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Same-sex marriage bans approved in California, Arizona, Florida

[JURIST] A constitutional amendment effectively banning same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] appeared to pass in California with most of the vote counted Wednesday, while voters in Arizona and Florida Tuesday approved similar measures. In California, Proposition 8 [text and materials], which was placed on the ballot [JURIST report] by citizen initiative, amends the state constitution to provide that "[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." As of 11:30 AM PST Wednesday, the unofficial results [text] for Proposition 8 (with 24,584 of 25,423 polls reporting) were:

Yes – 5,235,486 - 52.2%
No – 4,800,656 - 47.8%

Under the California Constitution the amendment takes effect the day after the vote approving it. It will effectively overturn May's decision by the California Supreme Court striking down [JURIST report] a ban on same-sex marriage as violating the equal protection provisions of the California Constitution. The measure has generated more than $60 million in contributions [JURIST report] to committees representing both sides of the issue - a figure believed to be a US record. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

Voters in Arizona [Proposition 102 text, PDF; unofficial results] and Florida [Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 text, PDF; unofficial results] Tuesday favored similar proposals by wider margins. Two years ago, voters made Arizona the first state to defeat [JURIST report] a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. More than half the states have already adopted constitutional amendments [NCSL list] limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, while most of the remainder have defined marriage by statute. Massachusetts and Connecticut [JURIST reports] are now the only US states that validate same-sex marriages, in light of decisions by their highest courts.

Another measure affecting same-sex couples appeared on the ballot in Arkansas, where voters appeared to approve overwhelmingly an initiative [Proposed Initiative 1 text, PDF; live unofficial results] prohibiting gays, lesbians and other unmarried cohabiting couples from becoming either foster parents or adoptive parents [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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