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Effort to Ban Gay Marriage in California Falls Short, Fight Delays

Attempts to amend the California Constitution to ban gay marriage suffered a setback when two groups announced recently that they would not qualify for the June 2006 ballot.
( [email protected] ) Dec 28, 2005 11:35 PM EST

Attempts to amend the California Constitution to ban gay marriage suffered a setback when two groups announced recently that they would not qualify for the June 2006 ballot.

The ProtectMarriage.com Coalition said they were unable to collect the 598,000 signatures needed to meet the deadline on Tuesday, citing insufficient signatures of about 200,000 and funds in light of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In addition, Andrew Pugno, the coalition's legal adviser, said that they will not attempt to meet the mid-April deadline to place the measure on the November 2006 ballot.

"It boils down to a recognition that a ballot fight isn't likely until 2008," Pugno said to the Associated Press. "This doesn't resolve the issue by any means; it merely delays the resolution."

However, the other competing group for signatures, VoteYesMarriage.com, is pushing forward with their initiative. Although Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for Children and Families who is leading the VoteYesMarriage initiative announced that it would not circulate petitions until it raises enough money to guarantee a successful drive, adding that the initiative might not make a ballot until 2008.

"Whether for 2006 or 2008, VoteYesMarriage.com is devoted to giving the people the chance to protect marriage from the clutches of the bureaucracy," Thomasson said, according to AP.

Last summer, the California legislature became the nation's first elected state body to pass a bill legalizing gay marriages. Even though Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed the law, conservatives and pro-marriage advocates said that it would be only a matter of time until the California Supreme Court and the state legislature would start imposing same-sex marriages in California.

In fear of this, Chinese Christian organizations, such as the Traditional Family Coalition in California, has gathered signatures alongside these initiatives to protect the definition of marriage as "defined by God in the Bible," which is between one man and one woman.

Beyond the initiative drive, they have actively educated Chinese churches on how to interpret the amendment, as well as helping them understand the effects of same-sex marriages if signatures are not gathered in support of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages and domestic partnerships in California.