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New poll: Calif. marriage amend. leading

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–A proposed constitutional marriage amendment in California has taken a lead in a new statewide poll, days after supporters of the proposal began airing their first statewide television ad.

The amendment, known as Proposal 8, leads 47-42 percent in the SurveyUSA poll, which was conducted Oct. 4-5 among 670 likely voters for four California TV stations. Although the new poll puts the amendment below 50 percent — not a good position for an initiative — it nonetheless is the first public poll in more than four months to show Proposition 8 ahead, and could reflect the impact of the new advertisement. Supporters also note that marriage amendments typically outperform polls on Election Day. In late September, a SurveyUSA poll had the amendment trailing, 49-44 percent.

If passed, the amendment would reverse the May decision by the California Supreme Court legalizing “gay marriage.”

The new 30-second ad opens by showing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom speaking after the ruling and saying about “gay marriage,” “The door’s wide open now. It’s gonna happen — whether you like it or not.” The scene then shifts to a courtroom showing the justices of the California Supreme Court. A female narrator says, “Four judges ignored 4 million voters and imposed same-sex marriage on California. It’s no longer about tolerance. Acceptance of gay marriage is now mandatory.” The narrator is referencing Proposition 22, a state statute defining marriage in the traditional sense that garnered 4.6 million votes (61 percent of the vote) in 2000. The court, though, declared the law unconstitutional.

Richard Peterson, a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, speaks briefly in the ad and says “gay marriage” legalization could change society drastically. “People sued over personal beliefs, churches could lose their tax-exemption, gay marriage taught in public schools,” he says.

The female narrator closes the ad by saying, “We don’t have to accept this.”

The SurveyUSA poll asked those polled, “Proposition 8 would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. It changes the California Constitution so that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid in California. On Proposition 8, are you … certain to vote yes? Certain to vote no? Or not certain?”

Even for individuals who live out of state, visit ProtectMarriage.com to see what can be done to help pass Proposition 8.

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June passed a resolution urging Southern Baptists in California to work and vote for the amendment there and for all Southern Baptists and other Christians to pray for its passage. The resolution passed nearly unanimously. Additionally, in September the executive board of the California Southern Baptist Convention unanimously endorsed the amendment.
Compiled by Michael Foust, assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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