California approves gay marriage ban

SAN FRANCISCO -- California voters have approved a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, overturning the state Supreme Court decision that gave gay couples the right to wed just months ago.

With almost all precincts reporting, Proposition 8 was leading by a 52%-48% margin. Its passage creates a legal limbo for thousands of same-sex couples from California and elsewhere who have been married in the past few months. Legal experts have said it will have to be resolved in court whether their unions still are valid.

On May 15, the California Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal, calling the ban discriminatory and unconstitutional. Same-sex couples were legally allowed to wed June 16. Some 18,000 gay and lesbian couples did by Tuesday, according to the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The "Yes on (Proposition) 8" campaign — calling to recognize only heterosexual marriage — had raised $35 million and sent out some 100,000 volunteers to fan the state, said Chip White, co-campaign manager. "Momentum continues to be on our side as California recognizes the serious consequences if gay marriage remains legal," White said.

The "No on 8" side had raised some $38 million and had about 10,000 volunteers, Smith said.

Dueling rallies often involved shouting and arrests. Election night was no different in Alameda, across from San Francisco.

Tim Tarasov, 25, stood on the corner of Otis Drive and Park Street hoisting a sign approving the ban in the moments before the polls closed Tuesday. Across the street stood those approving same-sex marriage. "I have two kids and a beautiful wife at home, and I believe in a marriage that's going to create happiness for the family," said Tarasov, of Sacramento. "Only one man and one woman can make that happen, because the Bible said so."

Naama Firestone, 46, a homemaker from Berkeley, said she came out to protest the ban because she married her female partner of 16 years some two weeks ago, "and I want to make sure that kids everywhere in the United States will be able to get married just like I did."

Campaign donations came in from across the USA, with evangelical Christians and Mormons donating for the constitutional amendment and gay-rights activists and such Hollywood heavies as Ellen DeGeneres and Brad Pitt donating to oppose it.

Contributing: Associated Press