California stops gay marriage amid Obama victory

Thu Nov 6, 2008 1:45am EST
 
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By Peter Henderson and Jim Christie

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California and two other states voted in Tuesday's elections to ban same-sex marriage, dealing a blow to gays and lesbians in the left-leaning, trend-setting state months after they won their case in state court.

But in an indication of the complex cultural map drawn by the elections, voters also rejected limits on abortion in South Dakota and Colorado in a loss for social conservatives as the country elected its first black president, Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council which worked for the passage of the anti-gay marriage measures, said the wins on same-sex marriage bans signaled Obama's mandate is for economic policy, "not one to implement a radical social policy."

"What lost last night was the Republican Party, but it was not a rejection of traditional or moral values, because you have two states that voted for Barack Obama -- Florida and California -- that also passed the marriage amendments," Perkins told Reuters in a telephone interview.

California's Supreme Court had declared same-sex marriage a right in May, unleashing a flood of weddings, but the state's voters changed the Constitution to rescind the right after one of the most expensive ballot campaigns in history.

Florida and Arizona joined California in Tuesday's elections, adding to the list of dozens of states banning same-sex marriages with similar laws.

Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, won California and Florida. Rival Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain won his home state of Arizona, which in 2006 rejected a ban on same-sex marriage.

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<p>Rich Joludow wears a T-shirt at the No on 8 proposition headquarters in West Hollywood, October 29, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>