Bay Area Awaits Word on Gay Marriage Proposition

Streets in the Castro District filled Tuesday night.

Voting is just about complete and Bay Area residents on both sides of  Proposition 8, the statewide initiative that would eliminate the right of  same-sex couples to marry, are awaiting election results with bated breath.

Street corners throughout San Francisco were lined for much of the day with people holding up "No on 8" signs.

It was back in 2004 when Mayor Gavin Newsom ignited a  firestorm of controversy and started a court battle by allowing same-sex couples to wed.

He was just months into his first term, and the decision sparked a firestorm of controversy and a swell of couples to flock to City Hall to tie the knot.

City leaders have held numerous press conferences opposing the  initiative in recent weeks as the "Protect Marriage" campaign aired ads in  favor of Proposition 8 featuring a video clip of Newsom shouting "It's gonna  happen. Whether you like it or not."

Outside City Hall this week, there have been verbal exchanges between Proposition 8 opponents and proponents of the initiative, who drove in circles around the block to show their support.

On the Peninsula, a scuffle broke out in San Mateo Monday  afternoon between members of competing rallies for and against Proposition 8.  At least two people were slightly injured, police said.

Proposition 8 campaign signs have been stolen from lawns  throughout the Bay Area, and several instances of vandalism related to the  initiative were reported in San Jose.

In a show of quiet support for same-sex marriage, the First  Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco kept its doors open overnight  to accommodate any couples wanting to marry.

Executive director Nancy Evans said only a handful of couples  showed up, but that one minister stayed up all night just in case.

"The church thinks it is very important that all individuals have  equal dignity, respect and fairness," Evans said. "We consider this a  compelling justice issue."

Opponents of the initiative have argued that voters should ensure  that marriage remain between a man and a woman. The campaign's ads raise the  concern that same-sex marriage will be taught in schools, a claim the state's  top education officials have refuted.

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