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More than 10 million Americans in three states voted to deny marriage rights to gay and lesbian people. New additions of Florida, Arizona and California bring the number of states with constitutional bans to 30. However, in California, not just gay rights, but civil rights as a whole suffered a bitter defeat. In the most culturally influential state, for the first time, voters rescinded previously granted rights. While this decision is still undergoing judicial review, if it were to stand, it would give the majority unprecedented power. The court system has always served in the past to protect minorities as well as constitutional ideals. This public override of a court decision represents a clear shift of power away from the courts and constitutions, and onto the tyranny of the majority.
The history of civil rights movements is full of setbacks, said Lorri Jean, a member of the No on 8 executive committee. "This is a temporary defeat," she said. "I don't have the slightest doubt in my mind that we ultimately will win the freedom to marry, and that it will be the law of the land in this country, not in just these few states."
However Frank Schubert, who managed the Yes on 8 campaign noted same-sex marriage supporters had big advantages in 2008, saying that "[Gay marriage supporters] had everything going for them, they had a big Democratic turnout year. They had the skewed (ballot) language that it 'Eliminates rights.' They had the advantage of a No vote. In the future they are going to have to campaign in favor of same-sex marriage as an affirmative policy of the state of California, that we should substitute same sex marriage for traditional marriage. It's going to be enormously difficult for them to do."
Whether the battle for same sex marriage has reached its final verdict or not, this decision, if not overturned by the court system, will not be forgotten lightly, as it is representative of...