State Ballot Measures
Updated 3 March 2014
- On 24 February 2014, AK state Senator Hollis French proposed to repeal the 1998 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, which requires 2/3 approval in both the House and Senate before appearing on a statewide ballot. The move was applauded by Alaskans Together for Equality.
- On 17 June 2013, Republican strategist Tim Mooney (who aided UT’s campaign against same-gender marriage in 2004, and who helped elect TX Governor Rick Perry (R) by placing the Green Party on the ballot to split Democratic voters) launched Equal Marriage Arizona, a 2014 ballot initiative, and initially collected 9,000 signatures and $100,000 in donations (half from former NM governor Gary Johnson). EMA must collect 259,213 valid petition signatures by 3 July 2014, and get 51% of the vote on 4 November 2014.
- On 30 August 2013, The Arizona Capitol Times reported that “A ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage that is being pushed by the political right has been suspended due to suspicion from the LGBT community about the campaign timing and the motives of the campaign’s backer.” Log Cabin Republicans Arizona Chairwoman Erin Simpson said that Equal Marriage Arizona suspended its campaign indefinitely.
- On 17 September 2013, Why Marriage Matters Arizona (led by Equality Arizona, Human Rights Campaign, and ACLU Arizona) launched a grassroots campaign to repeal the AZ constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage in 2016.
- On 16 November 2012, the 400-member group, Arkansans For Equality, applied for state incorporation so that they can begin to repeal the 2004 constitutional ban on same-gender marriage. On 27 June 2013, AFE proposed a constitutional amendment to only repeal the 2004 ban on same-gender civil marriage. On 13 August 2013, the AR attorney general approved the wording of the AFE proposal.
- Another group, Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality, met with attorneys the same week to work on a ballot initiative for 2016, which requires valid petition signatures from 78,133 residents. On 7 November 2013, AR Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved the AIME ballot measure to repeal the existing ban on same-gender civil marriage and also to legalize such unions. On 18 January 2014, AIME began petitioning to repeal the 2004 constitutional ban against same-gender civil marriage, via the 2016 ballot. Valid signatures are needed from at least 10% of all 2014 voters and 5% of the voters in 15 counties.
- On 10 July 2013, AIME proposed an amendment to repeal the ban and also legalize same-gender civil marriage.
- On 11 February 2013, a hearing was held on Ballot Proposal #1 (marriage equality).
- On 7 August 2013, Ballot Proposal #43 (to allow same-gender civil marriage) cleared a ballot question title board hearing. The draft petition was scheduled for proposal to the CO Secretary of State on 19 August, and if approved, would be used to collect 90,000 valid signatures for the 2014 ballot, which is expected to require about $5 million and thousands of volunteer hours.
- On 21 June 2013, Republican strategist Tim Mooney (who aided UT’s 2004 campaign against same-gender marriage, and who helped elect TX Governor Rick Perry (R) by placing the Green Party on the ballot to split Democratic voters) launched Equal Marriage Florida, and Ballot Initiative 13-01 (Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom), which requires 68,314 valid signatures for Attorney General review, and 683,149 valid signatures to appear on the ballot. At least 13 groups oppose any 2014 or 2016 ballot as premature: ACLU of Florida, Aqua Foundation for Women, LGBT Visitor Center, Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Our Fund, Equality Florida, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Pride Center, Safe Schools South Florida, Pridelines Youth Services, Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. On 13 September 2013, Equal Marriage Florida suspended its ballot campaign until 2016, after suspicion about the effort’s origins, strategy, and the motives of GOP strategist Tim Mooney, and Mooney and FL Campaign Manager Vanessa Brito refused all requests for interviews.
- Amending the constitution takes 4 years: passage in 2 consecutive biennial legislative sessions, and then passage by the voters. Legislators overwhelmingly voted in favor of HJR-6 (House Joint Resolution 6), a first time in 2011 (70-to-26 in the House, 40-to-10 in the Senate), which would outlaw same-gender marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership (same-gender marriage is already banned by IN law), and would affect 614 state laws. On 27 January 2014, by 57 to 40, the IN House approved HJR-3, a proposal to revise the IN constitution to ban same-gender civil marriage, after revising it to delete a ban on civil union, domestic partnership, and worker spouse benefits. On 13 February 2014, the Senate passed HJR-3 as modified by the House, so the measure cannot appear on the 2014 ballot, and it can appear on the 2016 ballot only if the modified version is re-passed in 2015, and again in 2016.
