Two More Marriage Ban Petitions Approved in California

On Wednesday, the state attorney general approved two more proposals for a ban on same-sex marriage in California. Sponsors of each proposal may now begin collecting signatures to put the measures onto the 2006 ballot.

California voters approved Proposition 22 in 2000, which stated “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Since then, several laws have been passed giving domestic partners essentially the same rights as married couples. In addition, a court ruling earlier this year challenged the constitutionality of Proposition 22 and some legislators have been pushing for a law to legalize same-sex marriage.

Groups opposed to same-sex marriage have submitted two separate proposals, both advanced on Wednesday. Gail Knight, wife of the late Senator Pete Knight who sponsored Proposition 22 in 2000, is backing both measures.

One measure would eliminate the existing laws granting rights to domestic partnerships. The second measure bans same-sex marriage within the state. Both measures adopt the definition of marriage provided in Proposition 22.

State Attorney General Bill Lockyer titled the two measures “Marriage: Invalidation of Domestic Partnerships,” and “Marriage: Exclusive Legal Status for Married Spouses.”

The two measures come just days after Lockyer issued his title and summary for another marriage amendment. Sponsored by VoteYesMarriage.com, the measure was given the title “Marriage: Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights.”

In his summary, Lockyer emphasized that the measure would void or restrict many of the rights given to domestic partners, including health benefits, child custody and support, adoption, and property ownership and transfer.

Sponsors of VoteYesMarriage.com, President of the Campaign for Children and Families Randy Thomasson, former Assemblyman Larry Bowler, and activist Ed Hernandez, opposed the attorney general’s wording, calling it biased and prejudiced. They plan to challenge Lockyer in the courts.

Supporters of all three measures can begin to collect signatures. At least 598,105 signatures must be gathered for each measure by December 24 in order to be placed on the June 2006 ballot for a statewide vote.