Marriage Proposition 102 amends the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. A state law already prohibits same-sex marriage. In 2006, the state was the first to reject such a ban. Before the California Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage, the measure was polling just shy of the 50 percent it needs to pass (40% opposed it, 11% were undecided).

Immigration Would permanently revoke business licenses for companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers. Two similar initiative campaigns targeting enforcement of immigration law could not get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.


Adoption Focus on the Family is backing a measure that bars individuals from adopting or providing foster care if they are cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of marriage. A 2007 University of Arkansas poll found 53 percent of prospective voters in favor, 42 percent opposed.

Gambling Measure creates a lottery to fund college scholarships. Only seven other states have no lottery, though two of these (Nevada and Mississippi) have casinos.


Abortion Proposition 4, known as "Sarah's Law," would require physicians to notify a minor's parent or guardian, then wait 48 hours before performing an abortion. A July Field Poll found 48 percent of Californians favor the amendment and 39 percent oppose it. Gov. Schwarzenegger has supported it, but similar attempts in 2005 and 2006 failed.

Marriage Proposition 8 would amend the state constitution to read, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." In May, the state supreme court invalidated a state law with similar wording. The title fight in the 2008 marriage wars has seen millions poured into both sides of the ballot battle. A July Field Poll showed an uphill battle, with 42 percent of Californians supporting the proposition and 51 percent opposing it.

Environment Proposition 2 requires that farm animals be allowed to turn around, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs or wings. It would ban cages for poultry and specific livestock crates. A July Field Poll showed 63 percent of Californians in favor of the proposition, with only 24 percent opposed.

Environment All utilities must generate one-fifth of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Private companies in the state must already meet the standard.


Abortion Amendment 48 would amend the state constitution to define "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization." The state's pro-life groups are divided on several issues of strategy, including the amendment. Focus on the Family, for example, has only supported "the goal" of the amendment. Others complain that it would deny personhood to asexually reproduced humans (such as clones).


Marriage Defines marriage as "the legal union of only one man and one woman" and bars recognition of "the substantial equivalent thereof." Nearly didn't make the ballot, and debate continues over whether it would bar civil unions and domestic partnerships. A June Quinnipiac University poll put support at 58 percent. It needs 60 percent to pass.


Gambling Legislative referral would legalize slot machines in five locations. It will almost certainly pass. Early polls showed nearly 2–1 support for slots, even though most think slots will spread to other parts of the state.


Embryonic Research An initiative would lift a 1978 ban on research that imperils or destroys embryos. The new law would limit research to donated embryos from fertility treatments and keeps the state's ban on human cloning. Supporters collected more than 570,000 signatures when the state required only 380,000.


Marriage Ballot Measure 303 could repeal a law that grants marriage benefits to civil unions. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is due to rule on whether the Secretary of State wrongfully rejected referendum signatures. May not even be on the ballot.

South Dakota

Abortion Initiated Measure 11 would bar abortion except in cases where the mother's life or health is at risk, and in cases of rape or incest. A 2006 abortion ban without the exceptions got 44 percent of the vote. This measure potentially has broader support, but many residents are tired of the debate.


Assisted Suicide Initiative 1000 is similar to Oregon's assisted-suicide law and permits the terminally ill to take lethal medication prescribed by a physician. The group Yes on I-1000 raised $1,124,000 by mid-June.The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide raised $95,600. But Washington voters shot down a similar law in 1991.

Related Elsewhere: is an extremely helpful wiki site tracking various ballot initiatives, referendums, and constitutional amendments.

Christianity Today has a special section on our website for the 2008 election and a politics blog.

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