Marriage on the ballot in four states, medicinal marijuana in three, death penalty in California, abortion in Florida
By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
October 25, 2012
Mention November’s election and immediately talk of Obama and Romney fills the room. But when Americans enter the voting booth, there’s more to be settled than the presidential race.
“These other issues — marriage, the death penalty, abortion, marijuana — they won’t draw 59 million viewers like the presidential debates, but they are certainly matters that deserve our attention and prayers,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Voters across the nation have some heavy-duty questions to address. We all need wisdom as we check those boxes.”
Four states will weigh in on marriage.
Minnesota voters will get a chance to help protect marriage by defining it in their state’s constitution as between one man and one woman. Just like in North Carolina prior to its May referendum, Minnesota already has a law against same-sex marriage, but no constitutional protection. The amendment, if passed, will still leave open the possibility of same-sex civil unions. A mid-October poll in Minnesota shows the Marriage Protection Amendment with the narrowest of leads (47 to 46 percent) with 7 percent undecided. If the measure passes, Minnesota would be the 32nd state to approve an MPA.
Meanwhile Maryland residents may vote down Question 6 to put a stop to legislation passed earlier this year legalizing same-sex marriage. Those in Washington can similarly nix the redefining of marriage by defeating Referendum 74. And in Maine, Question 1 will ask voters if the state should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In 2009, Maine residents repealed a gay marriage law passed by the state’s Legislature.
All the races appear to be close with some polls giving the edge to same-sex marriage supporters, especially in Maine.
“We urge marriage defenders in these states not to give up but to do all they can to get out the vote,” said Dr. Creech. “We had hoped North Carolina’s May vote for marriage at 61 to 39 percent would help set the tone for these races and believe it will still help send a message of encouragement.”
He said a nationwide trend that North Carolina should definitely work to avoid is that of approving so-called “medicinal” marijuana, an issue that will appear on ballots in Arkansas and Massachusetts. Montana voters will also have a say on whether their state should severely limit the medical marijuana rules it approved in 2004 or return to more liberal policies.
In Arkansas, a group of doctors just announced its opposition to legalizing the drug. And in Massachusetts, prosecutors and police are sounding the alarm about its dangers. Already some 17 states and the District of Columbia have approved medicinal marijuana.
Rev. Creech expects the issue to come up in North Carolina during as early as the next legislative session, especially since the State’s Democratic Party made medical marijuana part of its platform.
“We hope folks remember that this plant with psychoactive properties is still illegal under federal law, as well it should be,” he said. “Just this week new evidence was released revealing marijuana’s negative effect on intelligence.”
Even so, voters in three more states — Colorado, Washington and Oregon — are set to decide whether marijuana should be legal, not just for the sick, but for recreational use.
“Obviously recreational use is the ultimate goal of the medicinal push, since there is no proven medical benefit from smoking marijuana,” Rev. Creech added. “So-called ‘medical marijuana’ isn’t about easing pain as much as it is about paving the way for more expanded drug use.”
Other social issues on the ballot include California’s Proposition 34, which would end the state’s death penalty, and an abortion limiting initiative in Florida.
Amendment 6 in the Sunshine State would ban the use of state tax money to pay for abortions or for health insurance coverage of abortion, except in rare cases, including rape, incest or when a woman’s life is at stake.