NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--After failing to defeat a single state constitutional marriage amendment in 2004, homosexual activists are increasingly optimistic they can post a landmark victory in at least one state this year.
Such a victory would be monumental. All total, 20 states have voted on marriage amendments, and all 20 have passed. Thirteen of those were adopted in 2004, months after Massachusetts' highest court legalized "gay marriage."
This year voters in eight states will consider such amendments, which essentially are designed to prevent a repeat of what happened in Massachusetts, which had no amendment.
"It could be a watershed year," Carrie Evans, state legislative director at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual activist group, told USA Today.
Pre-election polls may support Evans:
-- In Arizona, an August poll by a department at Arizona State University showed the amendment there trailing, 51-38 percent. But a poll released Oct. 17 showed it winning, 51-42 percent. The two polls used drastically different questions.
-- In South Dakota, a July Mason-Dixon poll conducted for the Argus Leader newspaper showed that state's amendment losing, 49-41 percent.
-- In Colorado, a September Rocky Mountain News/CBS 4 poll showed the amendment there winning with only 52 percent.
The Arizona and South Dakota amendments both ban Vermont-style civil unions. Those opposing the amendments have focused on that issue, saying that homosexual couples should be granted the legal benefits of marriage if they cannot by law "marry."
"We have a very good chance of killing this," Ken Clark of Arizona Together, which opposes that state's amendment, told USA Today.
Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin also are scheduled to vote on marriage amendments. Much like it was in 2004, turnout by Christian conservatives likely is key to their success.
In the past, support for marriage amendments at the ballot box has been high. The 20 states that have amendments adopted them with an average of 71 percent of the vote.
AMENDMENT WINNING IN VIRGINIA -- A proposed constitutional marriage amendment in Virginia is favored by a slight majority of voters, according to a Washington Post poll of 1,004 likely voters. Fifty-three percent said they supported the proposal while 43 percent opposed it. The amendment would ban both "gay marriage" and Vermont-style civil unions.
"My view is simply that marriage is there to establish a legal process for the procreation of children," Charles Wortham, a voter in Virginia who supports the amendment, told the newspaper. "It's Mother Nature. Same-sex couples can't naturally reproduce, so it doesn't seem like they should be able to marry like a traditional family."
CANADIAN FIGHTS FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM -- A Canadian marriage commissioner who was fired because he refused to perform "gay marriage" ceremonies is filing suit, saying his religious rights were violated, the Winnipeg Sun reported Oct. 18. Manitoba revoked the license last year for 36-year-old marriage commissioner Kevin Kisilowsky, an evangelical Christian, when he said he wouldn't conduct "marriages" between homosexuals.
"I'm just one of these Canadians who's finally had enough," he told the newspaper. "Enough's enough."
Kisilowsky says conducting the ceremonies would violate his Christian beliefs.
According to Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck, the lawsuit will force the government to "explain why religious organizations, such as churches and their clergy, have their religious freedoms protected (they don't have to perform same-sex marriages if they don't want to) but not individuals such as Kisilowsky."
For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage