In Defeats, Evangelicals' Political Unity at All-Time High
In Florida, voters defeated a constitutional amendment that would have overturned the state's ban on public funding for religious organizations. Amendment 8 would have allowed faith-based organizations to receive state funds (so long as the funding did not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution). The amendment also would have allowed people to receive certain public services from religious organizations without government interference. Supporters saw Amendment 8 as an expansion of religious freedom; opponents saw it as an establishment of religion and a backdoor to providing vouchers to religious schools. Also defeated in Florida: an amendment that would have banned state funding of abortion or the use of the state constitution to expand abortion rights.
One bright spot for evangelicals was the overwhelming victory for California's Proposition 35, which lengthens prison terms for human trafficking. The measure was spearheaded by Daphne Phung, a Christian activist who immigrated from Vietnam at age eight. Motivated by her faith, Phung founded Californians Against Slavery. The organization was able to put Proposition 35 on the ballot with the financial backing of Chris Kelly, former chief of privacy for Facebook. Early returns show the proposition passing with about 80 percent support.
It also appears Massachusetts voters did not approve a measure to legalize physician-assisted and relative-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Fifty-one percent of Massachusetts voters voted against this measure. Had it been approved, Massachusetts would have joined Oregon and Washington as the only states to allow physician-assisted suicide.