Nothing like putting people's feet to the fire. We thought this initiative would really test how sanctimonious pro-prop 8 voters really are. If it doesn't pass, it could actually work in our favor.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--John Marcotte, a married father of two who voted against last year’s Prop 8, might seem an unusual proponent for a bill designed to further “protect traditional marriage” until he explains how he plans to do it: by outlawing divorce in the state of California.
“When I first heard about Prop 8, I figured that most of its proponents were homophobic, or had unfounded fears that allowing same-sex marriage in California would force classrooms to teach about the subject,” says Marcotte. “But when I learned that Prop 8 was really about protecting traditional marriage, I recognized that there was a real opportunity to go a step further and outlaw divorce, since it brings about the death of every traditional marriage.”
Marcotte worked with an attorney friend to draft the legal language for his bill, The 2010 California Marriage Protection Act, and paid the $200 registration fee out of his own pocket to submit the proposal for consideration. His wife was initially hesitant to have Marcotte spend money on the idea, but donations quickly rolled into a website he created – http://www.rescuemarriage.org – that have paid for the expense. The website features video PSAs and T-shirts for sale, including one that states: “You said, ‘Til death do us part.’ You’re not dead yet.”
Just two weeks ago, Marcotte received approval from the office of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen for his marriage initiative, which prepared a legal title and summary (http://www.sos.ca.gov/admin/press-releases/2009/db09-063.pdf) that will appear on initiative petitions, the first step in placing the bill on the California ballot in 2010. There’s good news for taxpayers too: according to the Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance, the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars annually due to the elimination of divorce court proceedings.
The onus is now upon Marcotte and the bill’s supporters to collect the signatures of 694,354 registered voters, or 8 percent of the total votes cast in the 2006 election, by the March 22 deadline. Due to signature-gathering irregularities, the proponents of the initiative will likely have to collect more than 1 million signatures to advance their proposed text to the ballot for voters to consider. A rally is scheduled for November 14 in Sacramento, where married couples will renew their vows on the steps of the Capitol. Marcotte has already found a number of supporters from both the right and the left and has accrued more than 7,000 followers on Facebook.
For Marcotte, his Marriage Protection Act is but the first step in raising awareness about the next great battle to protect traditional marriage within California but he hopes that other states will take his lead and join in on the movement. “This isn’t about taking away someone’s rights, it’s about what we value as a society,” he says. “We live in a divorce-promiscuous society. It’s on the television, it’s in the movies, the newspapers. It’s even in our kids’ textbooks. Just because almost half of all marriages eventually end in divorce doesn’t make it okay.”