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Friday, August 01, 2008

Marriage Supporters Sue Over Prejudicial Wording of Calif. Attorney Gen

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Lawrence Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Aug. 01 2008 12:03 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO - Supporters of the California marriage amendment have filed suit over the recent wording changes to Proposition 8, decrying that the new ballot title and summary creates prejudice against the measure.

When Californians step into voting booths this November, Prop. 8 supporters don't want them to decide on a measure entitled, "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry," as Attorney General Jerry Brown has re-written. Neither do the traditional marriage backers want the ballot summary to read: "Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."

In papers filed Tuesday, Prop. 8 attorney Andrew Pugno, argued that the new ballot language is "inherently argumentative and highly likely to create prejudice" against the measure, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, is asking the court to revert the ballot wording back to the original title and summary that over 1.2 millions voters approved when they signed a petition to place the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Prop. 8 originally went by the title, "Limit on Marriage," with the first sentence of the summary reading: "Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Brown said he changed to ballot to reflect the May 15 Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples to marry.

But Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for ProtectMarriage.com-Yes on 8, pointed out that never before has a statewide ballot used an active verb like "eliminates" in the title, according to The Mercury News.

She said such changes are unfair and should be undone.

"We feel the ballot language is so inflammatory that it will unduly prejudice voters against the measure," Kerns told the San Jose-based paper.

Supporters of the amendment have only a few days to overturn the new language before ballot documents are sent to the state printer by Aug. 11. They are seeking an expedited hearing before the court.

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