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North Dakota gay rights activists campaign against marriage amendment

North Dakota gay rights activists campaign against marriage amendment

Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples in North Dakota are launching what they call a "decline to sign" campaign to keep the measure off the ballot. Equality North Dakota, a gay rights organization, is urging North Dakotans not to sign petitions circulated by the North Dakota Family Alliance. The alliance wants to get 25,688 signatures by August 3 to put the proposed amendment to a vote November 2. It seeks to define marriage as "a legal union between a man and woman." Jon Lindgren, Fargo's former mayor and an officer in the national group Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said the amendment would drive young people out of the state and promote discrimination. Christina Kindel, director of the Family Alliance, said the "decline to sign" campaign will not derail the petition drive. North Dakotans should be able to vote on the issue, she said. "This is not about being antigay. It's about supporting and upholding marriage," she added. Lindgren responded by saying, "There has never been a heterosexual marriage that has failed because of gay marriages." Sara Berger, 16, of Mandan, spoke at a news conference held by Equality North Dakota in Bismarck. She said she has been raised by two women and is living proof that children of same-sex unions can turn out to be just as normal as children with heterosexual parents. "I think heterosexual parents can be great," she said. "But I wouldn't ask for a different family, for heterosexual parents, any day."

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