It is a disappointment that all four state-level anti-gay campaigns, campaigns based on intellectually iffy and oftentimes dishonest messaging, were successful. Considering the magnitude of the deception and propaganda, I think it says something about the shift in public opinion about this issue that the "marriage defense" campaigns actually were not more successful than they were. Considering the fact that "marriage defense" groups routinely cite the gay and lesbian population at something like 1-2%, that almost 50% of California voters opposed Prop 8 means that the vast majority of supporters of same-sex marriage are heterosexuals.
What also gives me a glimmer of hope is that we seem to be losing less badly with these initiatives over time. Let's remember, for instance, back in 2000 and 2004 when marriage amendments passed by much greater margins than they did this year (with a high of Mississippi's whopping 86%!) Yes, the outcomes definitely depends on the state we're in- it's no surprise to anyone when marriage amendments pass in the Confederacy- but public opinion overall is shifting. Virtually every major (and many minor) newspapers in California opposed Prop 8 as did Barack Obama, California's Republican governor, and other Republicans Against 8. That being said, I still believe that the civil rights of minority citizens should not be up for majority vote and that it is profoundly un-American to restrict people's rights in constitutional documents that are usually used to grant people's rights.
In short, I remain hopeful for the future. Our side certainly isn't going to let up anytime soon. And, unlike our current divisive President, we the people have just elected Barack Obama, a leader who opposes DOMA, opposes constitutional marriage amendments, favors gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, and favors protections for same-sex couples.
January 20, 2009 is a new day.