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Marriage, stem cell measures pass at pollscomment (0)

November 16, 2006


Voters across the United States voiced opinions on candidates and issues alike on Election Day, Nov. 7, taking sides on moral topics from marriage to marijuana use.

With the Election Day addition of seven states to the list, a majority of U.S. states now has adopted constitutional marriage amendments.

Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin passed amendments Nov. 7 protecting the natural definition of marriage, bringing to 27 the number of states nationwide that has adopted amendments aimed at prohibiting gay "marriage."

An eighth state, Arizona, however, gave gay "marriage" opponents their first loss — the amendment was defeated there 51 percent to 49 percent.

The seven states passed the amendments with an average of 63.6 percent of the vote, ranging from 52 percent in South Dakota to 80 percent in Tennessee. In Colorado, conservatives celebrated a double victory, watching the amendment win easily while also helping defeat Referendum I, which would have granted same-sex couples many of the legal benefits of marriage.

Voters in South Dakota overturned the nation’s most stringent abortion ban — 55 percent to 45 percent. Supporters of the ban — which would have outlawed the procedure unless it was necessary to save the mother’s life — had hoped to use it to spark legislation in other states and challenge the 33-year-old Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Combined with the failure to enact parental notification laws in California and Oregon, the pro-life movement suffered several key setbacks.

In Missouri, voters narrowly approved a constitutional amendment that allows patients and researchers access to any method of stem cell research, therapy or cure permitted under federal law.

Despite the vigorous opposition of the Missouri Baptist Convention — which spent $100,000 to fight the measure — and the state’s four Catholic bishops, the measure passed, 51 percent to 49 percent.

Voters also defeated three pro-marijuana measures that would have legalized use of the drug in three states — Colorado, Nevada and South Dakota.

If the initiatives had passed, they would have made Colorado and Nevada the first states to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes, allowing adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

Previously, several states — including Colorado — passed medical marijuana initiatives that allowed for the distribution of the drug for those battling illness. This type of medicinal use was what South Dakota was considering.

Even if the initiatives had passed in those states, the measures wouldn’t have technically made smoking marijuana legal in the three states.

It is still a violation of federal drug laws — though federal drug enforcement officials said publicly they will not actively seek to arrest and convict users in possession of an ounce or less.

Gambling-related measures got split results from voters in five states.

Voters in Ohio, Rhode Island and Nebraska said no to gambling measures while those in South Dakota and Arkansas said yes on some gambling issues.

In Ohio, a proposed constitutional amendment known as Issue 3 would have allowed up to 31,500 slot machines at nine sites, including seven racetracks and two nontrack locations in Cleveland. Issue 3 lost by a 56–44 percent margin.

Rhode Islanders defeated by a 63-percent margin a referendum that would have allowed a casino in West Warwick operated by the Narragansett Indians and Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

Nebraska voters said no to video keno in a 61–39 percent decision. Keno is a bingo-like game, which by some estimates provides the casino with an advantage against the player that is greater than any other gambling game.

In South Dakota, 67 percent of voters rejected a repeal of the state’s video lottery known as Initiated Measure 7.

And in Arkansas, voters approved Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1 to lift a ban on charitable bingo and raffle games. The amendment restricts the games to authorized nonprofit groups that have existed for five years, including religious, educational, veterans and civic organizations. (BP, ABP, RNS)
oters across the United States voiced opinions on candidates and issues alike on Election Day, Nov. 7, taking sides on moral topics from marriage to marijuana use.

With the Election Day addition of seven states to the list, a majority of U.S. states now has adopted constitutional marriage amendments.

Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin passed amendments Nov. 7 protecting the natural definition of marriage, bringing to 27 the number of states nationwide that has adopted amendments aimed at prohibiting gay "marriage."

An eighth state, Arizona, however, gave gay "marriage" opponents their first loss — the amendment was defeated there 51 percent to 49 percent.

The seven states passed the amendments with an average of 63.6 percent of the vote, ranging from 52 percent in South Dakota to 80 percent in Tennessee. In Colorado, conservatives celebrated a double victory, watching the amendment win easily while also helping defeat Referendum I, which would have granted same-sex couples many of the legal benefits of marriage.

Voters in South Dakota overturned the nation’s most stringent abortion ban — 55 percent to 45 percent. Supporters of the ban — which would have outlawed the procedure unless it was necessary to save the mother’s life — had hoped to use it to spark legislation in other states and challenge the 33-year-old Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Combined with the failure to enact parental notification laws in California and Oregon, the pro-life movement suffered several key setbacks.

In Missouri, voters narrowly approved a constitutional amendment that allows patients and researchers access to any method of stem cell research, therapy or cure permitted under federal law.

Despite the vigorous opposition of the Missouri Baptist Convention — which spent $100,000 to fight the

measure — and the state’s four Catholic bishops, the measure passed, 51 percent to 49 percent.

Voters also defeated three pro-marijuana measures that would have legalized use of the drug in three states — Colorado, Nevada and South Dakota.

If the initiatives had passed, they would have made Colorado and Nevada the first states to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes, allowing adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

Previously, several states — including Colorado — passed medical marijuana initiatives that allowed for the distribution of the drug for those battling illness. This type of medicinal use was what South Dakota was considering.

Even if the initiatives had passed in those states, the measures wouldn’t have technically made smoking marijuana legal in the three states.

It is still a violation of federal drug laws — though federal drug enforcement officials said publicly they will not actively seek to arrest and convict users in possession of an ounce or less.

Gambling-related measures got split results from voters in five states.

Voters in Ohio, Rhode Island and Nebraska said no to gambling measures while those in South Dakota and Arkansas said yes on some gambling issues.

In Ohio, a proposed constitutional amendment known as Issue 3 would have allowed up to 31,500 slot machines at nine sites, including seven racetracks and two nontrack locations in Cleveland. Issue 3 lost by a 56–44 percent margin.

Rhode Islanders defeated by a 63-percent margin a referendum that would have allowed a casino in West Warwick operated by the Narragansett Indians and Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

Nebraska voters said no to video keno in a 61–39 percent decision. Keno is a bingo-like game, which by some estimates provides the casino with an advantage against the player that is greater than any other gambling game.

In South Dakota, 67 percent of voters rejected a repeal of the state’s video lottery known as Initiated Measure 7.

And in Arkansas, voters approved Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1 to lift a ban on charitable bingo and raffle games. The amendment restricts the games to authorized nonprofit groups that have existed for five years, including religious, educational, veterans and civic organizations. (BP, ABP, RNS)

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