Monterey Bay Area – It's seven o'clock on a Wednesday night at the Church of the Rock in Salinas, and the pews are filled with parents and kids from several area churches. Their attention is focused on the front of the church where a projection screen is showing a live state-wide simulcast about traditional marriage and involvement in the Yes on 8 Campaign. It's just one way proponents are rallying support for Proposition 8.
Pastor Jack Alesia leads the Salinas church. He says they'll also be praying, fasting and organizing a parade. This election day, the stakes are high. "Not only do we have that feeling, we're very convicted whatever happens in California happens in the rest of the nation and then ultimately the world. The United States is leading the rest of the world," said Pastor Alesia.
California does have a history of leading the way. In early 2000 after voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between a man and a woman, voters in 25 other states followed with similar amendments to their states' constitutions. Arizona voters are the only ones to ever reject such an amendment.
While the odds seem to favor of the Yes on 8 Campaign, UC Berkeley Family Law Professor Joan Hollinger says this is different than past elections. "The posture of something like Proposition 8 is not to establish something or to clarify something that has been the pattern of social, cultural and personal life in the past. The posture of Proposition 8 is to take away a right that already exists," said Hollinger.
Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court declared the voter approved Limit on Marriage amendment unconstitutional, and opened the door to same-sex marriages. So in November what voters will see on their ballot is an amendment to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.
A recent Field Poll shows 55% of California voters are leaning toward a no vote. But that hasn't slowed No on 8 Campaign volunteers in Santa Cruz. They're keeping busy with phone calls to voters and assembling yard signs.
Glen Schaller is the Campaign Manger for Santa Cruz County. He believes this election is different than in 2000 because marriage between same-sex couples is no longer theoretical. "Now that same-sex couples can get married and have gotten married, this is about real people. It's about folks who've been together for decades and now have the right to marry. It's also about young people who can now see their futures including marriage," said Schaller.
It seems many people and organizations across the nation see their future in this vote, both campaigns have been receiving endorsements and donations from out-of-state.