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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Amendment in N.D. heads to Nov. ballot

BISMARCK, N.D. (BP)–The North Dakota secretary of state said Sept. 1 that a constitutional marriage amendment had qualified for the November ballot with significantly more signatures than required.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger said that the North Dakota Family Alliance had collected 42,000 valid signatures — more than the 25,000 required.

Including North Dakota, as many as 11 states could vote on marriage amendments Nov. 2. That does not include Louisiana, which will vote on a marriage amendment Sept. 18. Another state, Missouri, passed a marriage amendment in August with 71 percent of the vote.

Robert Uebel, chairman of the homosexual activist group Equality North Dakota, conceded that the amendment likely will pass, although he claimed that public opinion is changing.

“The numbers aren’t there for us. That’s no lie, that’s just the reality. We know that,” he told the Associated Press.

State marriage amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing Massachusetts-type rulings legalizing same-sex “marriage.” But they can be overturned in federal courts, where Nebraska’s marriage amendment is being challenged. For that reason, pro-family groups are supporting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

NOT ENOUGH SIGNATURES? — A constitutional marriage amendment in Ohio may fall short of the required number of signatures, although that doesn’t mean it won’t appear on the ballot. The Ohio Secretary of State’s office said Aug. 30 that 24 percent of the 156,000 signatures that had been certified were invalid, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. At that rate, the amendment would be 33,000 signatures short of the requirement.

If that happens, amendment supporters would have 10 days to submit additional signatures. Phil Burress, chairman of the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, told the newspaper that he has 100,000 signatures that have not been submitted.

The amendment, which also faces a court challenge, is proving to be popular among voters. A Columbus Dispatch poll of 3,176 randomly selected voters by mail found that 62 percent supported the amendment, 26 percent opposed it.

DOMA UPDATE — The U.S. Justice Department filed a motion Aug. 27 asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. The lawsuit was filed in Florida by a lesbian couple who had acquired a marriage license in Massachusetts.

“As far as the federal defendant is aware, every court to address this question — including the Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit — has rejected federal constitutional challenges,” the motion said, according to the AP.

If DOMA is overturned, then every state presumably would be forced to recognize same-sex “marriage.”

GROUPS TARGET ORE. — The nation’s largest homosexual rights groups are opening up their wallets in Oregon, hoping to defeat that state’s constitutional marriage amendment Nov. 2. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has given $500,000 to the anti-amendment group, while the Human Rights Campaign has pledged $100,000, The Oregonian reported Sept. 1.

The anti-amendment group, No on Constitutional Amendment 36, also has received money from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, the newspaper reported.

Of the 11 states that may vote on marriage amendments Nov. 2, Oregon’s is believed to have the best chance of being defeated. A poll this summer showed that 51 percent of voters supported it, 39 percent opposed it.

CALIF. SUIT — The city of San Francisco, along with a dozen homosexual couples, filed legal briefs in a California court Sept. 2 urging the judge to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage.”

Ultimately, the California Supreme Court likely will have the final say. In August the court invalidated the marriage licenses San Francisco had issued to same-sex couples. But the court did not address the issue of same-sex “marriage” itself.

In 2000 California voters passed a law by a 61-39 percent margin specifically banning same-sex “marriage.”

“Exclusion from marriage … marks lesbian and gay couples as second- class citizens,” the legal briefs said, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. “It dashes their hopes and dreams, and labels them and their children as inferior, based only on archaic stereotypes.”

ANOTHER WASH. CASE — A second Washington state judge, Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks, heard arguments Sept. 2 in a lawsuit seeking legalized same-sex “marriage” in that state. The first judge, Superior Court Judge William Downing, issued a ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage” in August. That ruling is on appeal.

Hicks said he would issue a ruling within a week, AP reported.

The lawsuit, which seeks to overturn the state’s defense of marriage act, ultimately will be decided by the Washington Supreme Court. Unlike some states, Washington has no law allowing citizens to gather signatures to place a constitutional marriage amendment on the ballot. Amendments must be initiated in the legislature.

MO. DELEGATES HECKLED — Protesters in New York City heckled Republican delegates from Missouri Aug. 31, targeting that state’s recent passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.” The protesters shouted, “Missouri is a hate state,” as the delegates walked the streets.

“The reason why we’re targeting the Missouri delegation is because they have already passed the amendment,” protester Ray Dries, 50, told AP. “They’re anti-American. These people are fascists.”
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust