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I just had breakfast with a friend who is a retired professor of Political Science specializing in California State and Local Governments. According to my friend if the State Legislature chooses to place a Constitutional Amendment Initiative on the ballot the proposed initiative MUST pass each house of the legislature, the State Assembly and the State Senate by a 2/3 vote. If a Constitutional Amendment Initiative is proposed by a special interest group other that the State Legislature it requires more signature than one that seeks only a state statute change. Once the initiative is on the ballot, HOWEVER, in both cases it requires only a fifty percent plus one (50% + 1) vote of the electorate to pass. With this being the case it is, I am SORRY to say, very likely that the current initiative defining marriage as a union between a man and woman ONLY will in all likelihood pass in November.

Now with this said I am NOT proposing that the attempt to defeat it cease I only recommend that we all be prepared for the worst.

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Guest up4fun



And, this is one of the reasons why I have always been opposed to the initiative process. I don't believe that the electorate, solely, can be trusted to make decisions that amend our state constitution with only a 50+% vote.

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In a profile article on the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court printed in the Los Angeles Times today, the author described the Chief Justice as a moderate Republican who surprised almost everyone by voting for the decision and writing the majority opinion. The author also indicated that any initiative voted on through a ballot measure restricting the rights of gays and lesbians to marry would probably not stand.


In light of the court's recent decision, such an initiative would likely be challenged as unconstitutional.

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Guest PotatoHead



But, if the initiative amends the state constitution, it can't be found to be unconstitutional at the state level - After it passes, it IS the constitution.


The only chance of it being found unconstitutional would be at the US Supreme Court level. With the current make up of the Court, it is unlikely that it would even be heard and, if it was heard, it would likely uphold the disallowment of gay marriage (likely vote: Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, to uphold; Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, to overturn; Kennedy swing vote that would likely go with Roberts et al.)

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Stand up to the signature gatherers!


Unfortunately, that seems to indeed be correct. If this initiative passes to amend the state's constitution it would indeed overturn the ruling and would probably be allowed to stand (as all the other states' amendments have) without comment by the US supreme court.




Which means all Californians need to start paying attention to the slimeballs collecting signatures all over the state. California's ballot initiative process is probably the worst thing I've personally experienced in politics.


Actually stop for a minute and listen to them. They'll promise anything, "You're for gay marriage? Well sign this petition and get it on the ballot!" The people collecting the signatures are nothing more than sleazy salesmen only there because of the $5 per signature they get from a right-wing group. Yet some people feel they're doing something patriotic by signing these g-d damned things and short circuiting constitutional democracy.


So I ask, stop for a minute and try to educate a few people otherwise. Point out lies, the fact that they're there just for the money, and that it works against the cause they'll 50% of the time claim to be helping! Imagine if everybody who felt strongly on this issue stopped in front of one of those tables and spoke their mind for a couple minutes, on the way in and again on the way out...




This is from the Massachusetts attempt, but the same BS is happening here...


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RE: Stand up to the signature gatherers!


The signature process to put the initiative on the ballot is ALREADY COMPLETED. 700,000+ signatures are needed and 1,100,000 signature were submitted to the office of the California Secretary of State for validation. It is likely that they will have MORE than enough signatures to quality.

The only hope for sustaining the ruling is by raising enough money (millions of dollar) to present the issue of same sex marriage in a rational non-threatening manner to the general electorate. As much as I would like to believe that this is possible I THINK IT HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

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RE: Stand up to the signature gatherers!


Here are the parts of the California Constitution about initiative signatures and election majorities referred to above:






SEC. 8. (a) The initiative is the power of the electors to propose

statutes and amendments to the Constitution and to adopt or reject


(b) An initiative measure may be proposed by presenting to the

Secretary of State a petition that sets forth the text of the

proposed statute or amendment to the Constitution and is certified to

have been signed by electors equal in number to 5 percent in the

case of a statute, and 8 percent in the case of an amendment to the

Constitution, of the votes for all candidates for Governor at the

last gubernatorial election.

© The Secretary of State shall then submit the measure at the

next general election held at least 131 days after it qualifies or at

any special statewide election held prior to that general election.

The Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.


(d) An initiative measure embracing more than one subject may not

be submitted to the electors or have any effect.

