Marriage and family on the ballot

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Most marriage-related ballot measures and initiatives offer definitions of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. In defining marriage in that fashion, proponents are saying that when a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, enter into a committed relationship with each other, their arrangements with each other should not legally be considered a marriage. These ballot measures are sometimes collectively referred to as Defense of Marriage Amendments or "DOMAs".

Altogether, voters in 29 states have passed state constitutional amendments that ban same-sex marriage: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Hawaii voters approved a constitutional amendment empowering the legislature to outlaw same-sex marriage; that state's lawmakers then did so in 1998.

Voters in 2 states have rejected attempts to ban same-sex marriage: Arizona and Connecticut. However, Arizona voters later approved a narrower ban on same-sex marriage that did not affect civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Not all marriage-related amendments and initiatives are about defining marriage; some of them relate to adoption, custody, divorce and other marriage-related issues.


Approveda Maine Question 1
Approveda Washington Referendum 71


In 2008, California Proposition 8 was approved, representing the first time that same-sex marriage was banned in a state where it was already legal. Other notable developments included the approval of the Arizona Marriage Protection Amendment, which banned same-sex marriage in Arizona after a broader proposed amendment failed in 2006.

Approveda Arizona Marriage Protection Amendment
Approveda Arkansas Unmarried Couple Adoption Ban
Approveda California Proposition 8
Approveda Florida Marriage Amendment

Failed, abandoned, withdrawn

Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot California Elimination of Domestic Partnerships Initiative
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot California Voter's Right to Protect Marriage Initiative v.6
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Florida Abolition of Alimony Obligations
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Indiana SJR-7
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Oregon Ballot Measure 303
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Oregon Ballot Measure 304



In 2006, voters in nine states had the opportunity to weigh in on ballot measures about how to define marriage. Each of the nine measures in one way or another was an attempt to legislatively define marriage as between a man and a woman. The Arizona initiative lost, representing the first time that a marriage-related amendment has been defeated (although a narrower ban was approved in 2008).

Initiated measures

Legislative referrals

Campaign finance

According to a report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics[1]

  • $18 million cumulatively was spent by political committees working for and against the nine proposals.
  • Opponents of the measures outspent advocates by about 3-1.
  • Only in Tennessee did supporters raise more money than opponents
  • The Arlington Group contributed $1.65 million through "member groups and affiliates".
  • Gay and lesbian rights groups contributed $5.64 million, mostly through the Gill Action Fund.
  • Tim Gill and his connections cumulatively contributed $5.28 million to defeat the measures.
  • Churches and their employees gave $234,344 to support the measures, versus $1.9 million in 2004.




Measure Outcome  % "yes" votes
Louisiana Marriage Amendment 1 Approveda 78.0
Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2 Approveda 70.7


Measure Outcome  % "yes" votes
Arkansas Constitutional Amendment 3 Approveda 74.9
Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 Approveda 76.2
Kentucky Marriage Amendment Approveda 74.6
Michigan Proposal 2 Approveda 58.6
Mississippi Marriage Amendment 1 Approveda 86.0
Montana CI-96 Approveda 66.6
North Dakota Marriage Amendment Approveda 73.2
Ohio Marriage Amendment Approveda 61.7
Oklahoma State Question 711 Approveda 75.6
Oregon Ballot Measure 36 Approveda 56.6
Utah Marriage Amendment Approveda 65.9





See also

External links


  1. The Money Behind the 2006 Marriage Amendments from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, July 23, 2007 (PDF)