Connecticut Constitutional Convention, Question 1 (2008)
Connecticut voters are automatically asked every 20 years whether the state constitution should be revised or amended. The question about a constitutional convention last appeared on the ballot in 1986. Voters in 1986 chose not to impanel a constitutional convention.
One of the prominent issues discussed in 2008 was gay marriage. Had Question 1 been approved by voters, opponents of gay marriage would have had the opportunity to propose a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. However, 2008's Question 1 was defeated.
|Connecticut Constitutional Convention|
Text of measure
Article 13, Section 2 of the state constitution reads: "The question "Shall there be a Constitutional Convention to amend or revise the Constitution of the State?" shall be submitted to all the electors of the state." If a majority of those who vote on the question answer "Yes" the legislature will, with a 2/3 majority of both Houses, "prescribe by law the manner of selection of the membership of such convention." Any amendment or revision proposed by the convention be put to a statewide vote, and if approved by a majority of voters become part of the constitution. The ballot question does not specify the agenda for the convention or who goes to it.
The support for holding a convention included those interested in bringing the process of initiative & referendum, to the state, as well as a coalition of taxpayer groups. A group, the Connecticut Constitution Convention Campaign, formed to encourage people to vote "yes" on Election Day. Their broader goal is to add initiative & referendum rights to the Connecticut Constitution. Supporters included:
- Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has also endorsed a "yes" vote on the convention call, primarily for the purpose of obtaining initiative & referendum.
- The Family Institute of Connecticut.
- National Taxpayers Union
- Federation of Connecticut Taxpayer Organizations
- In the wake of the Connecticut Supreme Court's decision in Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health on October 10, the Catholic Conference in Connecticut endorsed a "yes" vote on Question 1.
- The Green Party of Connecticut.
The ballot question was opposed by a coalition called Vote NO Protect Our Constitution. The coalition included 45 organizations, 70 clergy and 900 individuals. Groups included labor, community and civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Love Makes a Family, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Planned Parenthood, CT Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and others.
Opponents of a convention included:
- Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
- Constitutional scholar Wes Horton
- League of Women Voters
- CT Citizen Action Group
- State Treasurer Denise Nappier
The last constitutional convention took place in Connecticut in 1965 and yielded the state's current constitution. This replaced the previous 1818 constitution, and has been amended 30 times. Prior to 1818 the state was governed under the Crown issued Charter of 1662.
The last vote on whether to hold a new convention failed in 1986.
State Constitutional Convention Calls
- New York Times, "Gay Marriage in Connecticut; The Backlash," October 20, 2008
- New York Times, "Taking Sides on a Constitutional Convention," October 3, 2008
- Hartford Courant, "Bishops Catholic Bishops Urge 'Yes' Vote On Constitutional Convention," October 12, 2008
- Norwich Bulletin, "Our View: Ballot initiatives could give voters greater voice," June 30, 2008
- National Conference of State Legislatures Ballot Measures Database
- Connecticut Secretary of State, 2008 Election Results
- The New York Times, "Gay Marriage in Connecticut: The Backlash," October 14, 2008
- "Article 13 of the Connecticut Constitution"
- Hartford Courant, "Rally pushes constitutional convention," September 29, 2008
- Wikipedia, "Wesley W. Horton"
- League of Women Voters
- Connecticut Citizen Action Group
- Wikipedia, "Connecticut Charter of 1662"
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