Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Prop. 8 Decision Could Bolster Newsom

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Today's ruling by the California Supreme Court upholding the state's ban on gay marriages could well be a political victory for the gubernatorial campaign of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the highest profile supporter of gay marriage in the Golden State.

The decision by the Court means that opponents of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage and passed by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin last November, will almost certainly push for a vote to repeal the measure in 2010.

Such a move will allow Newsom, who as mayor of San Francisco issued marriage certificates to gay and lesbian couples, to keep the issue at the forefront of voters' minds in advance of next year's Democratic primary where the vast majority of likely voters oppose Prop. 8.

"Newsom's campaign is predicated around the 'courage' message -- the courage to take on the gay rights subject at a time when many others would not," said California-based Democratic strategist Chris Lehane. "The unfortunate decision keeps the issue very much in the public spotlight and will allow him to continue to drive the courage profile -- that said, to ultimately benefit he needs to be able to seen as courageous not just on gay marriage."

Newsom's campaign downplayed the political element of the ruling as consultant Garry South said that his candidate "didn't view this issue in a political context when took the courageous action he did in 2004, and he is not going to view this disappointing court decision in a political context, either."

Interestingly, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, chose to praise Newsom -- backhandedly -- while taking a shot at the role state Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, played in the Prop. 8 process. "It is no surprise that Jerry Brown politicized and abused his latest position in an unprecedented way in order to play political catch-up with Gavin Newsom," said Poizner.

Worth noting: most polling shows Brown as the favorite in the Democratic primary, which may explain Poizner's decision to go after him.

Also worth noting: Brown was the plaintiff in the case before the California Supreme Court and will do everything he can not to cede the issue to Newsom.

While the ruling further emphasizes Newsom's liberal credentials to the very liberal voters who will decide the identity of the party's gubernatorial nominee next year, it isn't without political risk for the mayor.

Supporters of Proposition 8 used Newsom's words against him in ads last year, prompting worries from some Democratic strategists that if the San Francisco mayor was the party's nominee in 2010 it could have a chilling effect on outreach to moderates turned off by his outspoken support of gay marriage.

The California Supreme Court ruling today and near certain ballot initiative fight in 2010 over gay marriage virtually ensures that it will be a major part of any general election debate for governor in 2010. Republicans, then, will almost certainly try to cast Newsom as a product of the radical left, not able to understand the concerns and interests of people living outside of San Francisco.

Today's ruling points Newsom (yet again) squarely in the political spotlight. What he does with this opportunity will be a telling sign of whether or not he can overtake Brown in next year's primary.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 26, 2009; 5:04 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Governors  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sotomayor For SCOTUS: What It Means
Next: White House Cheat Sheet: GOP Weighs Strategy on Court Fight


Given the fact that this thread is off the "front page" (and all of the posts I've gotten on the newer thread I linked to), it's no surprise people have moved on.

Posted by: JakeD | May 28, 2009 5:45 AM | Report abuse

If anyone else (who is willing to answer MY questions in a civil manner) wants to debate the issues


Your reputation precedes you, Jake. Too many here have seen your behavior to take your pretense to civility at all seriously.

And more often than not your questions are nothing more than loaded baiting, and often not even questions at all.

Atop that, you're blazingly stupid.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 27, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I was simply updating this thread with the latest poll results, in contradiction to "Prop. 8 Decision Could Bolster Newsom" and all the other claimed "good" that came out of yesterday's decision. If anyone else (who is willing to answer MY questions in a civil manner) wants to debate the issues, please post any question you may have of me on the new thread : )

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Jake, you DO understand that we live in a republic, right? And one hopes that someone who graduated SCL from Stanford (*snicker*) would know that one difference between a democracy and a republic is that the majority cannot vote away the rights of a minority.

So you can quote all the hopefully and carefully-chosen polls you like, but the fact of the matter is that civil rights are not a popularity contest. The momentum of this advance is indisputable, and even so the "popularity" is headed in our direction too.

Better get used to it.

Now let's see you explain how a marriage between two gay men on the other side of town threatens your heterosexual one (presuming for argument that your wife is any more real than your law degree).

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 27, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Asked whether "marriages between same-sex couples" should or shouldn't be "recognized by the law as valid", 40 percent of the sample said those unions should be valid while 57 percent said they should not.

