Michigan's marriage amendment barred from ballot

No one denies that Citizens for the Protection of Marriage has enough signatures to put a state constitutional amendment on Michigan's November 2 ballot. The organization needed around 317,700 signatures, but got 480,000 of them.

But yesterday, the four-member Michigan Board of State Canvassers deadlocked, thus blocking the amendment from appearing on the ballot.

"Democratic Canvasser Doyle O'Connor said the board should not place an amendment before voters that would be 'patently unlawful' and certain to be struck down by the courts if approved," the Detroit Free Press reports. "O'Connor sided with opponents of the marriage proposal who claim it would nullify existing benefits for unmarried partners offered by universities, local governments and private corporations, in addition to restricting marriage to heterosexual couples. To do so, he said, would violate other constitutional protections and 'could never be enforced. We know the courts would set it aside.'"

Huh. A constitutional amendment would be unlawful? That's odd. I wonder what other constitutional clauses are unlawful. Ooh! Maybe the whole separation of powers thing is illegal! Maybe Article II Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution is illegal! Here's what it says, after explaining how many signatures a petition to amend the constitution requires:

Any amendment proposed by such petition shall be submitted, not less than 120 days after it was filed, to the electors at the next general election. Such proposed amendment, existing provisions of the constitution which would be altered or abrogated thereby, and the question as it shall appear on the ballot shall be published in full as provided by law.

Huh. Nothing in there ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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