As the results roll in this Tuesday, the whole nation will be watching the judicial womb that is the state of California. The non-presidential portion of the ballot — Proposition 8 (to ban gay marriage) and Proposition K (to legalize prostitution) — takes center stage in a state Obama will win handily. We try to predict how each initiative will do, along with figuring out how many pictures of protesting prostitutes can fit in one post.Popular San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has come down hard on both proposed measures, supporting gay marriage with one hand and rallying against legalized prostitution with the other. The prospect of the decriminalization of prostitution led Newsom to point to the surrounding Tenderloin district and tell his audience, "If Prop K passes, can you imagine living here? If people really knew what was happening in these massage parlors, there would be outrage." Say what?
San Francisco’s district attorney Kamala D. Harris explains "it would put a welcome mat out for pimps and prostitutes to come on into San Francisco." Even the San Francisco Chronicle came down hard against K. Still, Prop K is getting some support from unlikely places, including Christians. Prostitutes like Alice Brown seem in favor of K, with some reservations:
"If it's decriminalized, the girls will have more rights, though it'll still be unsafe no matter what. The bad thing is that it'll bring more prostitutes out and that competition will make it harder on the girls who really need this work to survive."
Other hookers, like Mission Street's "Barbara", aren't as sanguine about the concept:
"Decriminalization would be just the first step," said Barbara, who has supported her heroin and crack addictions through prostitution most of the past 33 years. "The next thing they'd do is make us all work in special houses like they do in Nevada, then they'd start taxing it. So in the end, we'd just be paying the government instead of a pimp."
That this measure could even have a chance of passing is the real development here: decriminalization of prostitution has never been very popular outside of Vegas. Prediction: K won't pass. Then here's the higher profile gay marriage question. Although Obama holds a 22 percent lead in the state, YES on the ballot initiative to define marriage as between a man and a woman trails NO by only seven points. Both sides have been buoyed by out-of-state contributions, including $1 million from the gay founder of WordPerfect. Prediction: In the end, the polls indicate that Prop 8 will be defeated, but this may only be the beginning of state-level ballot initiatives against gay marriage. Here's the field poll, reproduced in today's San Diego Union-Tribune: