SAN FRANCISCO – A coalition of pro-family groups have achieved their goal of gathering 1.1 million signatures to petition for a measure that would effectively outlaw same-sex "marriage" in the state of California.
The petition drive campaign started earlier this year after the California Supreme Court began to hear the legal arguments for same-sex "marriage."
If 700,000 signatures are verified by local county registrars, voters will have the option to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a "union between a man and a woman" during the upcoming election in November – effectively nullifying any decision regarding the issue by legislators or courts.
Pro-family groups are optimistic and believe that the majority of voters will decide in November to firmly stand for traditional values and save the institution of marriage.
"We have gone against tremendous odds to do this, and now the voters in California will have the chance to protect marriage," said Brian Brown, executive director of the California office of the National Organization for Marriage, according to The Associated Press.
"We shouldn't have to be guessing. This shouldn't be something left to the court either now or in the future. The idea that California voters should be the ones to decide this is an idea that resonates with people," he added.
Many pro-family groups refer to Proposition 22 – a measure approved by over 60 percent of California voters back in 2000 that defined marriage as a "union between a man and a woman" in the state Family Code – as proof of their popular backing, though the measure proved to be dull without a constitutional amendment.
Efforts by pro-family groups will not be entirely without hindrance, however.
Most recently, during a gathering with a group of gay republicans, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that a ballot initiative on same-sex "marriage" was "unnecessary," and indicated he would do everything within his power to oppose it.
In response, Protect Marriage, a coalition of pro-family groups and a key sponsor of the gay "marriage" ban, accused Schwarzenegger of "flip-flopping."
"Governor Schwarzenegger's flip-flopping reveals his false regard for the will of the people of California. More than 61% of California's voters defined legal marriage as only between a man and a woman with the passage of Proposition 22 in 2000. However, the Legislature's devotion to special interest groups forces citizens to pursue a constitutional amendment to protect marriage," the group said in a statement.
"A constitutional amendment is the only way to stop the courts from overturning the will of the voters on this issue. If the Governor truly supports the will of the voters, he would back the amendment. Perhaps he'll come to realize that we are just protecting the current definition of marriage," the group added.
So far, 26 other states have passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex "marriage."
Massachusetts is currently the only state to allow it.