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California same-sex marriage ban approved for November ballot

[JURIST] A California ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution [text] to ban same-sex marriage is set to appear on the November ballot, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen [official website] said Monday. If approved by voters, the California Marriage Protection Act [ballot materials, PDF; proposition website] would amend the state constitution to read, "[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Proponents gathered nearly 1.1 million signatures in support of the initiative, far more than the 694,354 signatures required for approval by the California Secretary of State. The ballot initiative comes in reaction to a May 15 California Supreme Court decision [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] overturning a ban on same-sex marriage in the state. AP has more. The Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times have local coverage.

The approval of the ballot initiative comes after the Attorneys General of ten states submitted a brief [JURIST report] to the Supreme Court of California [official website] last Friday, asking it to stay its decision until after the November elections. They asserted that allowing same-sex marriages would cause citizens in their own states to become "marriage tourists" in California, and their own state courts would then face unfair, extensive, and burdensome litigation on whether to recognize the marriages. Little more than a week ago, a conservative advocacy group filed a similar petition [JURIST report] requesting a stay until November. Last Wednesday, the California Office of Vital Records [official website] issued a memorandum [JURIST report] setting June 17 as the start day for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court's May 15 decision stemmed from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2004 decision to issue marriage licenses to 4,000 same-sex couples [JURIST report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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