(e) An initiative measure may not include or exclude any political

subdivision of the State from the application or effect of its

provisions based upon approval or disapproval of the initiative

measure, or based upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes

in favor of the measure, by the electors of that political


(f) An initiative measure may not contain alternative or

cumulative provisions wherein one or more of those provisions would

become law depending upon the casting of a specified percentage of

votes for or against the measure.


Section 9 deals with referenda to overturn or alter statutes.


SEC. 10. (a) An initiative statute or referendum approved by a

majority of votes thereon takes effect the day after the election

unless the measure provides otherwise. If a referendum petition is

filed against a part of a statute the remainder shall not be delayed

from going into effect.

(b) If provisions of 2 or more measures approved at the same

election conflict, those of the measure receiving the highest

affirmative vote shall prevail.

© The Legislature may amend or repeal referendum statutes. It

may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that

becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the

initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without their


(d) Prior to circulation of an initiative or referendum petition

for signatures, a copy shall be submitted to the Attorney General who

shall prepare a title and summary of the measure as provided by law.


(e) The Legislature shall provide the manner in which petitions

shall be circulated, presented, and certified, and measures submitted

to the electors.


Here's the link to the whole California Constitution. Isn't the internet wonderful?



So the political scientist friend is right -- 5% signatures for a statute, 8% for a constitutional amendment, both pass by majority vote and go into effect almost immediately.

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RE: Stand up to the signature gatherers!


>The signature process to put the initiative on the ballot is



I'm not so sure the numbers stack up in their favor. Polls have been consistently showing less than 50% support for a same-sex marriage ban.


This issue has actually been a LOT of fun to watch over the last 5-6 years. It's one of the few issues where there's been a steady, observable, and measurable slide in public opinion.


Getting a lot of signatures is easy, as James points out. As the media carries images of gay marriages (like Ellen DeGeneris), more people will soften.


It's going to boil down to how people *vote* vs. how people *poll*, but I think there's room for cautious optimism (coupled with big bucks to put out the right message).


On the topic of DeGeneris, don't downplay the star power of the most popular woman on daytime TV marrying her girlfriend. Rosie O'Donnell took part in the SF marriage-fest earlier, and is a bit of a polarizing character, but Ellen stayed away.


Ellen has now put her oar in. She's had remarkable timing in the past.

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RE: Stand up to the signature gatherers!


>The only hope for sustaining the ruling is by raising enough

>money (millions of dollar) to present the issue of same sex

>marriage in a rational non-threatening manner to the general

>electorate. As much as I would like to believe that this is



A defeatist attitude is not going to get us anywhere, that's for sure. Do you think Martin Luther King said, "Let's not bother marching from Selma to Montgomery; it's not going to change anything"? Do you think Rosa Parks said, "Why should I bother trying to sit at the front of the bus? Nothing will come of it"? Do you think the drag queens at Stonewall thought, "Let's just let the police raid the bar again; fighting back is pointless"?


If it means raising millions of dollars to educate the public, then donate money (even small amounts add up; learn from Obama) and let's fight back.

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RE: Stand up to the signature gatherers!


I have in the past disagreed with Rick Munroe on a multitude of issues. On this one, however, we are 100% in agreement. It behooves all of us to haul out our check books and credit cards and start feeding the fight BIG TIME!!!!! Those of us who can afford to make large donations must do so BUT as Obama has shown thousands of five, ten, and twenty dollar contributions can make a major difference. This is definitely a fight worth making and winning!!!!!

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RE: Stand up to the signature gatherers!


I agree with Rick, however, I'd like to add that if you live in the state of California (as do I) then get your ass to the polls or sign up as a permanent mail-in voter and vote against the damned ballot initiative. All the money in the world won't do a thing if those of us who oppose the measure don't show up at the polls and vote it down. Too many people (especially in San Diego) think that state and local elections don't matter. Well, here's one that does.



On a related note...


I think the concept of the ballot initiative is just ridiculous. Some of these things read like something off of Saturday Night Live circa 1976. Check that, they aren't that well-written. Being a native of Chicago, I'm a natural-born smartass and not accustomed to ballot initiatives, so when a signature-gatherer asks me to sign a petition I've taken to asking "Is it to end ballot initiatives?" The guy who sits in front of my local Target has gotten to recognize me and now looks in the other direction when he sees me.

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