- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Voters were opposing same-sex “marriage” yesterday in all eight states where the issue was on the ballot, while voters in South Dakota rejected a state abortion law.

In Virginia, with 64 percent of precincts reporting, a proposed constitutional amendment to ban homosexual “marriage” and to define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman was leading 57 percent to 43 percent.

In South Carolina, with 7 percent of precincts reporting, 46,184 voters, or 72 percent, supported the ban on homosexual “marriage.” Twenty-eight percent, or 17,664, opposed the ban.

In Tennessee, only 1 percent of precincts reported results on the same-sex “marriage” question shortly after 9 p.m. But 197,523 voters — 83 percent — voted yes for a ban. Another 39,476 voters, or 17 percent, voted no.

Five other states — Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota and Wisconsin — had similar constitutional amendments on their ballots that were passing last night.

Luis Vizcaino, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest political organization for homosexuals, said bans on same-sex “marriage” won by overwhelming majorities in 2004, but he does not foresee that trend in this election.

“We feel there has been a significant shift either in the political climate or the public perception of same-sex ‘marriage’ ” during the past two years, he said in an interview last night.

In yesterday’s election, Colorado also had a rival measure on its ballot, calling for the legal recognition of “domestic partnerships” between people of the same sex, even if the measure banning same-sex “marriage” passed. The question calling for legal domestic partnerships would give homosexual couples the same legal rights as married couples. The passage of that measure was too close to call last night.

In South Dakota, voters opposed the retention of a state ban on all abortions except those needed to save a mother’s life. Also in the state, a measure that would make judges liable for imprisonment and financial punishment because of decisions they make failed 90 percent to 10 percent.

In Missouri, with 6 percent of precincts reporting, a ballot measure that would allow embryonic stem-cell research in that state was trailing, 52 percent to 48 percent, shortly before 10 p.m. last night.

In Michigan, with 8 percent of precincts reporting, supporters of the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative were leading 66 percent to 35 percent. That measure would eliminate racial and other preferences in the state in the areas of public hiring, public contracting, and admissions to public colleges and universities.

Arizona had the most crowded ballot yesterday with 19 different propositions. The list included four prompted by that state’s problem of illegal immigration. Proposition 103 would make English Arizona’s official language.

The other three sought to deny bail to illegal aliens charged with serious felonies, prohibit them from receiving punitive damages in lawsuits and deny them certain services and benefits, such as lower in-state college tuition at public institutions.

Measures on the ballots in Colorado (Amendment 44) and Nevada (Question 7) would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older.

Proposals to ban smoking in all public places or workplaces or to raise the tobacco taxes were on the ballots in six states: Arizona, California, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and South Dakota.

In California, Proposition 86 would increase the state cigarette tax by $2.60 per pack. Missouri’s Amendment 3 would increase the cigarette tax by 80 cents a pack and raise the taxes on other tobacco products by 20 percent. Measure 2 in South Dakota would boost the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and raise the tax on other tobacco products from 10 percent to 35 percent of the wholesale price.

However, rival tobacco measures were on the ballots of Arizona, Nevada and Ohio, which would allow more smoking in public places and prohibit passage of further smoking restrictions.

Voters in six states — Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio — were offered measures to increase the minimum wage. In Ohio, recent polls indicated at least 70 percent of voters supported an initiative to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.85 an hour and index it to inflation.

The largest number of state ballot measures addressed the issue of eminent domain. They focused on restricting or barring the taking of property by government for private use. They were in reaction to a June 2005 Supreme Court decision that permitted government to condemn property for use by a private developer, if the project would mean more jobs and tax revenues.

Since the high court’s ruling last year, 31 states have limited the government’s use of condemnation. The measures trying to do it through voter action were Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington.

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