Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Obama wins, unfortunately so does Prop 8 in California

Barack Obama is President-Elect and will become the 44th President of the US next January - it is a good result. Blog poll coverage is here (FiveThirtyEight) and the BBC coverage is here. I watched the evening's events in the US until a little after 3am GMT this morning, when it had become pretty clear Obama would win even if he hadn't yet reached the magic barrier of 270 Electoral College votes - I went to sleep happy.

Against this happiness, however, is the news from California that State Proposition 8 has succeeded with 3,854,984 (53.1 per cent) voting for it and 3,168,671 (46.9 per cent) opposing it, although as I've been watching the figures have been slowly changing, indicating that not all results are yet in, but if anything the scale of the defeat (for the 'no' vote) seems to be growing slightly - but see UPDATES below. As a result the right of same-sex couples to marry, granted by the California State Supreme Court only a few months ago, has been eliminated. If you compare the results map on that page, with the map of the California results for US President, the split between most of the coastal counties (Obama) and the inland counties (McCain) is starkly clear - with some of the crucial coastal or near-coastal counties (such as Orange County, Merced County, Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Sacramento County, Yolo County and Lake County) supporting Obama for President, but nevertheless supporting Proposition 8 to eliminate some citizens' rights); social liberality seems very much to be a function of being near the ocean.

UPDATE: (08.55 GMT) The Prop 8 result in California seems to be evolving, with the gap becoming somewhat narrower, so perhaps the final result will be less bad (if not different overall) than I had feared - visit the Prop 8 results page to see the latest position. (10.09 GMT) So far about 80.9 per cent of the votes are in, with the margin continuing to narrow, but probably not by enough. (13.54 GMT) Voters in both Florida and Arizona have voted to outlaw gay marriage in these two States.

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