Californians will vote on same-sex marriage

by Rex Wockner

NATIONAL NEWS - June 09, 2008

Anti-gay activists have succeeded in qualifying an initiative for the Nov. 4 ballot to amend the California Constitution to undo the state Supreme Court's recent ruling that opened marriage to same-sex couples. The ruling takes effect, and the weddings begin, on June 16 at 5 p.m.

The activists had to submit 694,354 valid petition signatures to qualify the initiative for a vote. They submitted 1,120,801 and, on June 2, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said a spot-check of 3 percent of the signatures found that a high enough percentage of them were valid to extrapolate that the threshold would be met if all 1.1 million were checked.

The amendment will state: "Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

The latest poll on the issue, a respected California Field Poll released May 28, found that 51 percent of registered California voters support same-sex marriage, 42 percent oppose it and 7 percent have no opinion. The poll also found that 54 percent oppose amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, 40 percent favor an amendment and 6 percent have no opinion.

The biggest support for same-sex marriage came from younger voters, Democrats, liberals, non-religious people and residents of the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County.

The strongest opposition came from older people, Republicans, conservatives, born-again Christians, Protestants and residents of the Central Valley and Southern California counties apart from L.A. County.

Observers predict that the battle may be won or lost in the populous Southern California counties of Orange and San Diego.

Women (53 percent) polled more supportive than men (48 percent) with 8 percent of each having no opinion and the rest opposed.

A majority of respondents up to age 49 favored same-sex marriage, while a majority of people over age 50 opposed it.

The poll questioned 1,052 voters and had a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

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