The announcement came 17 days after the state’s Supreme Court created a right to homosexual “marriage.”
The brainchild of Alliance for Marriage president Matt Daniels, this initiative was one of two competing to make the California ballot, hoping to draw the support of California’s large Latino voting block, which isn’t so permissive when it comes to family issues.
A similar initiative, sponsored by Campaign for Children and Families’ President Randy Thomasson, did not get the needed signatures in time, but Thomasson has joined Daniels and supports the initiative.
“The California Supreme Court has created a very public problem that the voters are expected to go to the polls and fix this problem by overriding the court and protecting marriage between a man and a woman,” Thomasson said, and added that the amendment will pass.
“The Los Angeles Times puts it at 54% in favor, but it’s likely going to be higher than that, because eight years ago, when there was a statutory initiative on the ballot (Proposition 22), the poll numbers going into election day were in the low 50s, but when it was all said and done, it was passed by 61.4%.”
The outcome of the presidential election could also be affected by California’s 55 electoral votes swinging to the Republican candidate, should the conservative base that normally supports this kind of initiative turns out. Thomasson believes they will.
“This could bring as much as a million more Californians to the polls to vote “Yes” on marriage. If John McCain is smart, he’ll probably announce his support for the California Marriage Amendment and the support of those voters could be enough to win the state.”
“There’s no getting around the collision that’s going to take place between the courts and the American people on this issue,” Daniels said. “Americans have voted in state after state to protect marriage and the courts are going the other way.
“In the end, there will be a national solution, and the only question is whether it’s going to be imposed by the courts or reflect the will of the people.”
Not So Fast …
Carol Hogan, spokeswoman for the California Catholic Conference, would not predict any outcome for the initiative, because “the polls are all over the place. We hope it will pass. It should pass.”
She was equally ambiguous about the initiative’s potential effect on the national election.
“I think each side is going to be out there voting,” she said, “because they feel strongly about the other side — so they cancel each other out.”
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that “champions safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Reg Norton, spokesman for Out and Equal, believes the amendment will fail because “Californians are fair-minded people who realize that writing discrimination into our constitution is not the way to support it, its members and its families.”
Norton also believes that the measure will have little effect on the presidential race.
“I think there are a lot more pressing issues facing our country right now,” he said.
Equality California and the ACLU of Northern California did not return phone calls requesting interviews.
Henry (not his real name) is a Catholic political strategist in Sacramento who prefers to keep a low profile and work behind the scenes. He is not at all optimistic about the prospects for stopping homosexual “marriage.”
“It’s a decoy operation and it will fail,” he said. “The polling, like a recent Field Poll, indicates growing support for same-sex ‘marriage.’ A lot of the gays are not happy about the Supreme Court decision, because they are aiming for the ‘gold standard.’ They want to pass this by the will of the people.
“Barring some kind of conversion or re-education of the population, ‘gay marriage’ is inevitable in this state. This initiative is a waste of time, and knowledgeable people know that.”
When pressed as to why he sees the amendment as a decoy, Henry said it’s part of a strategy that hopes to lure conservatives out to vote for McCain.
“It was originally set up to help Republican turnout. We already have the full equivalent of marriage [for homosexuals] in California already on the books,” he said. “It’s a fight that’s doomed because the polls show a shift from 2000 (when Proposition 22 was passed) very strongly in support of ‘gay marriage.’ Ironically, it is especially true with Catholics.
“The fundamentalists and evangelicals are the groups opposed to it. Catholics are even more in favor of it than Protestants, which is regrettable.”
Henry thinks that Thomasson’s initiative would have been more effective.
“He wanted to actually roll back domestic partner laws. This won’t do that, it just changes the language of the Constitution and forbids marriage licenses,” he said. “And it’s not effective because the constitution is flexible. If they can amend it to forbid ‘gay marriage,’ it can also be amended later to permit it. And the gay leaders are already planning to do it. That’s part of their long-term strategy. They want ‘gay marriage’ passed by the voters in a state-wide initiative.”
Robert Kumpel is based in Valdosta, Georgia.
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