Summarized by Kent Larsen
Anti-gay marriage petition nears filing
Las Vegas NV Sun 8Jun00 N1
By Stacy J. Willis: Las Vegas Sun
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Proponents of the Nevada version of California's
Proposition 22 plan to file their proposed amendment to Nevada's
constitution next week. The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage
announced Wednesday that it has collected "significantly more" than
the 44,009 signatures needed to get the measure on the November
ballot. According to the article, the effort is "heavily supported by
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
The proposed amendment reads, "Only a marriage between a male and a
female person shall be recognized and given effect in this state."
Coalition president Richard Ziser, who is also president of the
Canyon Ridge Christian Church, says that the measure is meant to keep
Nevada from having to recognize gay marriages or "civil unions" like
the measure approved recently in Vermont."We need to be clear that we
will not recognize same-gender marriages performed in another state,"
said Ziser. "Homosexuality is a sin."
The Coalition plans to file the petition with the state on June 15th,
and state officials will then spot-check the validity of the
signatures on the petition. After that, it would appear on the
November ballot. For the amendment to take effect in 2002, it must be
approved by a majority of votes both this year and again next year.
But, like in California, the measure faces opposition from gays,
lesbians, and heterosexual supporters. They plan to fight the measure
with a "Decline to Sign" advertising campaign, funded primarily by
private, in-state donations. The group also is courting out-of-state
"We have been quietly marshaling our forces," said Bob Fulkerson of
PLAN the nonprofit group supporting the fight against the proposed
amendment. The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), says
that the issue in the fight is discrimination, not the sanctity of
marriage. "Since they started this petition drive, there have been at
least a thousand legal divorces in the state, hundreds of domestic
abuse cases, drug and alcohol problems and innumerable other damaging
social problems that lead to the breakdown of the institution of
marriage... If they are concerned about the sanctity of that
institution, why don't they put their dollars and energy toward
addressing those social problems? Instead, they have singled out one
group and chosen to discriminate against them. This is an equal
rights issue," Fulkerson said.
The group says it is ready for the campaign, "We're gearing up for a
two-year battle. We didn't choose this fight, but have no doubt,
we're in it for the long run," Fulkerson said.
But Ziser disagrees that the issue is discrimination, "This
initiative is not about those issues. It is about protecting the
institution of marriage as being between a man and a woman. It is
about protecting Nevada laws. And I can guarantee you that the
faith-based organizations who support us have programs devoted to
those social problems."