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Initiative to ban
marriage in California dead for the year

Initiative to ban
marriage in California dead for the year

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Antigay activists in California have for the second time this year failed to qualify an initiative banning same-sex marriage for the statewide ballot.

Antigay activists in California have for the second time this year failed to qualify an initiative banning same-sex marriage for the statewide ballot.

Two groups, VoteYesMarriage.com and ProtecMarriage.com, failed earlier this year to gather enough signatures to get a proposed constitutional marriage ban on the June ballot in the sate. "[And] today is considered the last drop-dead day for qualifying for the November ballot," Dale Kelly Bankhead, campaign manager for Equality for All, a group battling the proposed amendments, told The Advocate on Monday. "There's been no signs of activity. It looks like the threat is gone for this year."

California is the only state in which such attempts to amend the constitution to ban marriage and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples have been unsuccessful, Bankhead said. "They've failed not once but twice in 2006," she said. "This is a moment for fair-minded Californians to be proud, but not to let up."

"In spite of filing 14 nearly identical initiatives, these religious and political extremists failed to qualify even one for the upcoming elections," said Lorri L. Jean, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and an executive committee member of the Equality for All campaign. "However, we believe it is a matter of not if we face such a ballot measure in California but when. We remain committed to a vigorous opposition of these types of measures, whenever they occur. Those who oppose equality are already circulating petitions for the next statewide election in June of 2008."

Proponents of placing a ban on marriage equality and domestic partnerships in the state constitution have told the media and their supporters that they expect events between now and 2008 to trigger support for such discriminatory measures. It is likely that two such triggering events would include the passage of legislation to secure marriage equality in state law and a court ruling finding marriage discrimination unconstitutional. Marriage legislation sponsored by the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality California was passed in 2005 but vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The bill will be reintroduced during the 2007-2008 legislative session.

Constitutional litigation is currently working its way through the court system, with a state appeals court ruling anticipated in 2007, followed by review by the California supreme court. San Francisco superior court judge Richard Kramer ruled in 2005 in the case of Woo v. Lockyer that excluding same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional. (The Advocate)

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