premature. The LA Times anticipates the gay marriage ban will win.

As of 10 a.m., with 95 percent of precincts reporting, the results show:

Yes 5,163,908 52
No 4,760,336 48%

This is from CNN’s vote tracker, here.

SFGate points out that election officials estimate there are as many as 2 million votes yet to be counted, in the form of mail-in ballots received earlier this week. Read that here.

CNN reported last night that exit polls had shown a ballot initiative to ban gay marriage in California apparently heading for a narrow defeat.

Proposition Eight eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. If it passes, it will overrule a state Supreme Court ruling in May legalizing same-sex unions.

Similar measures succeeded in Arizona and Florida, where voters approved constitutional amendments recognizing marriage as a union between one man and one woman, CNN projected.

In Arizona, where a similar measure failed in 2006, Proposition 102 passed with 56 percent. Florida voters approved the amendment by a 62-38 percent margin.

Arizona, California and Florida were the only states to weigh constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions, down from 11 states in the 2004 election.

Not all precincts in California have reported, and the vote on Proposition 8 has been tight.

In Connecticut, the ballot initiative to hold a constitution convention was defeated. As a result, the recent state supreme court decision will stand. The state will begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples November 12

President-elect Obama’s position on same-sex marriage is nuanced. According to an October 31st report in the Washington Post,

Several gay friends and wealthy gay donors to Senator Barack Obama have asked him over the years why, as a matter of logic and fairness, he opposes same-sex marriage even though he has condemned old miscegenation laws that would have barred his black father from marrying his white mother.

As a Christian — he is a member of the United Church of Christ — Mr. Obama believes that marriage is a sacred union, a blessing from God, and one that is intended for a man and a woman exclusively, according to these supporters and Obama campaign advisers. While he does not favor laws that ban same-sex marriage, and has said he is “open to the possibility” that his views may be “misguided,” he does not support it and is not inclined to fight for it, his advisers say.

Mr. Obama opposes amending state constitutions to define marriage as a heterosexual institution, describing such proposals as discriminatory…. Mr. Obama has spoken out against Proposition 8, and opponents of the measure hope that a huge Democratic turnout in California on Nov. 4 — and, possibly, depressed turnout among conservatives — will help defeat it.

Obama’s use of the courts to achieve social change is sophisticated:

What Obama [in a 2001 interview] called a tragedy was the civil rights movement’s focus on the court, rather than on “political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power….”

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