2008: McCain backs initiative barring gay marriage in California / Sacramento Bee

See the original of this article on the Sacramento Bee website at this link.

Thanks very much, Senator McCain. Almost all Latter-day Saints will applaud this action.

Steve St.Clair

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McCain backs initiative barring gay marriage in California
By Aurelio Rojas –
arojas@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, June 28, 2008

GOP presidential candidate John McCain has endorsed the November ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage in California.

The endorsement, announced Thursday night on ProtectMarriage.com, the Web site of the Protect Marriage campaign, was not a surprise. The Arizona senator previously said he was happy Californians would be voting on the measure, which the secretary of state’s office designated Friday as Proposition 8.

“I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona,” McCain said in a statement released by the Protect Marriage campaign. “I do not believe judges should be making these decisions.”

The California Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage in May. Massachusetts is the only other state to sanction them.

Protect Marriage campaign chairman Ron Prentice welcomed McCain’s endorsement and urged his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, to add his support.

“We hope that U.S. Sen. Barack Obama will join Sen. McCain in endorsing the initiative, and would welcome his support as well,” Prentice said in the statement.

McCain endorsed a 2006 Arizona initiative defining marriage as only between a man and a woman – which was defeated – but voted against a federal constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Obama also opposes same-sex marriage but has said each state should make its own decision. The Illinois senator has not signaled interest in weighing in on the California measure.

Obama opposes a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and has said he’s interested in ensuring that same-sex couples in civil unions receive federal benefits.

Jeff Flint, a spokesman for the Protect Marriage campaign, predicted McCain’s endorsement would help build support for the marriage ban in California.

“Sen. McCain is universally respected, and his endorsement will certainly help,” Flint said.

But Steve Smith, a spokesman for the Equality For All Campaign, called McCain’s endorsement “inconsequential.”

“This is the kind of campaign where people will decide for themselves based on what they feel in their gut,” said Smith, whose group opposes a ban.

The Protect Marriage campaign has not asked McCain to campaign for the ban but will tout his support, Flint said.

Smith predicted McCain won’t spend much time in the state before the November election because Obama “is going to win California handily.”

Proposition 8 would amend the state constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the state.

In 2000, more than 61 percent of voters approved a statute declaring that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid in California.

Polls indicate the Nov. 4 vote will be much closer.

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