Douglas petitioners back same-sex marriage ban

Advocates of a ban on same-sex marriage collected 3,499 signatures - 239 percent of the number required - from Douglas County registered voters in favor of placing the issue on the November ballot.

"It appears to be a very clean, thorough petition from the quick review that I have done," said Barbara Reed, Douglas County clerk-treasurer.

The initial raw count must be submitted to the Secretary of State's office by 5 p.m. today, Reed said.

Following that, each county must do a random sampling to verify the signatures to determine the petitions' validity. If the signatures are valid statewide, the petition will be placed on the November ballot.

The measure seeks to 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."

According the Richard Ziser, chairman of the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage in Nevada, nearly 121,499 signatures were collected statewide. The total is 276 percent of what is necessary to place the issue on the ballot.

Churchill County led the way percentage-wise, turning in 415 percent of the signatures needed. Washoe County was at the bottom of the state, but managed to collect 189 percent of what was needed.

"It was definitely a record-breaking effort done with an all-volunteer group of 5,500 volunteers," Ziser said Tuesday. "We didn't have to pay anyone to get signatures. Over 5,500 individuals went out and asked other people to sign."

Ziser disputed claims that the initiative is backed primarily by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"The LDS church is involved, as are many other churches," Ziser said. "I think critics want to be able to pin the initiative on one particular group, but that is simply not the case. It is a very large organization with a wide cross-section of people."

Ziser said he is occasionally identified by the media as a Mormon, but he is a member of the Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas.

"I have worked with a whole lot of people within the LDS church," he said. "They have been a major help in the effort. I appreciate everyone's involvement. People try to make this sound like my effort, but it's the coalition. If you ask me the number of members in the coalition, I say the key number is the 5,500 volunteers who got the signatures. I consider them the members of the coalition."

Carson City turned in 3,820 signatures for 227 percent of the number required. In Lyon county, 2,142 names were collected for 228 percent.


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