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Same-sex marriage coming to California?

Advocates of same-sex marriage in the Golden State are hoping to go directly to voters to make changes in the state constitution, deleting all references to gender in marriage law and nixing provisions of Prop 22, which declared marriage in California was strictly between one man and one woman.

The Organization for Fairness and Equality has turned paperwork into Attorney General Bill Lockyer to initiate the signature-gathering process for the proposal. The group is confident state voters will think differently about same-sex marriage than does Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a bill last year that would have legalized the practice. The effort has a formidable task: collecting 600,000 signatures from registered California voters before “The Fairness in Marriage Act” could be placed on the ballot.

The proposal would add the following provision to the state constitution:

“Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between any two persons, without regard to the gender of those persons – persons in opposite-sex marriages and in same-sex marriages shall have the same rights and obligations.”

It would also repeal language approved by voters in Prop 22 six years ago, striking out the words: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Karen England is with Capitol Resource Institute, a organization that opposes same-sex marriage.

“If this initiative qualifies for the ballot, California voters will again be asked to decide the fate of marriage,” England said in a statement. “This is a pivotal time in California’s history. Will marriage be kept strong for future generations, or will it be compromised?”

Maj-Brit Eagle, a Monterey High School teacher, recently attended an organizational meeting for the sponsors of the proposed initiative.

“People have to stop seeing [gay marriage] for what it’s not and start seeing it for what it is,” Eagle told the Monterey County Weekly, “a behavior of love.”

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