California Rules on Gay Marriage Today

The protests lining the streets were a contrast to the joyful celebrations of same-sex weddings at city halls throughout California last summer. Those ceremonies were filled with a sense of hope and acceptance. Now that has given way to anger, defiance, and a war of words.

The Mormon Church has become one of the key targets of protestors after it was revealed that their members contributed millions of dollars to defeat gay marriage.

Many like Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby based in Washington, joined in the fight to pass the ban, saying it was "more important than the presidential election."

"We've picked bad presidents before, and we've survived as a nation," Perkins said. "But we will not survive if we lose the institution of marriage."

Advocates on both sides of the issue spent $83 million on the ballot campaign, the most ever on a social issue in the nation's history.

"It's a staggering amount," said Matt Coles, director of the LGBT Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed the ban. "California is a cultural trendsetter. If voters decide same-sex couples can marry, it has an enormous influence."

Other states that had gay marriage on the ballot in 2008 included Arizona and Florida. Voters in both states passed measures to amend their constitutions to specify that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage.

In Arkansas, residents approved a measure aimed at preventing gay couples from adopting children. The measure, Proposed Initiative Act 1, goes further than just barring same-sex couples from adopting; it bars any individual cohabiting outside of a valid marriage from adopting or providing foster care to minors.

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