Same-sex marriage opponents tussle over wording of California ballot

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Backers of a same-sex marriage ban in California have challenged the rewording of Proposition 8, also known as the ‘Limit on Marriage Amendment.’

If passed the initiative, proposed for the 2008 California General Election ballot, would amend the California State Constitution, prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Proponents of the ballot appeared in court yesterday to challenge to challenge state Attorney General Jerry Brown’s rewording of the measure’s ballot summary.

Brown’s new title, posted on the Secretary of State’s website on July 22, states the proposed amendment “Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry.”

The summary still says Proposition 8 provides that “only marriage between a man a woman is valid or recognised in California.”

The titles and summaries of ballot measures are typically scrutinised by both sides in a campaign and often challenged in court if one side feels the wording could sway voters against them.

Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for the Yes on Proposition 8, confirmed that proponents “will file a ballot challenge (today in) Superior Court in Sacramento,” Aurelio Rojas from reported.

Gareth Lacy, a spokesman for the Attorney General, said the title was reworded because of a state Supreme Court ruling in May that overturned a ban on gay marriages in California.

“We had a very significant Supreme Court decision, and the title and summary accurately reflect the measure,” Lacy told

He said the Attorney General’s office regularly changes “title and summaries to make them as accurate as possible at the time of the election.”

Opponents said that although changes to ballot measures are subject to legal challenge, the Attorney General’s rewording accurately describes what the measure would do.

Steve Smith, a strategist for the No on 8 campaign, said he is working on two other measures on the November ballot, and the title and summary for “all three were changed.”