Measure to bar gay marriage qualifies for California ballot
With this issue on the November ballot, California could be in play for Republicans this year. A gay marriage ban referendum would drive religious conservatives to the polls, increasing turnout for McCain, who would be unlikely to motivate them to go to the polls otherwise.
Setting the stage for a political showdown, the California secretary of state today said an initiative barring gay marriage had enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot.
The proposal would amend the state Constitution to define marriage as a union "between a man and a woman" and undo last month's historic California Supreme Court ruling, which found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was unconstitutional.
A coalition of religious and conservative activists submitted 1.1 million signatures for the ballot measure. Random sampling by Secretary of State Debra Bowen found that enough legitimate signatures had been collected.
Many opponents of same-sex marriage saw the high court's ruling as a rejection of past ballot measures against the practice, most recently Proposition 22, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. It passed in 2000 with 61% of the vote.
Supporters of the latest initiative described Monday's certification as "great news" but acknowledged that recent surveys had shown opposition to same-sex marriage weakening in recent years.