by Chelsea Ritchie
Last week, while voters were casting their votes in mass numbers for Barack Obama in the presidential race, a different vote was counted and pronounced. California’s controversial Proposition 8 passed, making gay marriage illegal in the state. (For more on Proposition 8 and gay rights, please see: "California's Proposition 8's TV Ads" and "The Story, the Truth and Fred Phelps.") Basically the proposition bans the right of same-sex couples to marry, nulls the bonds of those already married, and overrules Proposition 22. The vote was 52.5% in favor and 47.5% against, although those percentages don't include absentee and provisional ballots.
Why have the media covered so little of this topic? While my classmates argue over the future under president-elect Obama and whether his policies are adequate, I can’t help but to wonder why the media have said so little about Proposition 8. After all, this is the highest- funded campaign on any state ballot (a combined total of $73.4 million). Clearly the media frenzy for Obama’s campaign has been shown all over CNN, ABC, NBC, and other major television news networks.
Perhaps being a Californian, I feel compelled to research but I found that while I was in California I didn't see much information about what Prop. 8 proposed. ProtectMarriage.com, a major organization which sponsored the Prop. 8 ballot, cleverly made the campaign into voting for Prop. 8 to “protect ourselves and children.” Contrasting that position, the ads against Prop. 8 hardly used “gay,” or “lesbian” and I think the ads actually looked so similar that one could easily confuse what Prop. 8 did. Since May 15, Proposition 22 has allowed same sex marriages and I have never felt the need to “protect myself.” I did the research and saw what exactly Prop. 8 petitioned, but my fellow Californians may not have. My good friend Remie even told me she was proud to vote for Prop. 8 because she wanted to protect gay marriages. What she really did was vote to ban it. It’s this kind of confusion that probably changed the voter outcome for or against Prop. 8.
There needs to be more awareness about this proposition and I blame the limited coverage of the media to the passing of this petition. It is the responsibility of our news anchors, newspaper columnists, radio DJ’s and bloggers to spread the awareness. Yes, it is also the voter’s responsibility to research before you vote, but many people rely on the mainstream media to deliver the facts. Just because the media were occupied with the presidential election is not an excuse to barely show a proposition this big.
(The photo shows a post-election protest by those against California's Proposition 8 in San Francisco. The photo is by ingridtaylar via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license. For more on this topic please see these posts on the iVoryTowerz blog: "Isn't Love All You Need?" and "California: Prop 8 Turns Back the Clock.")
California Proposition 8
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