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California No Divorces Amendment (2010)

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A No Divorces Amendment was cleared for circulation for the 2012 ballot in California.[1] However, supporters of the initiative did not submit signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot by the statutory deadline.

Supporters of the measure originally filed language with the intention of qualifying the initiative for the state's 2010 ballot.

John Marcotte, a 38-year-old married father of two, filed the ballot language. He said of his proposal, "Since California has decided to protect traditional marriage, I think it would be hypocritical of us not to sacrifice some of our own rights to protect traditional marriage even more."[2]

The proposal was to amend the California Constitution to add a new Section 7.6 to Article I that says, "No party to any marriage shall be restored to the state of an unmarried person during the lifetime of the other party unless the marriage is void or voidable, as set forth in Part 2 of Division 6 of the Family Code."

The "No Divorces" amendment was intended ironically "by those who support gay marriage to make a point to those who argued for Proposition 8 last year, saying that gay marriage should be banned because it ruins the sanctity of marriage and the family unit."[3]

The California Legislative Analyst's Office anticipated that if the proposition had reached the ballot and been enacted it would have resulted in "savings to the state of up to hundreds of millions of dollars annually for support of the court system due to the elimination of divorce proceedings."[2]

Text of measure


Maldonado explains vote on 2009 budget

Ballot title

Eliminates the Law Allowing Married Couples to Divorce. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the ability of married couples to get divorced in California. Preserves the ability of married couples to seek an annulment."

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statements for California's 2012 ballot propositions

(This is a summary of the initiative's estimated "fiscal impact on state and local government" prepared by the California Legislative Analyst's Office and the Director of Finance.)

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Savings to the state of up to hundreds of millions of dollars annually for support of the court system due to the elimination of divorce proceedings.

Facebook momentum

Supporter John Marcotte set up a Facebook page to promote the cause. As of July 2010, the page on Facebook had attracted over 25,000 fans.[4]

$12 T-Shirt

The "Ban Divorce" T-shirt

The campaign to ban divorce was selling $12 T-shirt to raise money.[4]

Marcotte slogans

Ballot initiative leader John Marcotte garnered media coverage for his witticisms and slogans, which included:

  • "Closing the budget gap -- one marriage at a time," a website slogan.
  • "You said 'Til death do us part.' You're not dead yet," a website and T-shirt slogan.
  • "Proposition 8 tried to make traditional marriage safer by making sure that Adam Lambert and Ryan Seacrest can't profess their eternal love to one another."
  • "Proposition 8 backers recognized that gay marriage was just the beginning of a very slippery slope. Next, people would be marrying goats, trees and particularly stylish armchairs."
  • "Proposition 8 only attacked the problem from the edges. I'm going after the heart of the matter. . . . If you can't get divorced, you can't destroy traditional marriage."[5]

Criticism

According to the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, supporters of reforming the ballot initiative process in California point to John Marcotte "as the poster child of abusing the initiative process." Marcotte disagreeed, saying, "If you look at other ballot initiatives, they're kind of bought and paid for. You pour $2 million into a bank account, and you can get anything on the ballot. I think that's an abuse of power."[6]

Marcotte additionally said that California's initiative process ."..was a process designed to empower the people, and instead it's become a process for special interests to buy legislation by bypassing the Legislature. The hurdles they've set are incredibly high, so the only way you can do this is to have wealthy, moneyed interests."[7]

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