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Tensions erupt at Montana polls over proposed marriage ban

Tensions erupt at Montana polls over proposed marriage ban

Police went to a Missoula, Mont., polling place four times on Tuesday to calm tensions between opponents and supporters of a proposed state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Advocates on both sides went to C.S. Porter Middle School trying to gain support from voters who were leaving the polls after casting votes on the primary ballot. "We're trying to get people to sign a petition, and the gay and lesbian faction has been screaming at people who are trying to sign," said Tei Nash, who was seeking signatures to help put Constitutional Initiative 96 on the November ballot. The initiative would add a clause to the Montana constitution that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Chad Pulfer of Montanans for Families and Fairness denied screaming at anyone but said he may have raised his voice to be heard. "It's windy out there, and most of the people are elderly," Pulfer said. The group said it merely asked voters to be certain they wanted to sign the petition for what they called the "marriage discrimination amendment." There were no problems at other polling places, even though advocates on both sides worked voting stations around Missoula. Nash and Pulfer both denied calling officers. "I think they're each taking turns getting people to call the police," said officer Scott Oak, who later said, "It's just kind of silly."

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