Feinstein silent on Prop 8
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Less than two months before California voters decide whether to amend the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriages, former San Francisco Mayor and current U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein appears to be silent on Prop 8.
Her official Web site has no statements regarding the controversial ballot measure. By press time Wednesday, September 10 her press office had yet to respond to the Bay Area Reporter 's request for comment on Prop 8 from Feinstein.
Feinstein's relationship with the LGBT community has had rough patches over the past several years. In 2005, Feinstein, who's reportedly considering running for governor, received San Francisco Pride's Pink Brick award, which is bestowed upon groups and individuals who've run afoul of the community or pushed for antigay measures.
The award resulted from Feinstein's suggestion after Democratic U.S. Senator John Kerry lost his 2004 presidential bid that Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to allow same-sex couples to marry that year had played a role in Kerry's defeat.
Shortly after the election that year, she was quoted in the New York Times as saying that Newsom's decision to buck state law at the time and allow same-sex couples to marry was "too much, too fast, too soon."
This August, Feinstein acknowledged to the San Francisco Chronicle that she's considering a run for governor in 2010, the paper reported. That race is also likely to include Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, both of whom have been vocal Prop 8 opponents.
At the No on 8 campaign kickoff Saturday, Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, which is part of the coalition working to defeat the measure, said he didn't know if Feinstein had issued a statement on it. But he said he believes the campaign will have "strong support" from both Feinstein and fellow U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-San Francisco).
In an August 11 letter to Dale Kelly Bankhead, No on 8 campaign manager, Boxer wrote, "I am pleased to endorse the No on Proposition 8 campaign to promote equality and fairness for all Californians.
"Proposition 8 is a mean-spirited effort which will hurt so many Californians. I urge my fellow Californians to vote no on Proposition 8."
Boxer joins a long list of elected officials in the state who, according to the No on 8 campaign, are opposed to the measure. Along with Newsom and Villaraigosa, opponents include Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; state Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata; state Assembly Speaker Karen Bass; San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders; and Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo.
Kevin Johnson, the former basketball player now running against Fargo for mayor of Sacramento, announced Wednesday his opposition to Prop 8.
"Being a responsible leader and protecting California's constitution means opposing Proposition 8," Johnson said in a statement. "It means voting No on Proposition 8 and not allowing our constitution to be vandalized by discrimination."
"Like many other public leaders, from Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, I have my own personal religious belief about marriage," he continued. "That's my own personal belief, something I would never, ever impose on others."