that would again outlaw gay marriage in California has
qualified for the November ballot, the secretary of state
secretary of state Debra Bowen said Monday that a random
check of petition signatures submitted by the
measure's sponsors showed they had gathered enough
names for it to be put to voters.
The measure would
amend the state constitution to ''provide that only
marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in
If approved by a
majority of voters on November 4, the amendment would
overturn the recent California supreme court ruling that
legalized same-sex marriage in the state. It is
similar to gay marriage bans that have been adopted in
26 other states.
the fact that California voters really do favor and will
come out to vote for the protection of historic marriage,''
said Ron Prentice, executive director of
ProtectMarriage.com, a coalition of religious and
social conservative groups behind the initiative.
In response to
the court's May 15 ruling, California public health
officials already have amended marriage license applications
to read ''Party A'' and ''Party B'' instead of "bride"
and "groom." Local officials have been told to start
issuing the revised licenses to same-sex couples on
Gay men and
lesbians would still be able to get married between then and
the election, even with the initiative pending, unless the
court agrees to stay its decision until after November
4, as the amendment's sponsors have requested.
If the marriages
proceed during the next five months, it is unclear
whether they would be nullified if the amendment passes.
Some legal scholars have said the state supreme court
might be called on again to settle that question.
executive director of the San Francisco-based National
Center for Lesbian Rights, said gay marriage advocates have
already launched a campaign to defeat the measure.
''There is just
so much at stake now in terms of what kind of state we
are going to live in and what values we are going to
uphold,'' Kendell said.
To qualify for
the ballot, the measure needed 694,354 petition
signatures, an amount equal to 8% of the votes cast during
the last governor's race.
submitted 1,120,801 signatures in late April, and county
clerks determined the measure qualified by verifying the
validity of 3% of the signatures they received,
according to Bowen.
Recent polls have
found California voters are about evenly split on
whether gay couples should be allowed to marry. (Lisa Leff,