No on 8 Reaches Out to Crucial Minority Voters

Minority voters could make or break California's proposed marriage ban on Election Day. As efforts to overturn the state supreme court's May ruling come to a head, the campaign to keep marriage equality is at its peak for a third of the electorate.

BY Michelle Garcia

October 30 2008 12:00 AM ET

As Californians
prepare to vote November 4 on a ballot initiative
that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, efforts
to court the state's racial minorities have expanded.
Black, Latino, and Asian voters make up 30% of
California's electorate and could well tip the scales on
Proposition 8 in either direction.

Asian Americans,
who constitute 6% of the state's voters, are the only
racial group in which a majority of decided voters (48%
versus 42%) oppose the ban, according to an October 17
poll by Survey USA. Asians tend to eschew party
affiliations and vote independently, says the Public
Policy Institute of California. As with other racial groups,
No on Prop. 8 has been attempting to garner the most
support possible from Asians with PSAs, fliers, and
targeted events.

Asian American
politicians and public figures gathered in San Francisco
and Los Angeles on Thursday for a press conference opposing
the ban.

State assembly
member Mike Eng debunked the claim that Prop. 8 is needed
to protect ministers and churches who refuse to sanction
same-sex marriage.

"I happen to care
deeply about churches," said Eng, adding that as a
young man he had considered becoming a minister himself. "I
know that religious freedom is very important, and
that’s why I want to tell you categorically
that there is no church, no rabbi, no priest, no
minister, no layperson of the clergy that will be threatened
under the current law as laid down by the California
supreme court, which Proposition 8 seeks to destroy."

Eng added that
churches would not lose their tax-exempt status, nor could
they be sued for refusing to officiate gay weddings.

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