November 5, 2008
In yesterday's voting across the nation, several states had ballot initiatives relating to family law.
Florida, Arizona & California each presented constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. Florida and Arizona both passed the amendment and, in California, with more than 95% of the vote counted, Proposition 8 leads 52.1% to 47.9%. The effect of this amendment on the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who wed in California during the last 4 1/2 months is unclear. Court challenges to the law are already in the works. All three amendments define marraige as "a union between one man and one woman." Florida's amendment also provides that "no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."
Arkansas Initiative 1, which bans an individual who is “cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of marriage which is valid under the constitution and laws of this state” from adopting or serving as a foster parent to a child, passed with 57% of the voter's approval.
A number of states had ballot initiatives related to abortion. Colorado's Amendment 48 would have defined a "person" from the point of egg fertilization. The amendment was defeated nearly 3 to 1. South Dakota's Measure 11 again proposed a ban on abortion, with some exceptions for incest, rape or when the mother's life or health are endangered. The effort to set up a test case to challenge Roe v. Wade was rejected by 56% of voters. California Proposition 4 would have required doctors to notify a minor's parents before performing an abortion and mandated a 48-hour waiting period before the procedure was narrowly defeated.
For a summary of these and other ballot initiatives, see the Time report. (BGF)
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