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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Marriage amendment qualifies in Mont.

HELENA, Mont. (BP)–Montana citizens will vote on a constitutional marriage amendment this fall, joining seven other states — and likely more — who will have a say on the issue of same-sex “marriage.”

The Montana secretary of state said July 15 that enough petition signatures had qualified to put the marriage amendment on the November ballot. The Montana Family Foundation, which proposed the amendment, initially submitted 70,000 signatures — significantly more than the 41,000 required.

The secretary of state’s office said that 46,000 had qualified, and that they were still counting, the Associated Press reported.

“It’s too bad that we need to restate the obvious — that marriage is between a man and a woman — but if the obvious needs to be restated, I believe voters will do it by an overwhelming majority in November,” Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, told AP.

Montana’s amendment would protect the traditional definition of marriage, thus banning same-sex “marriage.”

Pro-family groups in three other states — Arkansas, Michigan and Oregon — have submitted more than enough marriage amendment petitions in their respective states and are awaiting word on whether they qualified. Citizens in Ohio and North Dakota are still collecting petitions and have August deadlines.

In addition, legislatures in seven states have sent marriage amendments to voters: Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah.

Although most states have laws prohibiting same-sex “marriage,” the laws provide only limited protection against rulings by state courts. For that reason, pro-family groups in Montana and elsewhere are pushing for state constitutional amendments to tie the hands of state courts and prevent the type of ruling that Massachusetts’ highest court issued when it legalized same-sex “marriage.”

State amendments, though, can be struck down in federal courts — where Nebraska’s marriage amendment is being challenged. Pro-family groups nationwide are promoting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution – named the Federal Marriage Amendment — that would ban same-sex “marriage” coast to coast.

1913 LAW CHALLENGED — A Massachusetts court judge heard oral arguments July 13 in a case challenging a 1913 law that prevents out-of-state same-sex couples from “marrying.”

If the law is struck down, out-of-state same-sex couples would have no barrier to acquiring marriage licenses in Massachusetts. As it stands now, the 1913 law prevents out-of-state couples from getting “married” if the license would not be recognized in their home state. Massachusetts is the only state in the nation with legalized same-sex “marriage.”

“We’re asking the court to tear down the fence of discrimination that’s been erected around [the state’s borders],” attorney Michele Granda told Judge Carol Ball, according to the Associated Press.

Ball may be reluctant to overturn the law.

“From what I’ve read so far, it appears the state is applying the law in a procedurally nondiscriminatory manner,” she said, according to AP.

Although the law exists, several cities nonetheless issued marriage licenses to out-of-state couples in May when same-sex “marriage” was legalized.

THE FIRST DIVORCE? — The city of San Francisco issued some 4,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples in February and March, and one couple already has filed for “divorce.”

The San Jose Mercury News reported July 10 that an unnamed same-sex couple is seeking to dissolve their weeks-old union.

Complicating the case is the fact that all 4,000 licenses may be ruled invalid by the California Supreme Court, which is expected to issue a ruling on the validity of the licenses this summer.

California state law bans same-sex “marriage.”

POPULAR IN MICH. — A large majority of Michigan residents say they would vote for a state constitutional amendment that protects the traditional definition of marriage and bans same-sex “marriage.”

The EPIC/MRA poll of 600 residents showed that 61 percent support the amendment, 34 percent oppose it and 5 percent are undecided. It was conducted July 6-8.

Pro-family groups collected 482,000 signatures to place the amendment on the November ballot — far more than the 317,000 required. The signatures have yet to be certified by the secretary of state’s office.

NETHERCUTT OPPOSED — U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, a Republican who is running for a Senate seat from Washington state, does not support the Federal Marriage Amendment. Nethercutt is running against Democrat Sen. Patty Murray, who also opposes the amendment and is favored to win.

But Nethercutt does leave room to change his mind.

“If — and only if — activist judges force states like Washington to recognize other states’ gay marriages, we should amend the Constitution,” he said in a statement, according to The Seattle Times.

YUKON, TOO — A judge in the Canadian territory of Yukon issued a ruling July 14 legalizing same-sex “marriage.” The provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec also have legal same-sex “marriage.”

“The [old] common-law definition of marriage is unconstitutional,” Justice Peter McIntyre said, according to AP.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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  • Michael Foust