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Faith factor proves decisive for president, marriage initiatives in U.S. vote Nov. 2

WASHINGTON (BP)–By all indications, the nation’s evangelicals were a key factor in the Nov. 2 election, helping President Bush gain re-election and undergirding the success of all 11 state constitutional amendments to protect traditional marriage.

As Democratic candidate John Kerry issued his concession Wednesday, voters’ affirmation of moral values and the influence of evangelicals also were key staples of Election Day news reports.

Oregon was among the states to pass a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, in the face of looming court action that could have forced the state to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

Marriage amendments also passed in Ohio, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi.

In a setback in the pro-life cause, however, California voters
approved a $3 billion bond initiative to fund embryonic stem cell research over 10 years. Titled “Proposition 71,” the initiative also funds therapeutic cloning — a process in which an embryo is cloned simply to destroy it and harvest its stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research also requires the destruction of the embryo and is opposed by pro-family groups that set forth adult stem cell research as both ethical and more promising scientifically.

An initiative to decriminalize marijuana failed in Alaska, where Ballot Measure 2 would have made Alaska the first state in the nation to decriminalize marijuana. Montana voters, however, approved a measure favoring medical marijuana. Oregon voters, meanwhile, turned back a measure to liberalize the state’s marijuana laws.

In Florida, voters approved a constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to pass a bill requiring minors to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion. The amendment counters Florida Supreme Court decisions which twice struck down parental notification laws.

Pro-gambling forces went down to defeat in at least four states Nov. 2. Voters in California, Nebraska and Washington turned down attempts to establish casinos or slot machine parlors, install slots at betting facilities or expand gambling options, while a vote in Florida remained too close to call Wednesday morning.

In the Senate, a key opponent of family values initiatives, Democratic minority leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, was unseated by Republican challenger John Thune.

Expanded coverage of the Nov. 2 election results and state ballot initiative will be posted by Baptist Press this afternoon.
Compiled by Art Toalston.

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