.- Supporters of a California amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman have said they will file a lawsuit challenging California attorney general Jerry Brownâs decision to rewrite the wording of the measure, arguing the new phrasing is âinherently argumentativeâ and âinflammatory.â
The original wording says the amendment, called Proposition 8, âamends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.â
Last week Brownâs office changed the propositionâs title from âLimit on Marriage Constitutional Amendmentâ to âEliminates Right of Same-sex Couples to Marry,â the California Catholic Daily reports.
The propositionâs summary now reads âChanges California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.â The summary says the initiative could lead to ârevenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments,â but also indicates there would likely be little impact state and local governmentsâ fiscal budgets.
Brown spokesman Gareth Lacy told the San Jose Mercury News that such changes in ballot wording often occur and claimed the change was necessary after the state Supreme Court, in what he called an âextremely importantâ decision, recognized same-sex marriage as a right.
Proponents and opponents of the measure both agreed the changes will make voters less likely to approve it because it asks voters to remove an existing right.
âWhat Proposition 8 would do is eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, which is exactly what the attorney general put in the title of the measure,â Steve Smith, campaign manager for No on Proposition 8, who also claimed it would be âvery difficultâ for proposition backers to win their lawsuit.
Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for Protect Marriage, said the new language was âinherently argumentativeâ and a âcomplete about-faceâ from the title assigned during signature gathering.
âWe feel the ballot language is so inflammatory that it will unduly prejudice voters against the measure,â Kerns said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. She said the attorney general had not fulfilled his duty to provide ballot titles and summaries that are âfair, accurate and not prejudicial.â
âProposition 8 simply seeks to restore the definition of marriage back to its original meaning of the previous 158 years of California statehood,â Kerns commented in an e-mail statement to CNA, saying its proponents simply seek a âfair, accurate ballot title and summary.â
âAt the end of the day, it should be the people of California â not the Attorney General â who decides what their opinion of a ballot measure is,â she continued.
Protect Marriage claimed that research shows the attorney general has never used an active verb like âeliminatesâ in the title of a ballot measure in the fifty years in which ballot measures have been used.
According to a July 18 Field Poll, 42 percent of voters surveyed supported the measure, while 51 percent said they opposed it.
However, Frank Schubert, Proposition 8 campaign manager, argued that the Field Poll has âconsistently understated support for the initiative,â citing a Los Angeles Times poll that showed support at 54 percent.