SPECIAL REPORT: Industry Responds to Prop. 8 Passage

SPECIAL REPORT: Industry Responds to Prop. 8 Passage
Christopher Karwowski
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The passage of Proposition 8 drew swift response from the adult industry.

Michael Lucas, president of Lucas Entertainment who recently wed his partner, Richard Winger at a private ceremony in Los Angeles last week explained his displeasure.

"I am disappointed about the approval of this blatantly homophobic proposition," Lucas told XBIZ. "However, I have confidence that it's only a matter of time until we see it overturned."

Six same-sex couples filed suit at the California Supreme Court in an attempt to have the vote discarded, arguing that the measure is an illegal constitutional revision.

The legal status of those already wed is unclear.

Joel Hastings, a resident of Seattle was one of the first to wed in May. His partner and he chose Palm Springs, Calif., to tie the knot, even though their home state of Washington does not recognize their union.

"Legal opinions are conflicted, with confusion about the difference of out-of-state and in-state marriages," Hastings told XBIZ.

"The marriage stands for now, but legal challenges are expected from both sides. In-state residents are likely to remain recognized as married, but it is uncertain."

Hastings added "what's astonishing to me was the massive turn out for the election and the huge margins for Obama. The nation and California seem to have said that the GLBT votes don't count."

The passage of the proposition creates an especially difficult legal challenge. Those who legally wed prior to the vote may face a situation where their married status is actively stripped from them retroactively.

Preemptive measures in both Florida and Arizona have passed, even though those states do not currently permit gay and lesbian unions.

The legislative battle was by far the most expensive initiative in recent history with an estimated $74 million spent by both sides. In an unusual move, several prominent California companies, including Google, Apple, PG&E and Yahoo all contributed funds to fight the ban. Major state newspapers and the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego all publicly opposed the measure.

Proposition 8, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman received 52 percent of the vote with approximately 95 percent of precincts reporting, making the initiative's passage a certainty.

Same-sex unions were legalized in California on May 15 when the state Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22 that was passed in 2000. That proposition defined marriage as only between a male and a female. The court ruled that Proposition 22 violated the state's constitutional requirement that gay and lesbian individuals receive equal treatment.

The battle over Proposition 8 was contentious due to the fact that the state had permitted gay and lesbian marriage for four and a half months. An estimated 18,000 couples wed during that period. The legality of those unions is now in doubt.

Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only states in the U.S. that recognize same-sex marriage, however, those unions are not recognized by other states or the federal government.

Due to the Defense of Marriage Act, federal courts do not bestow marital status to gay and lesbian couples.

Vermont, New Jersey, and New Hampshire have authorized legal unions that are defined as offering all the rights and responsibilities of marriage under state (though not federal) law to same-sex couples.

Maine, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Oregon and Washington have created legal unions for same-sex couples that offer varying, but fewer rights of marriage under the law.

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