“Those words hurt,” Duran said. “It broke our stride.”
The third turning point came a few weeks later, when California U.S. Dianne Feinstein appeared in a “No on 8” TV ad. “Senator Feinstein, as a well-known Democratic moderate, helped rescue us,” Duran said.
Whether or not “No on 8” somehow prevails, Duran expects further skirmishes with anti-gay forces. “We’ll be back against the same enemies in two years,” he predicted. “We already know they’re sniffing around to ban gay adoption.”
What none of the gay community leaders fully understood on Election Night, though, was the unusual role some normally liberal areas were playing in the Proposition 8 battle. Exit polls cited by the Los Angeles Times showed black voters favoring the ban by roughly 70 to 30 percent, and Latinos slightly favoring the ban. In Los Angeles County alone, the preliminary results from election officials showed 20,806 more “yes” than “no” votes for the measure. That number could grow because a few hundred thousand provisional and absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said that voter turnout in the county would be an “all-time, record high” of 82 or 83 percent.
The “Yes on 8” campaign, in the meantime, couldn’t back up its victory announcement. When L.A. Weekly asked “Yes on 8” campaign spokesman Chip White which were the key counties for the Proposition 8 win, he replied, “I don’t have that breakdown for you” — but numerous Central Valley counties appeared to have led the votes in favor of Prop. 8.
As the “No on 8” campaign party was winding down, Peter Capozzi stood inside the Music Box Theater just a few feet from the stage, where Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was waxing poetic, telling disappointed gays and lesbians that on “other side of midnight is a new dawn.”
Capozzi, a West Hollywood resident and openly gay man, had been a volunteer on the campaign for several weeks. He looked around the room, with a long face. So many of my friends are here,” he said, “and they worked so hard. I feel bad for them.”
He was “thrilled” about Senator Barack Obama winning the presidential race, and he even thought an Obama administration would be good for the gay community, but Capozzi was still hurt about the Proposition 8 results that were projected on the big screens above him.
“I feel this fear and bigotry that’s swirling around me and my friends,” he said.
For Capozzi, the vote wasn’t so much a denouncement of same-sex marriage but a personal attack against him and the gay community. Only a possible defeat of Prop. 8 would change some of those feelings.