Monday, November 5, 2012

Ballot initiative election watch

Tomorrow is a big day for elections, not only for politicians, but also for marriage equality.  If successful, it could be a history making day for winning marriage equality on the ballot for the first time.  Polling looks positive for at a least a few of the efforts, but not enough to make me convinced. 

I've been watching with interest (and a healthy dose of anxiety) the campaigns and the polling of the four states with marriage equality initiatives on the ballot tomorrow.  If you're like me, I needed a quick "cheat sheet" for tomorrow night to make sure I could quickly tell if I wanted a "yes" or "no" vote was the "right" vote.  So here it is, with links to the lead pro-marriage advocacy organizations on the measures and the text appearing on the ballot.  In short: we want three yeses and a one no.

Vote YES on Question 1

The title of the Legislation is: “An Act to Allow Marriage Licenses for Same Sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom.”

"Do you want to allow the state of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?" 
Maine's ballot will read: "Do you want to allow the state of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?" 

The citizen’s initiative would allow same-sex couples to receive a marriage license in Maine. In addition, it also provides that no clergy person or religious institution is required to perform or to host a marriage against his or her religious beliefs.

Vote FOR on Question 6  

On March 1, 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the freedom to marry bill into law after it passed in the state legislature. Immediately, anti-gay activists began collecting signatures to overturn the law. The law will now face a referendum in the November 2012 election.
Language on the ballot:
Question 6
Referendum Petition

"Civil Marriage Protection Act"

Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

Vote YES on Referendum 74
In February 2012, the legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.  This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.
Should this bill be:

Approved [ ]

Rejected [ ]

The ballot measure is accompanied by the following summary:

This bill allows same-sex couples to marry, applies marriage laws without regard to gender, and specifies that laws using gender-specific terms like husband and wife include same-sex spouses. After 2014, existing domestic partnerships are converted to marriages, except for seniors. It preserves the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform or recognize any marriage or accommodate wedding ceremonies. The bill does not affect licensing of religious organizations providing adoption, foster-care, or child-placement.

Vote NO on the Constitutional Amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples.  The state of Minnesota already defines marriage as between one man and one woman.  Tomorrow's vote is to add this as language to their state constitution.

The question, along with the measure's ballot title, would be presented to voters as follows:
Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.
"Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman."
  • YES
  • NO

Image left from Freedom to Marry, reflecting the "state of the states" on marriage and domestic partnership laws.

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