The final full week before Tuesday's
election was a busy one for campaigns attempting to win over
undecided voters on Proposition 8 – the California ballot
initiative that seeks to forbid gay marriage in the state.
On Thursday, proponents of gay marriage
in California accused the other side of a deliberate web attack
against their website, leaving opponents of the gay marriage ban
unable to raise cash as the race moved into its final lap.
“I'm certain we'll hear a lot of
denials today from the Prop 8 campaign, but this is clearly an
orchestrated attempt to tear down what has become one of the largest
grass-roots movements in California electoral history,” Patrick
Guerriero, campaign director of No on Prop 8, told the Wall Street
“Beginning last night and continuing
this morning a coordinated cyber attack on the No on Prop 8 website
prevented some donors from being able to contribute,” said a
No-On-8 campaign press release.
The No-On-8 campaign said the website
was shut down for several hours Wednesday night, following an alleged
denial-of-service attack. Officials said they had complained to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service about the
A denial-of-service attack occurs when
numerous computers on the Internet continuously request information
from a website over a prolonged period of time, the overwhelmed
computer becomes erratic, sluggish and unable to function properly,
often crashing. The attack is fairly easy to spot: If a website
traffic spike is traced back to only a handful of IP addresses (an
Internet address) resulting in slowing or stopping the service, then
it's most likely an attack. A more sophisticated attack would use a
virus to infect hundreds or even thousands of unsuspecting computers
connected to the Internet to do its dirty work, giving the initiator
A Yes-On-8 spokeswoman denied there
ever was an attack against the pro-gay camp. “There's so much
traffic on the Internet, everybody's website is having difficultly at
different times,” said Sonja Eddings Brown.
Friday's good news for gay marriage
backers was the latest Field Poll showing the gay marriage ban
failing – if only by a slight margin. The new poll showed the gay
marriage ban failing 49%- to- 44%, but that's a much lower number
than previous polls had recorded.
September's poll showed the anti-gay
initiative failing by more than seventeen points (55% No vs. 38%
The poll's demographics verified the
prevailing common wisdom about who's supporting the gay marriage ban.
The most enthusiastic group of supporters were Republicans who
prefer Senator John McCain for president (84%). A near-universal
majority of people who self-identify as strongly conservative agree
with banning gay marriage (87%). Protestants were the only religious
group that held a majority (60%) against gay marriage, and only
forty-four percent of Catholics said they were likely to vote for
From its inception, churches have
formed the backbone of the Yes-On-8 campaign, even as gay marriage
backers built a broader coalition of supporters by reaching out to
progressive churches, politicians, labor unions, corporations, gay
and lesbian rights groups and even the Hollywood elite for support.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) are credited for raising the
majority (estimates range from 46%-to-77%) of the money raised in
California to forbid gay marriage. Leading Christian-conservative
groups with strong Protestant ties also donated heavily to the
proposal to ban gay marriage.
The Yes-On-8 campaign's religious
message – that the church backs marriage and it is being threatened
by the inclusion of gay couples – resonated with many voters,
eroding the lead held by gay marriage backers.
But this week the campaign went
off-message, as gay marriage foes played a game of
Rev. Jim Garlow, who has taken a
leadership role in organizing the anti-gay marriage religious forces
in California, said gay marriage would result in the “destruction
of Western civilization.”
And earlier in the week, Tony Perkins,
president of the Washington-based Family Research Council said
California's gay marriage issue was more important than the
“In the minds of many people,
Proposition 8 is the most important thing nationally on the ballot.
We have survived bad presidents. But many, many are convinced we
will not survive this redefinition of marriage,” Perkins said.
But the winner of the contest had to be
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, who likened
gay marriage to the reign of Hitler. He told a boisterous crowd at
an official Yes-On-8 rally in Sacramento Tuesday that the church in
Germany stood by as Hitler took over.
“There was another time in history
when people, when the bell tolled,” Dacus said. “And the
question was whether or not they were going to hear it. The time was
during Nazi Germany with Adolf Hitler.”
Behind in the polls and nearing the
finish line, religious pro-Prop 8 leaders decided it was time to
Tens of thousands of people are
expected to converge on San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium Saturday for a
day-long event of praying and fasting in support of social
conservative issues including California's gay marriage ban.
“This is a spiritual battle; it must
be won in prayer,” TheCall Founder Lou Engle said in a conference
call uniting 3,000 pastors to strategize against gay marriage in
California. “We need to take away the rights of the powers of
darkness to bring this kind of resolution forward.”
But while organizers describe the event
as non-political – “We're not there to make a political
statement,” said Engle – proponents of gay marriage say it's
clearly an anti-gay political rally.
“Clearly the focus is on taking away
this right [to gay marriage],” said Dale Kelly Bankhead, a No-On-8
spokeswoman. “It seems political to us.”