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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 11, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 09Jun00

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 support.

"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."


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