- Indiana Equality Action Executive Director Rick Sutton says his group is concentrating on the public vote in 2014. On 21 August 2013, human rights and business groups launched Freedom Indiana to defeat the amendment. On 3 December 2013, 13 IN mayors (7 Democrats and 6 Republicans from Anderson, Angola, Bloomington, Carmel, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Hammond, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, South Bend, Valparaiso, and West Lafayette) opposed banning same-gender civil marriage via the state constitution. On 9 December 2013, Evansville City Council voted to oppose a ban. On 9 January 2014, four Republican state representatives re-proposed HJR-6 as HJR-3, which would ban same-gender civil marriage, other unions and related benefits via the state constitution. If approved by the House Judiciary Committee, then the House and the Senate, it would appear on the November 2014 ballot. On 14 January 2014, two IN city councils (Muncie, South Bend) joined three others (Indianapolis, Evansville, Bloomington) and voted to oppose any constitutional amendment that would ban same-gender civil marriage. On 21 January 2014, IN House Speaker Brian Bosma moved the proposed equal marriage ban bill from the House Judiciary Committee, where 3 members were reluctant to pass it, to the Elections and Apportionment Committee, where it passed, 9-to-3 (two of the bill’s authors are members). On 28 January 2014 the IN House passed HJR-3. The Indiana Senate voted 32-17 in favor of the ban on same-sex marriage on 17 February 2014. The vote was for the constitutional amendment that did not include the second sentence, which would have also banned civil unions and similar arrangements. The House had previously removed that provision. The Senate vote means the issue cannot go to voters until at least 2016.
- On 24 October 2013, the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, National Institute on Money in Politics, and Justice at Stake reported that activists spent $833,000 ($466,000 anti-LGBT + $367,000 pro-LGBT) to persuade voters whether to retain an Iowa Supreme Court judge who in 2009 ruled in favor of same-gender civil marriage. On 6 November 2012, voters retained Justice Wiggins by a 55%-to-45% margin.
- On 31 January 2013, Vote Equal (formerly Marriage Michigan PAC) announced it will collect over 300,000 signatures and raise $10 million so that in November 2014 voters can (a) repeal the 2004 same-gender marriage ban and (b) pass marriage equality.
- Meanwhile, Equality Michigan, the state’s largest LGBT advocate group, is running public education campaigns in planning for a 2016 ballot measure.
- On 29 May 2013, state senators introduced 4 bills to advance recognition of same-gender couples: Joint Resolution W would let MI voters repeal the constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage; Resolution 64 would urge repeal of the federal Defense-of-Marriage Act; Bill 405 would repeal other limitations on same-gender relationships, and Bill 406 would recognize same-gender marriages from states where they are already legal.
- On 24 June 2013, 4 state Representatives introduced 3 pieces of legislation: (1) a constitutional amendment to repeal the 2004 same-gender civil marriage ban; (2) a bill to recognize same-gender civil marriages from elsewhere; and (3) a bill to legalize same-gender civil marriage in MI.
- In 2002, NV banned same-gender marriage via its constitution. In 2009, the legislature created domestic partnerships. On 22 April 2013, a joint resolution to repeal the state’s same-gender marriage ban and approve same-gender marriage was approved by the NV Senate, and on 23 May 2013, it was approved by the state Assembly, on a 27-to-14 vote. If both houses approve it again in 2015, it will go to voters in 2016.
- On 13 February 2014, Freedom Nevada began a ballot campaign to repeal NV’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage in 2016, sponsored by ACLU, ACLU of Nevada, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, and Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
- A petition for a ballot question to repeal Ohio’s 2004 constitutional ban on marriage equality was approved on 4 April 2012. On 16 April 2013, Lucas County, OH commissioners unanimously voted to support repeal of OH’s same-gender marriage ban. On 9 May 2013, the OH Democratic Party officially launched a fund-raising campaign to repeal the constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.
