League of Women Voters Supports 'Limit on Marriages' As Name for Knight Initiative

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Hearing: Sacramento Superior Court, Wednesday, December 8th, 9:30 am
December 7, 1999

(SACRAMENTO, December 7, 1999) -- The League of Women Voters of California said Tuesday that it fully supports the name given by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer to a controversial ballot measure that would allow the state to discriminate against legal marriages of lesbians and gay men from other states.

During a hearing on Wednesday, December 8, the League plans to submit a petition to intervene in Stutzman v. Jones and join Bill Lockyer in defending his decision to give Proposition 22 the title “Limit on Marriages” for the March 2000 election.

League President and individual plaintiff Gail Dryden said, “This title fairly describes the effect of the measure, and we wholeheartedly support making that clear.” She added, “This is a highly divisive issue and the measure’s simplicity is deceptive. In order to make educated decisions, the people of California deserve the most accurate, complete, and nonpartisan information possible.”

The League, a nonpartisan group dedicated to providing voter education, is represented by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in the matter.

Also known as the “Knight Initiative,” its main sponsor is state Senator Pete Knight, who has led several failed attempts in the legislature to pass similar measures. The lawsuit was filed by Robert Stutzman, campaign manager for the initiative, against the California Secretary of State and Attorney General Lockyer after the proposition’s circulation title, the “Definition of Marriage,” was rejected as misleading.

The League believes the circulation title was deceptive, because the 14-word measure does not define marriage at all. In fact, Proposition 22 would not apply to marriages performed within the state, but rather, for the first time in state history, limits which out-of-state marriages would be recognized in California.

California, like all other states, currently allows only non-gay couples to marry. However, the initiative is intended to apply if this changes in another state, perhaps as a result of court cases in Hawaii and Vermont. “Because Proposition 22 would prohibit the state from recognizing and extending protections to those legal marriages, the League supports the title ‘Limit on Marriages,’” Dryden said.

“We believe the Knight Initiative is constitutionally suspect and discriminatory. Because the League opposes any form of discrimination, we call on Californians to reject Proposition 22,” added Dryden.

WHAT: Hearing in Stutzman v. Jones, in which the League of Women Voters will lend support to Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s decision to rename the Knight Initiative

WHO: The League of Women Voters, represented by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund WHERE: Sacramento Superior Court, 4th Floor, Dept. 23, 720 9th Street, Sacramento WHEN: Wednesday, December 8, 1999, 9:30 a.m.

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Contact: Trudy Schafer, 916-442-9210, 916-705-1090 (cell)


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