Significant Efforts Underway to Defend Marriage on State Level
Dear Friend of the Family,
An election year gives citizens a wonderful opportunity to have a voice in the laws and people who govern our land. It behooves us all to research those candidates and issues that will promote the family cause. The defense of marriage is still an issue of high priority. The one sure way to defend marriage from activist courts is to amend the U.S. Constitution. Since that is not likely to happen any time soon, the next best option is to pass state constitutional amendments throughout the country. We have many friends in state legislatures, as well as citizens working on ballot propositions, who are diligently working to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We invite you to take an active role in securing marriage in one or more of the following states by contacting your state legislators where appropriate, getting involved at the initiative level or passing this information on to those who may be interested.
Following is a state-by-state roundup of what is currently happening and how you can help:
In December, Florida4Marriage officials thought they had qualified a resolution for the November ballot. However, the state Division of Elections discovered that the Miami-Dade elections office had double counted some signatures, and now the sponsoring committee is scrambling to qualify the initiative by today’s deadline. Please direct people to Florida4Marriage to assist them in finding out how they can sign the petition in time.
Four initiatives are in circulation: 1264, 1293, 1298, and 1309. Each is aimed at protecting marriage or eliminating domestic partnership rights. The deadlines for gathering 694,354 signatures for each initiative range from today to May 27, depending on the initiative. Click on to the above links to see what you can do to help our friends in California.
Last year, the state’s highest court upheld marriage law as only between one man and one woman. Last week, a group of state legislators sponsored a bill – HB 351 — that would legalize same-sex “marriage” in the state. They have the support of nine sponsors in the Senate and 40 in the House, far less than majorities. Governor Martin O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch favor civil unions for homosexuals, while Senate President Thomas Mike Miller opposes both same-sex “marriage” and civil unions. Click on the bill number to contact the Maryland legislature and let them know of your concerns.
This state provided another example last August of why constitutional marriage amendments are needed. It was then that District Judge Robert Hanson declared Iowa’s defense of marriage law unconstitutional. He ordered the Polk County recorder to permit same-sex couples to enter into civil marriages, but the order was quickly stayed pending an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court. UFI, with the Marriage Law Foundation, has filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of Iowa regarding the case. Some people have called for the impeachment of Judge Hanson.
Defenders of marriage are pushing for legislative action to clear the way for a ballot proposition. The LetUsVoteIowa effort is asking Iowans to encourage their legislators to allow the citizens to vote on the Iowa Marriage Amendment as early as 2009. Amendments to the Iowa Constitution must be approved by simple majorities in both the House and Senate in two consecutive general assemblies and then gain the approval of a simple majority of voters in the next general election. If a resolution is approved this year and again in the 2009 session, the measure would qualify for the general election ballot in November 2010. Go to LetUsVoteIowa for more information on how you can get involved.
In order to amend the Constitution, a resolution with the exact same language must pass two consecutive, but separately elected bodies of the Indiana General Assembly. The measure would then be referred to the ballot for voter approval.
A proposed amendment has passed the Indiana Senate twice by two separately elected legislative sessions (as required by the state constitution) and has passed the House once. The Speaker of the House held it up on procedural grounds, but backers have until mid-March to pass it barring a special legislative session. Thus, backers are 75 percent of the way toward sending it to the people. If it fails to pass the General Assembly this year, the process starts over and it would take at least four years from Nov. 4, 2008, to get it on the ballot.
State Senator Mike Brubaker is preparing to introduce Senate Bill 1250, which aims to prohibit civil unions and define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. The process would take about two years from start to end.
We will follow these and other states in which marriage issues arise and let you know what is happening and how we can work together in the defense of marriage.
Carol Soelberg, President
United Families International