Spit, Fists Fly at Gay Marriage Rally

Heated political debate ends in injury, arrests

Political debate may have caused about 20 people in San Mateo to get into a verbal altercation Monday, leading to at least two of the people involved to assault a 17-year-old girl, police said.

San Mateo police said five to seven people opposed to Proposition 8, which would take away the right for same-sex couples to marry, were displaying signs at the intersection of Third Avenue and Humboldt Street. Ten to 15 supporters of the proposition were displaying signs of  their own.

At about 4 p.m., an argument began between a man in his 20s and a 17-year-old girl. Police said the man knocked down the girl and hit her in the head.

Police said a man, later identified as 35-year-old Ivan Schaumkel, ran up and spit in the girl's face. A resident nearby attempted to help break up the altercation but was punched in the face by a male juvenile, police said.

The juvenile and Schaumkel were both arrested for assault. They were released but the initial suspect is still  outstanding. He is described as a Polynesian man, 6 feet 2 inches, 250  pounds, and was wearing a white T-shirt.

In San Francisco, clergy are promising a same-sex marriage marathon on Election Day.

They say they will be available to marry all couples with a California marriage license on a walk-in basis.

The wedding marathon began at 2 p.m. Monday at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, located at 1187 Franklin St.

Ceremonies will take place around the clock until the polls close  at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Two couples tied the night Monday night.

The battle over gay marriage in California has turned into one of the most expensive social issue campaigns in U.S. history.

Campaign finance records show the money spent for and against Proposition 8 -- the ballot initiative that would outlaw same-sex marriage in California -- has surpassed $73 million.

That's almost twice the total that was spent in the 24 states where similar measures were put to voters since 2004.

As of Monday, opponents of Proposition 8 had a slight lead in contributions, with nearly $38 million raised.

Supporters of the gay marriage ban had raised nearly $36 million.

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