Anti-gay marriage group says it has filed 120,000 signatures for ballot question

Nevada's anti-gay marriage group said Thursday a total of 121,499 Nevadans signed the petition to put a proposed ban on the upcoming ballot.

That is far more signatures than the 44,007 minimum required.

"We exceeded everyone's expectations," said Richard Ziser of the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage in Nevada.

"Clearly a great many Nevadans believe it is necessary to reaffirm the definition of marriage in the constitution in order to protect Nevada law from being changed by courts in other states," he said.

Those petitions were filed with each of Nevada's 17 county clerks Wednesday. The clerks must go through them and verify each of the names as registered voters in their county to determine how many are valid.

The number of valid signatures is then sent from each county clerk to the Secretary of State's Office, which determines whether the total number of signatures has been reached and whether enough signatures in at least 75 percent of those counties has been collected to put the issue on the November statewide ballot.

The initiative would add a section to the Nevada Constitution which says: "Only a marriage between a male and female person shall be recognized and given effect in this state."

The coalition and groups like it are being organized in numerous states to try block their states from being forced to recognize gay marriages. The legal issue centers on the portion of the U.S. Constitution which requires each state to give "full faith and credit" to the laws of other states.

They fear that, if same-sex marriage is allowed in one state, any couple married there would have all the rights of a heterosexual married couple in every other state. They are hoping such petitions can block that, but legal experts say the issue will eventually be forced to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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