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For week ended February 13, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Chino Hills could take sides in state's marriage debate
Los Angeles Times 7Feb00 P2
By David Hermann

CHINO HILLS, CALIFORNIA -- Proposition 22, The California Defense of Marriage Act, will go to the voters on March 7. For now, support for the proposition is seen with blue-and-yellow signs sprouting up on front lawns all across California in anticipation of the vote. The proposition will add 14 words to the California State Family Code. "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Chino Hills Councilman, Gary Larson, proposed on Tuesday, a proclamation expressing the city's support for the controversial marriage initiative. He noticed the local groundswell and thought the city should get involved. "I think we represent the constituents in our community," he said. "And I think we ought to speak up when it can mean something." "The overwhelming majority of people here are in favor of the idea that Proposition 22 portrays, and this is a democracy," Larson said. "I think it's only right that we take a stand on the issue."

Rancho Hills Drive resident, Karen Broberg, has been on her feet distributing "Yes on 22" pamphlets. The eight-year resident said she never put a political sign in her front yard or ever been this involved in any issue before. "But Prop. 22 is different," she said. "Family is the most important thing in the world," Broberg said. "A family is a mother and a father. Not two of either one." Broberg admits that her strong feelings come from her Mormon faith, but says other local churches are pushing the measure as well.

In a home a few miles away, Maria Balich sits with a gold-embossed Bible on her table. "In our hearts, in our souls, we feel marriage is only right between a man and a woman," she said. Balich, 54, has lived in Chino Hills with her husband Larry for l0 years and worships at the Chino Hills Calvary Chapel. They picked up a blue-and-yellow sign several Sundays ago and proudly display it on their Hawthorn Avenue corner lot.

The religious support for Prop.22 has raised questions about whether it is appropriate for a local government to get involved. David Kramer, Natural Law party candidate for the 4lst Congressional District in 1996 and 1998 said, "I happen to be married to a woman." "And that's the tradition that I'm passing on to my son and my daughters."

"I question something that makes differences more important than the harmony that exists in our community," he said. "If a vote is necessary, fine. Let's vote in the privacy of the voting booth. I don't need to see my city council as an official body taking an official position."

Mayor Mike Wickman, who personally supports Prop. 22, does not support an official Chino Hills proclamation. "It's a social issue," Wickman said. "The city does not benefit from a vote on this matter, and as a matter of fact, it could end up with legal problems because of it. I hate putting the city in harm's way when it's not necessary."

At Prop.22 headquarters in Sacramento, Robert Glazier, communications director says the campaign isn't paying much attention to the position of local governments. "Some cities are endorsing it and some are coming out against it," Glazier said. "We're grateful for any support, but we're focusing more on the actual voters of California. We believe most families will make this decision based on their own moral values and not on what a local politician tells them."


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