It seems like everyone is saying that Prop 8 passed because people were confused about the wording.
In other words, if a person went into the polls thinking, "I support gay marriage," they might think "I say 'yes' to gay marriage; that means 'Yes' on Prop 8."
For argument's sake, let's assume that's true; that the wording of Prop 8 was confusing.
Well, then, a person who went into the polls thinking "I say 'no' to gay marriage" might vote "No" on Prop 8.
Those confused people would cancel each other out.
Prop 8's passing cannot be blamed on people being confused.
Now, to the other point: was the Prop confusing?
Here is what the ballot said:
"8: ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.
INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
YES -> O
NO -> O
Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments."
I am sorry to say, that wording is quite clear. Even if you were confused by the signs and bumper stickers you saw around, once you had that ballot in front of you in your chosen language, you were confronted with "ELIMINATES RIGHT."
Do you want to ELIMINATE THE RIGHTS of people, YES or NO?
Especially when you compare it to the wording of other Props:
"7: RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE."
This sounds good, right? But it was a poor plan for renewable energy, and it wasn't supported by environmental groups. The People knew to vote No, and they did.
"4: WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR'S PREGNANCY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT."
Interesting. You'd think the people who voted Yes on 8 would have liked this one. But 52% of Californians voted NO.
So which one was "confusing?"
To end on a good note, however, let's look at the last time Californians voted on a gay marriage ban: March 2000.
That year, 38% of Californians voted "NO" to banning gay marriage.
This year, the number was 48%. Looks like progress to me!
The tide is turning!
(I can't help it; I'm an optimist)