U.S. church view on same-sex marriage wins in California

  • November 5, 2008

{mosimage}WASHINGTON — In voting on 2008 ballot questions across the country, the Catholic Church view against same-sex marriage appeared headed for victory, but Catholic efforts to influence voting related to abortion, assisted suicide, embryonic stem-cell research and gambling failed.

Although the vote count on California's Proposition 8 had not been finalized by the morning of Nov. 5, the proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman appeared headed to victory by a 52-per-cent to 48-per-cent margin. Similar proposals were approved in Arizona (57 per cent to 43 per cent) and Florida (62 per cent to 38 per cent).

California is one of three states where same-sex marriage is currently allowed, and the California bishops had said the amendment would affirm "the historic, logical and reasonable definition of marriage" without removing any benefits from other contractual arrangements such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.

But California voters rejected by a 47-per-cent to 53-per-cent margin a church-supported proposal to require parental notification, or a judicial bypass, 48 hours before a minor's abortion, and a South Dakota measure that would have banned abortions in the state, except for victims of rape and incest, also failed, 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

Washington became the second state in the nation to allow physician-assisted suicide with a 59-per-cent to 41-per-cent vote in favour of Initiative 1000. The state's Catholic bishops had said the proposal did not have adequate safeguards and its approval would threaten "the dignity of all human life regardless of frailty or social definitions of usefulness."

In Michigan, voters agreed by a 53-per-cent to 47-per-cent margin to expand embryonic stem-cell research and "prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem-cell research, future therapies and cures."

The Catholic-led campaign against the proposal had pointed to the immense potential for abuse in an unregulated environment and said it would threaten Michigan's statutory ban on human cloning.

(By Nancy Frazier O'Brien, Catholic News Service)

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