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CA anti-gay marriage wingnuts are catfighting

This bodes well for California gays and lesbians on the amendment front if the wingers can’t agree on which amendment to push. (365gay.com):

Fearing that courts eventually will support the rights of gay couples to marry, opponents want voters to amend the state Constitution to allow only heterosexual unions.

However, a rift among conservatives has led competing groups to promote two different gay-marriage bans and snipe at each other over which is best. Both petitions would do away with rights associated with domestic partnerships as well as same-sex unions. Conservatives worry the infighting could doom the initiatives, while gay-rights advocates say voters are not likely to discard established domestic partnership rights.

“There is obviously a rift in the family over which of the proposed amendments best protects marriage and protects the rights and benefits of marriage,” said Benjamin Lopez, a lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition who tried to unite the competing groups behind one measure earlier this year. “The situation right now is delicate.”

In the latest campaign, a group called Vote Yes Marriage favors a detailed, multi-paragraph amendment rescinding the marriage-like rights lawmakers granted domestic partners over the last five years while defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The other group, Protect Marriage, does it in one sentence: “A marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

The sponsors have until January to gather 598,105 signatures to put the amendments on next June’s ballot….Backers of the longer Vote Yes Marriage version say that while the Protect Marriage initiative might keep the courts and the Legislature from bestowing marriage licenses on same-sex couples, it would not necessarily do away with domestic partnerships.

“The people of California don’t want counterfeit marriage, they don’t want something that’s unclear, they don’t want something that would throw away marriage rights,” said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families. In the war of words between the two sides, the Web site of Thomasson’s group has a lengthy explanation of why its initiative is “the only true-blue marriage amendment.” Pugno describes Vote Yes Marriage’s offensive as “a sign of desperation.”

The article also lists the states that are going to have amendments on the ballot next year: Alabama, Indiana, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, South Dakota and Tennessee. Texans get a chance to outlaw gay marriage at the polls this year.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding