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Proposition 8 leading in early returns

November 4, 2008 | 10:47 pm

A measure to ban gay marriage was leading in early returns primarily from conservative counties but exit polls showed the race as too close to call.

Proposition 8 would amend the California Constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Exit poll data showed that Democrats and independents were tending to vote against Proposition 8, while Republicans were in favor of the measure.

In this sprawling Republican stronghold of social conservatives and mega-churches, no one looked twice. "Yes on 8" signs, supporting the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, sprouted from yards, trees and bumpers. Many yards had two or three just to make the point. And McCain-Palin signs vastly outnumbered the few Obama-Biden placards.

Last week, more than 1,000 demonstrators lined Rancho California Road in Temecula to rally against gay marriage. Some owners of "No on 8" signs reported them stolen or defaced. A few "Yes on 8" signs suffered the same fate.

--Jessica Garrison and Cara Mia DiMassa