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California amendment banning GLBT marriage gathers signatures
California amendment banning GLBT marriage gathers signatures
With just a few weeks left to qualify for the ballot, proponents of a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples are reporting that they have gathered 881,000 of the 1.1 million signatures needed. The Equality for All campaign continues to fight this signature gathering drive, calling on the LGBT community and all fair-minded Californians to help stop this initiative.

"We have thousands of volunteers across the state talking to Californians about the harm that this amendment will cause, and our campaign is significantly reducing the effectiveness of this paid signature gathering effort, but we need to keep it going," said Oscar De La O, Executive Director of BIENESTAR. "People should not be treated unfairly under the laws and constitution of our state."

The "Protectmarriage.com" campaign is calling on volunteers and paid signature gatherers to turn in their petitions by April 1, but petitions can be turned in as late as April 21 and still count toward qualifying the amendment for the ballot.

Because the proposed ballot initiative would change the state constitution, the legislature, which in 2005 and 2007 passed a marriage bill, would be prohibited from passing another bill in the future, erasing years of progress. And since constitutional amendments take precedence over legislation and limit the authority of courts, current cases that might lead to marriage would be stopped or reversed.

"This campaign will come down to the wire," said Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "With the Supreme Court poised to rule on whether Gay and Lesbian couples can marry in California, there's never been another moment quite like this one with so much hanging in the balance. We need everyone who cares about marriage, justice and LGBT equality to be out there now so we can avoid a ballot measure in November."

The proposed constitutional amendment would "amend the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman be valid or recognized in California."

"We know that most Californians agree that the government has no business telling people who they can and cannot marry," said Delores Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of the Center Advocacy Project. "We are thrilled that so many volunteers have joined our campaign to stop this initiative, but we need twice as many to join us in these last critical weeks. With just over 200,000 signatures left for our opponents to gather, we have a good chance of keeping it off the ballot, and we need the help of all fair-minded Californians to ensure that we do."

Volunteers from Eureka to San Diego and each of the more than 40 organizations in the Equality for All Coalition have joined the effort. More than 20,000 people have signed a pledge to support marriage for LGBT couples.

"I'm working on this campaign because I think that the freedom to marry in this country should be as fundamental as other basic personal rights, such as free speech, the right to vote and the pursuit of happiness," said Jan Garbosky, a volunteer with Equality For All. "Gay and Lesbian couples are committed to each other and stay together for years in the face of tremendous discrimination. Despite these challenges, these couples are courageous in facing opposition and committed to building happy lives together. I just don't think that the door to marriage should be closed for some people."

An Equality for All press release

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