- On 9 September 2013, Why Marriage Matters Ohio launched a statewide campaign for marriage equality (sponsored by ACLU, Equality Ohio, Freedom to Marry, and Human Rights Campaign) but not in 2014.
- FreedomOhio co-founder Ian James said his group will easily collect the 385,245 valid, registered, voter signatures. That number equals 10% of recent voters, and must consist of at least 5% of recent voters from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, at least 125 days before the November 2014 election. On 12 November 2013, FreedomOhio said it had gathered the minimum 385,245 signatures needed to put equal marriage on the November 2014 ballot, but would continue trying to collect a total of 1 million signatures from OH’s 12 million residents. On 9 February 2014, FreedomOhio announced it has gathered 650,000 petition signatures, hopes to reach 1,000,000 by summer, and will decide later whether the statewide vote occurs in 2014 or 2016.
- #1 On 25 July 2013, the coalition Oregon United For Marriage began collecting 116,284 petition signatures for two nearly identical ballot measures to revise the constitution to allow same-gender marriage: Initiative 7 (Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative) and Initiative 8 (Right to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative), sponsored by Basic Rights Oregon. Passage of either one would make OR the first state to repeal a constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage. The current domestic partner law gives same-gender couples all state-level rights of marriage, except for the word “marriage” and federal marriage-related benefits. On 23 April 2013, Oregon United For Marriage and Basic Rights Oregon launched their 2014 campaign with a 4-minute online video. On 11 September 2013, the Portland Business Alliance endorsed the OUM campaign. On 4 October 2013, the Oregon Business Association, which represents over 300 businesses, endorsed the Freedom-to-Marry & Religious Protection Initiative, following the Portland Business Alliance. Volunteers have collected over 90,000 of the 116,284 petition signatures required to place same-gender civil marriage on the November 2014 statewide ballot. On 19 October 2013, Intel Corporation, OR’s largest employer, joined Nike, Portland General Electric, Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Business Association, and Oregon Business Coalition to support marriage equality. On 6 November 2013, San Francisco non-profit leader Mike Marshall took over leadership of Oregon United for Marriage. On 19 November 2013, Nike created the Nike Equality Political Action Committee, a foundation that raises funds to help Oregon United For Marriage upgrade civil unions to full equality at the ballot box in November 2014. The company and its executives already donated $280,000. By 6 January 2014, Oregon United for Marriage had collected over 122,000 signatures. On 23 January 2014, Oregon United for Marriage launched a student campaign at 8 schools, targeted toward adults aged 18-29. On 20 February 2014, Oregon United for Marriage said that it had over 160,000 signatures (only 116,284 are required for the November 2014 ballot), but the campaign is temporarily suspended pending the outcome of two combined lawsuits (Deanna Geiger, et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber, et al., and Paul Rummell, et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber, et al).
- #2 On 21 November 2013, two anti-LGBT organizations (Friends of Religious Freedom, Oregon Family Council) filed ballot measure IP-52, to legalize discrimination against same-gender couples seeking commercial wedding services whenever the discriminators use personal religious beliefs as their reason. If the wording is approved by state officials, the sponsors would have to gather 87,213 valid signatures to get the measure on the November 2014 ballot.
- On 19 December 2013, UT state Representative Jacob Anderegg introduced H.J.R.-1, Joint Resolution on Religious Liberty, which would amend the UT constitution to excuse religious organizations from having to recognize any marriage in violation of conscience of faith.
- On 14 January 2013, a Republican-dominated state legislature subcommittee defeated, by a 6-to-1 vote, a proposal introduced by delegate Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County) to begin repealing Virginia’s 2006 same-gender marriage ban.
- On 18 November 2013, VA state Senator Adam Ebbin and VA state Delegate Joseph Morrissey introduced bills to repeal the 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage. If lawmakers approve both bills during the 2014 and the 2016 sessions, a voter referendum will occur in November 2016.
Send questions and comments to Ned Flaherty: NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.