- (Photo: AP Images / Rich Pedroncelli)
SAN FRANCISCO — The ballot summary to California's amendment to protect marriage has been rewritten.
The description to Proposition 8, known as the "California Marriage Protection Act," originally stated that the measure would amend the California Constitution "to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
But the modified version, which will be published in the voter information guides this fall, describes the marriage initiative as amending the state Constitution to "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."
The original ballot summary appears in the second sentence of the revised description.
The new language also suggested a negative fiscal impact in the short term.
"Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments," reads the revised summary.
The old summary read: "The measure would have no fiscal effect on state or local governments. This is because there would be no change to the manner in which marriages are currently recognized by the state."
The secretary of state's office says that description was changed to reflect a May 15 California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex "marriage," according to The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, a battle is brewing over the supporting and opposing arguments for the measure that will be published in the voter information pamphlets.
Supporters of Prop. 8 argue that if the ruling allowing gay "marriage" is not overturned, public schools would be required to teach that same-sex "marriage" is the same as traditional marriage in health education programs that would target pupils as early as kindergarten.
Critics of the measure contend that such arguments are a "smokescreen" and that California law prohibits schools from teaching family and health issues to children without parental consent.
But Jennifer Kerns, spokesperson for the Yes on 8 campaign, disagrees.
Citing the California Education Code, she said that state law requires teachers to instruct children about marriage in health education classes and that such programs are required under law to include instruction on "the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
That means students at every grade level must now be taught that same-sex "marriage" is the same as opposite-sex marriage, Kerns told the newspaper.
"We should not accept a court decision that results in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay," Prop. 8 supporters say in ballot arguments, according to the local Chronicle. "That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It shouldn't be forced on us against our will."
If Californians pass Prop. 8 in November, it wouldn't be the first time voters affirmed marriage as only between a man and a woman. In 2000, over 61 percent approved a law that protected the traditional definition of marriage.