Same-sex marriage bans approved in California, Arizona, Florida

Same-sex marriage bans approved in California, Arizona, Florida

[JURIST] A constitutional amendment effectively banning same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] appeared to pass in California with most of the vote counted Wednesday, while voters in Arizona and Florida Tuesday approved similar measures. In California, Proposition 8 [text and materials], which was placed on the ballot [JURIST report] by citizen initiative, amends the state constitution to provide that "[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." As of 11:30 AM PST Wednesday, the unofficial results [text] for Proposition 8 (with 24,584 of 25,423 polls reporting) were:

Yes – 5,235,486 – 52.2%
No – 4,800,656 – 47.8%

Under the California Constitution the amendment takes effect the day after the vote approving it. It will effectively overturn May's decision by the California Supreme Court striking down [JURIST report] a ban on same-sex marriage as violating the equal protection provisions of the California Constitution. The measure has generated more than $60 million in contributions [JURIST report] to committees representing both sides of the issue – a figure believed to be a US record. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

Voters in Arizona [Proposition 102 text, PDF; unofficial results] and Florida [Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 text, PDF; unofficial results] Tuesday favored similar proposals by wider margins. Two years ago, voters made Arizona the first state to defeat [JURIST report] a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. More than half the states have already adopted constitutional amendments [NCSL list] limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, while most of the remainder have defined marriage by statute. Massachusetts and Connecticut [JURIST reports] are now the only US states that validate same-sex marriages, in light of decisions by their highest courts.

Another measure affecting same-sex couples appeared on the ballot in Arkansas, where voters appeared to approve overwhelmingly an initiative [Proposed Initiative 1 text, PDF; live unofficial results] prohibiting gays, lesbians and other unmarried cohabiting couples from becoming either foster parents or adoptive parents [JURIST report].