Store Research

Proposition 22 “Limit on Marriages. Initiative Statute.”

Adopted March 7, 2000, Prop. 22

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Proposition 22, described in the California Voter Information Guide as the “Limit on Marriages,” initiative, added Family Code section 308.5 to state that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”  An uncodified section 1 of the proposed law denominated this the “California Defense of Marriage Act.”  (See Exhibit A, #1b, page 132)  


The “Argument in Favor of Proposition 22” provided this rationale and background to the initiative:


            When people ask, “Why is this necessary?” I say that even though California law already says only a man and a woman may marry, it also recognizes marriages from other states.  However, judges in some of those states want to define marriage differently than we do.  If they succeed, California may have to recognize new kinds of marriages, even though most people believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.

            California is not alone in trying to keep marriage between a man and a woman.  In 1996, Democrats and Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill saying that the U.S. government defines marriage as between a man and a woman only, and said each state could do the same.

            President Clinton signed the bill the day after he received it.  So far, 30 states have passed laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

            Now it’s our turn. . .

(See Exhibit A, #1a, page 52)


The “Argument Against Proposition 22” provided this argument against the initiative, also denominated the “Knight Initiative”:


            The purpose of Proposition 22 is not to ban marriage for same-sex couples in California.  It is already banned.


            . . .


            Voting no on 22 will not legalize same-sex marriage, no matter what the supporters of proposition 22 say.


            The real purpose is to use Proposition 22 as a tool in court to deny basic civil rights to lesbians and gays and their families.  Proposition 22 will be used, as similar laws have been in other states, to deny the right of partners to visit their sick or injured companion in hospitals, to deny the right to inheritance, and even to deny the right of a remaining companion to live in their home.

(See Exhibit A, #1a, page 53)


Proposition 22 passed with a 61.4 % of the vote.  (See Exhibit A, #2, page xi)