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Ballot box

"Ballot box" Continued...

Issue: "2010 The Year Ahead," Jan. 16, 2010

Abortion

Seven states have launched formal "personhood" movements for 2010: Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, and Nevada. Each has a pending ballot measure that would recognize the personhood of the unborn from the earliest stages of life. Supporters of this growing movement, which is in preliminary stages in 26 other states, hope it would eventually lead to outlawing abortion. So far none of the measures has gathered enough signatures or legislative support, depending on each state's laws, to land formally on any ballot. But drives are under way in all seven states: Personhood Nevada is pushing for the 97,000 signatures needed by May for the proposed 14-word amendment to get on the 2010 statewide ballot. "It's time for the people of this country and the people of Nevada to demand that all human beings, from their biological beginning, be recognized and protected as persons under the law," said Richard Ziser, the group's leader. Already Planned Parenthood has challenged the Nevada amendment's wording.

Same-sex marriage

After a successful 2009, during which Maine rejected the legalization of same-sex marriage, supporters of marriage as a union between a man and a women will look to three states in 2010. Gay marriage advocates have filed ballot amendments in Arizona and Colorado. Arizona's would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships, while Colorado's measure would recognize marriage as a union between any two consenting adults. Meanwhile, in California, efforts are underway to approve a ballot measure to repeal Proposition 8, that state's landmark 2008 initiative making same-sex marriage illegal.

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