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Calif. A.G. OKs marriage amend., but conservatives not happy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–California Attorney General Bill Lockyer gave approval July 25 to a proposed marriage amendment petition, but not before making changes to the title and issuing a summary of the amendment that has conservatives alleging bias.

Lockyer’s OK means that the group behind the amendment — VoteYesMarriage.com — can begin collecting signatures with the goal of placing it on the 2006 ballot. But the group said July 25 that it would first take Lockyer, who is a Democrat, to court and challenge the “prejudicial” title and summary.

Locker’s amendment title reads: “Marriage. Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights.” The title proposed by VoteYesMarriage.com reads: “The Voters’ Right to Protect Marriage Initiative.” Lockyer’s 100-word summary of the amendment also focuses on the fact that the amendment would roll back California’s domestic partnership law, which grants homosexual couples many of the legal benefits of marriage.

By focusing less on “gay marriage” and more on the already existent domestic partnership law, Lockyer’s title and summary could make it more difficult to gather signatures in left-leaning California, and even more difficult to pass the amendment if it makes it to the ballot. The title and summary will appear on the petitions.

With polls showing California voters opposed to “gay marriage,” homosexual and liberal activists likely will focus on the amendment’s impact on the domestic partnership law, which has far less opposition.

Conservatives say the amendment’s primary goal is to protect the definition of marriage and that the title and summary should reflect that.

“True to his liberal bias, but untrue to his constitutional duty, Bill Lockyer has dumped on us an inaccurate and prejudicial paragraph that is anything but impartial as the law requires,” Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, said in a statement.

The amendment will require approximately 600,000 signatures, although supporters hope to gather some 1 million to make up for any signatures that are tossed out. The amendment also protects private businesses from being required to provide the legal benefits of marriage to unmarried couples.

But the amendment may not be the only marriage amendment to qualify for the ballot. Another conservative group, ProtectMarriage.com, has submitted an amendment to Lockyer and is awaiting its approval.

ProtectMarriage.com has the backing of Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the Alliance Defense Fund.

VoteYesMarriage.com is supported by the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel, Traditional Values Coalition and the Center for Reclaiming America.

Conservatives fear that if an amendment is not passed, “gay marriage” eventually will be legalized in California. In March a state judge struck down a “gay marriage” ban that had been passed by 61 percent of voters. The ruling is being appealed. In addition, the state legislature is considering a bill that would legalize “gay marriage.” It has passed a Senate committee.

The VoteYesMarriage.com amendment reads: “Only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized in California, whether contracted in this state or elsewhere. Neither the Legislature nor any court, government institution, government agency, initiative statute, local government or government official shall abolish the civil institution of marriage between one man and one woman, or bestow statutory rights or incidents of marriage on unmarried persons, or require private entities to offer or provide rights or incidents of marriage to unmarried persons. Any public act, record, or judicial proceeding, from within this state or another jurisdiction, that violates this section is void and unenforceable.”

The proposed ProtectMarriage.com amendment is not yet posted on its website.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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