Voters in South Dakota and California rejected proposals that would have limited abortions, but all propositions aimed at declaring marriage as between one man and one woman passed, even in California, where an unprecedented amount of money was spent by homosexual advocates to oppose the pro-marriage Proposition 8.
Voters in Colorado rejected by a margin of about three to one a measure defining a person to "include any human being from the moment of fertilization," which would have applied to sections of the Colorado Constitution that protect "natural and essential rights of persons."
South Dakota voters rejected by a 44 to 56 margin a proposal to prohibit abortions except in cases of rape or incest or where the mother's life or health is at risk. A similar measure that did not include exceptions for rape or the health of the mother lost on the ballot in 2006.
Voters in Michigan voted in favor of amending the state constitution to permit human embryonic stem cell research with certain restrictions. The embryos, which must have been created for fertility treatment purposes, would have to have been discarded otherwise, and may not be used more than 14 days after cell division has begun.
Results are still pending for California's Proposition 4, which requires physicians to provide parental notification to guardians of minors at least 48 hours before performing an abortion, but by early Wednesday Prop 4, also known as "Sarah's Law" was trailing by a margin of 52.6-47.4 after 79% of the precincts were counted.
Florida voters approved by 62-38 an amendment adding language to the state constitution that will define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Florida already has a prohibition against gay marriage in state law, but supporters say the new definition was important to prevent court rulings allowing same-sex marriage like those in Massachusetts, California and Connecticut.
In Arizona, Proposition 102, which will constitutionally establish marriage as only between one man and one woman, passed with 56 percent of the vote. A similar measure failed in 2006.
In Arkansas, 57 percent of voters supported a measure to prohibit unmarried sexual partners from adopting children or from serving as foster parents. The measure specifies that the prohibition applies to opposite-sex as well as same-sex couples. Since same-sex partners cannot be legally married in the southern state, adoption will be permanently barred for same-sex couples.
But probably the most emblematic victory is the almost certain victory of Proposition 8, which would enshrine marriage as only between one man and one woman in the California constitution.
One early Wednesday, with 80% of the precincts counted, Yes on 8 was leading 52-48. The heated campaign fueled by a record $73 million of spending -most of it on the part of pro-homosexual marriage – began four and a half months ago, when the California Supreme Court declared homosexual marriage as legal. During that legal "window," some 14,000 homosexual couples have procured a marriage license.
Another significant aspect of the pro-marriage victory is that the Yes on 8 campaign prevailed despite being heavily outspent and trailing by 17 points early in the campaign. "We caused Californians to rethink this issue," Proposition 8 strategist Jeff Flint told the Los Angeles Times. "We made them realize that there are broader implications to society and particularly the children when you make that fundamental change that's at the core of how society is organized, which is marriage," he added.
Finally, Washington State seems poised to become the second state to legalize assisted suicide. On early Wednesday, about 58 percent of voters had approved Initiative 1000, which will allow terminally ill people who have been given six months or less to live to ask their doctor for a fatal dose of medicine, which they would self-administer.
Supporters say the initiative would give sick people at the end of their lives the right to control what happens to their bodies. Opponents have argued that the initiative doesn’t honor the sanctity of life, and could result in pressure for vulnerable people to commit suicide instead of choosing medical care that could prolong their lives.
As a side note, measure K, which would have decriminalized prostitution in San Francisco (CA), require the city to stop enforcing prostitution laws and restricted resources to anti-prostitution programs, lost 58-42.