Illinois Family Institute remains hopeful that the Marriage Protection Referendum will be on the November ballot, as the legal challenge to the state’s initial review of the marriage petitions begins.
A State Board of Elections sample of the pro-marriage petitions has reportedly found that Protect Marriage Illinois reached the level of 91.4 percent of the required number of 283,111 valid signatures–short of the 95 percent required to qualify for the ballot. The SBE has called a phone conference today at 12:30, which can be monitored in the James R. Thompson Center office in Chicago or the Springfield office.
This finding is a momentary setback, but we remain hopeful that citizens will have the opportunity to affirm marriage as between one man and one woman in November. Without divulging our legal plan, there were numerous inconsistencies in the overall process of reviewing our petitions. For example, the review procedures and criteria for valid signatures varied drastically from county to county. Suffice it to say that there are several areas on which we can challenge the SBE’s initial findings.
David E. Smith, who headed up the marriage petition drive, said, “Our opponents are far too quick to claim victory. Just as they prematurely labeled the recent [Chicago] library fire as a ‘hate crime’-it turned out to be set by a mentally unstable homeless woman-they are gloating over our demise, even before we have had a chance to present evidence rebutting the state board’s preliminary findings.”
IFI has retained Michael Lavelle, former chairman of the Illinois Board of Elections and one of the leading election law attorneys in the state, to head its legal effort in defense of the referendum.
Illinois Family Institute defends marriage, family and the sanctity of life in the Land of Lincoln.