In three months, these laws will change (or not)

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Election Day is three months from today. Despite the fact that one can hardly escape the relentless onslaught of horse race journalism about candidates, there is almost total radio silence about the laws that voters will adopt or reject on November 4.

The big exception to that is the media attention being given to Prop 8 in California, the high stakes ballot initiative that will, one way or another, be a game changer in the politics of marriage equality. But California’s ballot initiative is hardly the only one, or even the only important one, coming up for decision in November.

What follows is my compilation of ballot initiatives that would produce changes in laws related to sexuality and gender.   If I have missed any, please correct the omission in comments, or e/mail me directly.

Arizona – Like California and Florida, AZ has a proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot. Prop 102 would limit marriage to one man and one woman.

Arkansas – The Unmarried Couple Adoption Ban would statutorily prohibit placement of children for adoption or foster care in homes where the adult partners are unmarried.   As of late July, supporters had failed to submit the required number of valid signatures, but under a grace period provision, they have until late August to make up the shortfall for the measure to go onto the November 2008 ballot. Local observers predict that it will qualify.

California – In addition to Prop 8, on same-sex marriage, the ballot will contain Prop 4, which would prohibit abortion for an unemancipated minor for 48 hours after notification of the parent or guardian.

Colorado – A proposed state constitutional amendment would define a “person” as any human being from the moment of fertilization. Its proponents call it the “Colorado equal rights amendment.”

Florida – A proposed state constitutional amendment provides:

In as much as a marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

Maryland (Montgomery County) – Voters will decide whether to repeal a county ordinance that adds gender identity to the list of characteristics protected by the anti-discrimination law.

Michigan (Hamtramck) – Voters will decide whether to repeal the City Council’s addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to the municipal anti-discrimination ordinance.

South Dakota – A proposed state statute would bar all abortions except for rape, incest or to protect the woman’s health in certain circumstances. (See my previous post.)

Nan Hunter – cross posted at

This entry was posted in Feminism and Politics, Guest Blogger, LGBT Rights, Reproductive Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

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