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« on: September 21, 2004, 01:48:44 PM »

Marriage Supporters Swamp Louisiana Polls, Approve Constitutional Amendment

by Jody Brown
September 20, 2004

(AgapePress) - Just days after Hurricane Ivan blew through parts of the state of Louisiana, voters in that state blew away threats to the institution of marriage. By an almost 4-to-1 margin, the citizens of the Bayou State on Saturday voted to amend their constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman, and to ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. But homosexual activists indicate they plan to challenge the results in court.

Bob Knight  
Louisiana has joined the ranks of states that have shown overwhelming support for traditional marriage. With all precincts reporting, a state constitutional amendment banning homosexual "marriage" in Louisiana was approved this weekend by 78 percent of those who voted -- a percentage even higher than that reflected in a similar referendum in Missouri last month. As Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute puts it, the vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment "blew away any doubt that Louisianans want marriage protected in essence as well as name."

There had been some concern that last week's appearance by a massive hurricane might dampen voters' spirits on the measure, but that did not seem to be the case. "Despite the threat posed by Hurricane Ivan, the people voted decisively to thwart the man-made disaster of fake 'marriage,'" Knight says. Still, Fox News points out that voter turnout was about 27 percent -- a number somewhat low for a state election, the news service states.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a citizen of Louisiana, says he is "thrilled" by the show of support for traditional marriage. And as for possible challenges to the outcome from groups opposing the concept of one-man/one-woman marriage, Perkins predicts ultimate failure.

Tony Perkins
"Homosexual activists will not be successful in silencing the voice of the majority, a voice that supports traditional marriage, unless the courts overrule the people by throwing out this vote," he says. If the courts decide to move in that direction, Perkins says "they will not be serving the people of their state."

Perkins is alluding to threats by pro-homosexual groups such as Forum for Equality that the proposed amendment could affect private contracts between both same-sex partners and heterosexual couples. But pro-family forces saw that as merely a smokescreen and an attempt to keep people from voting to protect marriage.

Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America stated before Saturday's vote that the amendment does not interfere with rights to "hold and convey property with another adult, enter into contractual agreements, appoint a competent adult to make health-care decisions, or to make hospital visits or funeral arrangements." And even the New Orleans city attorney's office, she said, had determined that the city's domestic partner registry and benefits would not be affected.

But opponents of the amendment may have additional ammunition to mount a court challenge. About 60 voting precincts in New Orleans -- home to a politically strong homosexual community -- were without voting machines until later in the day, some not opening until mid-afternoon. Some of those polling places were allowed to remain open an additional two hours because of the delay.

"[T]his may be all that homosexual activists need to tie up the outcome in the courts," Perkins says, noting that pro-homosexual groups were reporting their intentions to challenge the results even before the polls were closed.

Regardless, supporters of the Louisiana amendment seem optimistic about potential court challenges. Deborah Young, director of the Louisiana state affiliate of Concerned Women for America, says the state's voters "sent a strong message to 'gay' activists seeking to contest the definition of marriage in court." And Republican State Representative Steve Scalise, chief sponsor of the proposition, describes the results as "a huge mandate" that the people of his state want to protect marriage.

Five other states have amended their constitutions to protect marriage: Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, and Missouri. Ten other states -- Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah -- will be considering similar pro-marriage amendments in November. Petitions in Ohio are still being verified before the measure can be officially placed on the ballot.

In those states where voters have approved marriage amendments to their constitution, upwards of 70 percent of voters have voted to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In all cases, the victory has been more than a 2-to-1 margin.



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