Those number are essentially unchanged from a May 2008 Gallup survey but less optimistic for proponents of gay marriage than a May 2007 poll in which 46 percent said same sex marriages should be valid while 53 percent said they should not.

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Good point, RobT1. They are simply waiting for us to die, though, too.


No, you can go on living, and you should live long enough to see your traditional Ozzie an' Harriet paradigm supplanted by something that "adulterates" it with equality.

Even with such dramatic advance in so short a time, the "backlash" you cavemen keep predicting has wholly failed to materialize.

Not even the American Al Qaida is getting too energized by it, they're too outraged-fatigued from pretending that getting their taxes lowered is a tax increase and from pretending that Obama is some sort of agrarian Communist. Self-deception is hard work!

The advance is headed toward the critical mass, the overthrow of the DoMA, and a likely federal law making marriage equality the law of the land.

And there STILL won't be a big backlash, save in the rural south where a few vicious murders and acts of domestic terrorism will tarnish views like yours from "nasty and undesirable" to "completely outside the pale."

Better get used to it. Your side lost, troll.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 27, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

You do realize that Prop. 8 was UPHELD, right?

Posted by: JakeD


You do realize that the dominoes are falling FAST, right? Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont ... where's your precious backlash, son?

(shades eyes, rotates head)


Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 27, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Send Newsom down to Bakerfield to campaign and take bets if he gets out alive. This is yet another example of why you don't put the inmates in charge of the asylum.

Posted by: NotBubba | May 27, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Good point, RobT1. They are simply waiting for us to die, though, too.

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I think what bothers gay marriage supporters so much about Prop 8 is the fact that when the people are given the opportunity to vote they always vote to protect traditional marriage. Even in a state as liberal as California traditional marriage passed with a 4% majority even with the California media and varior liberal a pro-gay special interest groups. These groups also know that if the states that have passed gay marriage through judicial fiat or liberal Democratic legislators were to put it to a vote of their citizens it would be voted down.

Posted by: RobT1 | May 27, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, this decision essentially declares that in California, the majority gets to decide which rights the minority gets to have. If you're a Californian, you better stay on the right side of the majority, if you know what's good for you. If one minority can have their rights voted away, than any minority can.

Newsom was right on the money on this issue, history will vindicate him, and justice will ultimately prevail, "whether you like it or not". But it won't help Newsom next year -- Brown will blow him out of the water on name recognition alone.

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | May 27, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Jerry Brown has already been Governor of California. Does their state constitution allow him to run again?

Posted by: ankhorite | May 27, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

L.A. Mayor, Antonio Villarigosa, was in West Hollywood obviously running for Governor on this issue as well.

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse


You do realize that Prop. 8 was UPHELD, right?

Posted by: JakeD | May 26, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD


better get used to it, gooper.

You're gonna hear it a lot for the next sixteen years.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 26, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Either Whitman or Campbell would beat Newsome.

Posted by: JakeD | May 26, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand how many LGBT voters are in Newsom's corner. As was pointed out, Newsom's "whether you like it or not" comments were used to great effectiveness by the Yes on 8 group. I feel it did a lot to turn off more moderate voters...nobody, especially here in the "leave me alone " state of CA. wants to be told they have to accept something whether they like it or not .
However I do have to say I saw Newsom on "Real Time with Bill Maher" recently and he is no radical, very articulate and has some good ideas. If Jerry Brown falters, he's a good second.

Posted by: pb185 | May 26, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | May 26, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Or it could help doom him. If California elects him as governor, they deserve the dirtstorm they would get. Sure, Arnold isn't much of a jewel but Newsom is a nuisance.

Posted by: miyago123 | May 26, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

As Attorney General, Jerry Brown was not the "plaintiff" in the case ("petitioners" were the homosexual couples seeking a writ of mandate). Now, if you want to call AG Brown a "homosexual" go right ahead (not that there's anything wrong with that ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 26, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

By upholding Proposition 8; Gay Marriage Ban, the court has affirmed?

A. The rights of the Majority over the Minority

B. 'Marriage' is the union & right reserved for opposite sex


Posted by: usadblake | May 26, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company