After several weeks of trailing in the
polls and at a financial disadvantage, gay marriage backers in
California appear to have regained their lead against supporters of Proposition 8 – the ballot initiative that seeks to forbid gay
marriage in the state once more.
A new poll released Wednesday by the
Public Policy Institute of California reports that 52% of likely
voters surveyed opposed Proposition 8 while 44% supported it. But
the San Francisco-based institute found a higher percentage of voters
opposed to banning gay marriage in September, when 55% of responders
said they opposed the measure and 41% favored it.
The new poll was welcome news for gay
marriage backers who had been stunned by back-to-back weekly polls
showing the gay marriage ban winning – if only by a thin margin.
The latest Oct. 17 CBS/SurveyUSA poll showed a majority of
voters in favor of the measure 48% to 45%.
Donations to fight the gay marriage ban
in Calif. have also dramatically increased over the past several
weeks; No-On-8 reported raising $11 million in the first 21/2 weeks
of October. And that does not include $3 million in new donations –
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, chat show host Ellen
DeGeneres and Hollywood filmmaker George Lucas included.
Apple Corp. announced on Friday it
would make a $100,000 donation in support of gay marriage saying,
“Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a
political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against
Proposition 8,” in a statement.
The new donations have helped the
No-On-8 campaign erase a $10 million lead held by Prop. 8 supporters.
The two groups have raised a combined $60 million to decide the gay
marriage issue in California.
ProtectMarriage.com, the primary backer
of Proposition 8, said it had raised only $2.4 million in October.
“The Yes on 8 campaign is being
supported by regular Californians from every corner of the state who
believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” said campaign
spokesman Chip White. “But make no mistake, if the other side
continues fundraising at this rate, and the Yes side does not kick
fundrasing into high gear, we are going to be overrun.”
An aggressive Yes-On-8 fundraising
effort that threatened to “out” some three dozen No-On-8
contributors if they did not give an equal contribution to the Yes
campaign, underscored the newly-found financial peril of the Yes-On-8
“Make a donation of a like amount to
ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error,” reads a
Yes-On-8 letter revealed this week. “Were you to elect not to
donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in
opposition to traditional marriage. ... The names of any companies
and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to
ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be
This is not the first time Yes forces
have used strong-arm tactics to get their message across. The
campaign's decision to place school children at the center of the gay
marriage debate has been described as “despicable” by the No-On-8
“Prop. 8 has nothing to do with
schools or kids,” said Geoff Kors, No-On-8 executive committee
member. “The Prop. 8 campaign continues to use scare tactics and
lies to bolster their campaign. It's despicable that children are
being used for political gain.”
But gay marriage foes insist that
without the gay marriage ban school children will be taught gay
marriage in public schools.
“Not only do the organizations
leading the No on 8 campaign want gay marriage, under the guise of
'diversity', taught in public schools, they believe it is important
to teach it at the earliest possible age,” Yes-On-8 Campaign
Manager Frank Schubert said in a statement.
Gay marriage backers countered with a
tough new television commercial this week, where California State
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell says, “Our
schools aren't required to teach anything about marriage. And using
kids to lie about that is shameful.”
The ad reminds Californians that
virtually every major newspaper opposes the gay marriage ban, and
even the state's largest teachers union, the California Teachers
Association, disagrees with Prop. 8.