Susan Jones | Senior Editor | Wednesday, July 27, 2005
VoteYesMarriage.com, a statewide marriage protection coalition, said it will challenge the "prejudicial title and summary" issued this week by California Attorney General Lockyer.
"True to his liberal bias, but untrue to his constitutional duty, Bill Lockyer has dumped on us an inaccurate and prejudicial paragraph that is anything but impartial and fair as the law requires," said Randy Thomasson, one of the organizers of VoteYesMarriage.com.
"We will challenge him in court within the next few days."
The coalition says the title and summary of the Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Initiative is "replete with errors, omissions, and negative, prejudicial campaigning."
For example, the working title of the initiative -- "The Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Act" - was changed by Lockyer to "Marriage. Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights."
The 100-word summary accurately notes that the initiative would "provide that only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized in California," but then it goes on to say that the initiative "voids and restricts registered domestic partner rights and obligations..."
VoteYesMarriage.com complains that the title of the summary uses the word "elimination" when the whole point of the initiative is the protection of heterosexual marriage.
It also complains that Lockyer has inaccurately claimed the initiative would prohibit domestic partners from visiting each other in the hospital; and that he has ignored the chief points of the initiative, including how it would protect private organizations and businesses from being required to undermine or diminish marriage.
According to the California Elections Code, the attorney general is supposed to "give a true and impartial statement of the purpose" of ballot measures, using titles and language that "shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure."
But instead, Lockyer is showing his prejudice and intolerance, said retired Assemblyman Larry Bowler, another VoteYesMarriage.com organizer.
"Bill Lockyer is a Bay Area liberal who has been pushing homosexual 'marriage' for a long time now," said Bowler.
"We think a judge will be much fairer than Lockyer because protecting marriage for a man and a woman deserves respect, not ridicule."
The title and summary of the proposed marriage amendment, as issued by Lockyer, will appear not only on petitions that registered voters must sign; but also on the ballot itself.
The text of the Voters Right to Protect Marriage Initiative is printed below:
Section 1: Title
This amendment shall be known and cited as the Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Initiative.
Section 2: Declaration of Findings and Purposes
The People of California have a compelling responsibility to protect the essence of marriage by ensuring that the civil institution of marriage between one man and one woman is not abolished or diminished. The People find that marriage between one man and one woman is diminished when government bestows statutory rights or incidents of marriage on unmarried persons or when government requires private entities to offer or provide rights or incidents of marriage to unmarried persons. The People further find and declare it is in a child's best interest to have a mother and a father, and that marriage rights for one man and one woman should be protected for the well-being of children, families and society.
Section 3: Marriage Protection
Section 1.1 of Article I of the Constitution is added to read:
SEC. 1.1. a) Only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized in California, whether contracted in this state or elsewhere.
b) Neither the Legislature nor any court, government institution, government agency, initiative statute, local government or government official shall abolish the civil institution of marriage between one man and one woman, or bestow statutory rights or incidents of marriage on unmarried persons, or require private entities to offer or provide rights or incidents of marriage to unmarried persons. Any public act, record, or judicial proceeding, from within this state or another jurisdiction, that violates this section is void and unenforceable.