MARRIAGE DIGEST: Colorado amendment Appears headed to ballot; conservatives try to oust Wash. state justices; ...

by Michael Foust, posted Friday, August 11, 2006 (13 years ago)

DENVER (BP)--A proposed constitutional marriage amendment in Colorado apparently will make it on the November ballot.

Coloradans for Marriage turned in more than 132,000 signatures supporting an amendment to the state constitution Aug. 7, nearly doubling the 67,829 signatures required under state law. Assuming the Colorado secretary of state says enough signatures are valid, Colorado will become the latest state to vote on an amendment that would protect the natural definition of marriage by banning "gay marriage."

"The tremendous response from people who signed the petition sends a clear message that there is strong support to protect marriage in Colorado," Jon Paul, executive director of Coloradans for Marriage, said in a statement. "It is highly unusual for an amendment to receive this many signatures primarily through grassroots efforts."

Six states already are set to vote on marriage amendments this fall, and Colorado and Arizona would join them. The pro-family group Protect Marriage Arizona turned in 307,000 signatures supporting an amendment in that state when only 184,000 were required. A lawsuit by amendment opponents is seeking to keep the initiative off the ballot. They lost at a lower court but are appealing.

Colorado's election will be unique. The Colorado legislature has placed an initiative on the ballot that would create domestic partnerships and grant same-sex couples many of the benefits of marriage. A conservative signature drive that would have placed a competing initiative on the ballot banning such partnerships failed.

Christian conservatives, therefore, will campaign for one initiative (the marriage amendment) but against another (domestic partnerships).

SUPREME COURT JUSTICES OUSTED? -- Conservatives won a much-anticipated "gay marriage" ruling at the Washington state Supreme Court July 26, and now they're trying to oust the justices who voted in the minority in that 5-4 decision.

Three of the justices are up for re-election: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, who voted in the majority, and Justices Susan Owens and Tom Chambers, both of whom voted in the minority to legalize "gay marriage."

State Sen. Steve Johnson, a Republican who has long been in the race, is Owens' most well-known candidate, although in the last days before the filing deadline three more people entered the race -- drawing calls of dirty politics from Republicans, The Olympian newspaper reported. Seattle attorney Michael Johnson entered the race, although he said he doesn't plan on raising any money, The Seattle Times said. Another attorney, Richard Smith, entered the race, as did Norman Ericson, a state administrative review judge.

Owens is the most vulnerable of the justices running for re-election. State Sen. Johnson called the addition of Michael Johnson to the race a "thinly disguised action designed to confuse voters," The Olympian reported. The Times said it was a felony to enter a race "against someone with a similar name 'with intent to confuse and mislead the electors.'" The secretary of state's office Aug. 7 said that both Johnsons will have descriptors following their names. Steve Johnson's descriptor will say "attorney, state senator." The other Johnson's will say only, "attorney."

Chambers has only one opponent: former King County Superior Court Judge Jeanette Burrage, who has some conservative credentials.

Alexander also has an opponent: attorney John Groen, who is considered to be more conservative than Alexander.

The election is Sept. 19.

CALIF. CANDIDATE NOT QUIET -- The Human Rights Campaign held its annual dinner July 29 in San Francisco, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides took the opportunity once again to pledge his support for "gay marriage" legalization if elected. HRC is the nation's largest homosexual activist group.

Angelides charged that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush were “fanning the flames of discrimination against gays and lesbians in this country," the San Francisco Bay Times reported. Schwarzenegger last year vetoed a bill that would have legalized "gay marriage."

"I’m sick and tired of it, and I’m ready to fight, stand my ground, and make California a leader again in civil rights for this nation to admire," Angelides said, pledging to sign a "gay marriage" bill if he wins, the Times reported.

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D.-Wis.) -- one of two senators publicly to support "gay marriage" -- was the keynote speaker.

“Over the next 100 days here in California, we are going to wage a campaign of principle and compassion and commitment, and come Nov. 7 we’re going to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger and make California a model for social justice and progress again in America," Feingold said.

Feingold pointed to the defeat of a constitutional marriage amendment in the Senate earlier this year.

"[W]e are winning this battle," Feingold said. "I think we can put a stake in the heart of this thing. I am optimistic about the future of issues affecting the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] community."

For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit

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