Signature Gathering Has Begun to Place Discriminatory Marriage Measure on California’s November 2008 Ballot

(San Diego, CA, February 1, 2008) — After failing multiple times to qualify an anti-marriage equality measure for the ballot, conservative organizations are now utilizing paid signature gatherers in another attempt to put this discriminatory constitutional amendment on the November 2008 ballot according to Equality for All, the statewide campaign to defeat such measures. In 2006, California became the first state where an effort to qualify such a discriminatory amendment failed.

Equality for All has confirmed that an out-of-state organization is backing this effort to permanently deny loving and committed California couples the right to marry. Nationformarriage.org and Protectmarriage.com are financially supporting this effort.

“These out-of-state extremists continue to expend time and resources to write discrimination into our California Constitution, in spite of the fact that Californians are tired of these costly and divisive campaigns,” said Lorri L. Jean, chief executive officer of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, and member of the Equality for All campaign’s executive committee. “California voters have a long history of supporting fairness and equal treatment under the law. We believe voters will reject this measure, and the politics of hate and division it represents.”

“We are committed to a vigorous opposition campaign,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, and a member of the Equality for All executive committee. “Californians support equality and we are determined to make sure voters understand the very real pain that comes with marriage discrimination and how these types of amendments will only bring harm to California families.”

An amendment of this type would have long-term and damaging repercussions for Californians.

“Every day, lesbian and gay Californians are denied the right to marry the person they love. Every day, they are denied the dignity, respect, rights and responsibilities that only come with marriage,” said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a member of the Equality for All executive committee. “People should not be treated unfairly under the laws of our state. This amendment to our state’s constitution would enshrine discrimination for generations of Californians.”

“It is imperative that fair-minded Californians reject these efforts, by refusing to sign the petitions and talking with their friends and family members about why marriage discrimination is wrong,” said Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, chief executive officer of The San Diego LGBTQ Community Center and a member of the executive committee of the Equality for All campaign. “Allowing one group of Californians to impose such a damaging form of discrimination on another group is simply wrong.”

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The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.