Nationwide, Voters Reject Tax Cut Measures, Support Same-Sex Marriage Ban wire reports

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6, 2008 – California’s Proposition 8 may have received a lot of press nationwide, but cruising under the radar of the most exciting presidential election in memory were 153 ballot measures on ballots across the country Tuesday. Voters were faced with questions addressing taxes, social issues, health care, education, gambling, gay marriage and a number of other issues.

Of the 59 citizen initiatives on the ballot, voters approved 22. They rejected 30, and seven remain undecided after the election. Between 1996 and 2006, voters approved 49.4 percent of initiatives on the ballot, but this year’s total was slightly lower.

“Although this wasn’t a landmark year for ballot initiatives, it indicates citizens remain engaged in the political process and want a say on the major issues affecting their states,” said Jennie Drage Bowser, elections policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

There were two popular referenda on the ballot this year. Voters in Maine rejected a legislative measure that would have increased taxes on the beverage industry in order to fund the state’s health care program. In Ohio, voters upheld a legislative measure that regulates the payday loan industry.

Of the 84 measures referred by state legislatures, voters approved 59 and rejected 23. Two remain undecided. Voters rejected all three constitutional convention questions in Connecticut, Hawaii and Illinois.

Voters in California approved a ban against same-sex marriages. The ACLU and Equality California have since filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the vote.

“The Yes on Proposition 8 campaign has been the single largest, most powerful grassroots movement in the history of American ballot initiative campaigns,” said Ron Prentice, Chairman of – Yes on 8.

“Proposition 8 has always been about restoring the traditional definition of marriage. It doesn’t discriminate or take rights away from anyone,” Prentice added. “Gay and lesbian domestic partnerships will continue to enjoy the same legal rights as married spouses. Our coalition has no plans to seek any changes in that law.”

In Florida and Arizona, voters approved constitutional amendments barring recognition of same-sex couples, including, in Florida, civil unions and domestic partnerships. And in Arkansas, voters approved a measure prohibiting the placement of foster children in homes with unmarried citizens.

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