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6/1/2006 - June 2006 Educational Update - The Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment - On the Ballot June 6

AN EDUCATIONAL UPDATE FROM THE SOUTHEAST LAW INSTITUTE™, INC. To: SLI Supporters Date: June 2006 From: A. Eric Johnston Re: The Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment – On the Ballot June 6 Alabama voters will take one of the most significant steps we have taken in many years when we vote on an amendment to the Alabama Constitution which will prohibit same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state of Alabama. The primary elections for the Democrat and Republican parties will be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2006. On the ballot will be the opportunity to vote on the constitutional amendment to define marriage in Alabama. Background For many years the homosexual lobby has worked across the nation on legal recognition of homosexual relationships. The most significant efforts were to define marriage to permit persons of the same sex to marry. In some jurisdictions, the high status of marriage could not be achieved and a lesser relationship was called “civil union.” As a result, authorities began passing laws to prohibit these relationships, including in Alabama, Section 30-1-19, 1975 Code of Alabama, the Alabama Marriage Protection Act, enacted in 1998, and the federal statutes, 1 U.S.C.A., Section 7, defining marriage, and 28 U.S.C.A., Section 1738C, The Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996. On May 17, 2004, the State of Massachusetts actually legalized same-sex marriage. Persons from all over the country flocked there to be married to members of the same sex. This presented an even more significant issue for states because the United States Constitution, Article IV, Section 1, the “Full Faith and Credit Clause,” could require one state to recognize what is legal in another state. In other words, persons of the same sex who are married in Massachusetts may come to Alabama and we could be required to recognize the validity of that marriage. SLI began to advocate the necessity of an additional layer of protection. The best form of protection we could achieve as a state would be a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage and prohibit same-sex unions of every description. SLI drafted a bill and worked with several members of the Alabama Legislature. The leadership role was taken by Representatives Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) and Yusuf Salaam (D-Selma) and Senator Hinton Mitchem (D-Albertville). In 2004 the bill did not pass. In 2005 the bill was reintroduced and finally received approval of the Alabama Senate and House. Being a constitutional amendment, it would not be signed by the Governor but would go straight to the ballot to be voted on by Alabama citizens. The Sanctity of Marriage Amendment The amendment has several parts. It is known as the “Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.” It declares the uniquely inherit relationship between a man and a woman is a sacred covenant and is recognized by the state as a civil contract. The act provides that “no marriage license shall be issued in the State of Alabama to parties of the same sex.” Further, the state shall not recognize a marriage between parties of the same sex from another jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued, nor any common law marriage of parties of the same sex. Finally, it holds that no “union replicating marriage” between persons of the same sex, what is commonly referred to as civil union, will be recognized. The amendment will be on both the Republican and Democrat ballots, as well as, a separate ballot for those not voting in a primary. The amendment summary you should find on the ballot should actually read as follows: “Shall the following Amendment be adopted to the Constitution of Alabama?” PROPOSED AMENDMENT WHICH APPLIES STATEWIDE Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that no marriage license shall be issued in Alabama to parties of the same sex and that the state shall not recognize a marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred as a result of the law of any other jurisdiction. (Proposed by ACT 2004-35) Yes ( ) No ( ). Conclusion In the last election cycle, 2004, eleven states overwhelmingly passed similar constitutional measures. A total of 17 states have constitutional language. A “yes” vote is to establish traditional marriage in Alabama under its highest law. Of course, a “no” vote will heighten the possibility of a successful full faith and credit challenge to Alabama’s statute which defines traditional marriage. Alabamians deserve as much protection as possible. We urge you to vote on June 6 for the candidates of your choice, but under all circumstances, to vote on the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.

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