A Sacramento Web designer who launched a satirical initiative to ban divorce in California said today the effort feels like "having caught a tiger by the tail."
John Marcotte, 38, speaking in a phone interview from his Sacramento home, said, "I had no idea we were going to get this kind of publicity."
Media coverage of the proposed 2010 California Marriage Protection Act has included national appearances by Marcotte on CNN and MSNBC and dozens of interview requests from local radio, television and newspaper outlets.
Marcotte, a married father of two, doesn't allow a chink in his ironic tone and won't admit that the initiative satirizes Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban enacted by California voters last year.
He maintains the measure is the next logical step after Proposition 8, whose supporters said they sought to safeguard traditional marriage.
"If you want to protect traditional marriage," Marcotte said, "don't stop gays from getting married, stop straight people from getting divorced."
Marcotte noted, "I'm a little embarrassed to admit I voted against Proposition 8, because I thought it was about gay rights. But then I looked at the Web site and saw that it was about protecting traditional marriage."
Now, Marcotte said, "The arguments I'm using for this initiative are exactly the same as those used for Proposition 8."
The measure needs 694,354 signatures by March 22 to get on the November 2010 state ballot.
Marcotte submitted the proposed measure to Secretary of State Debra Bowen in September and got a ballot summary from Attorney General Jerry Brown in October, allowing signature gathering to begin.
He said about 50 volunteers are now collecting signatures, but said there are "literally hundreds of people waiting" to circulate petitions as soon as blank petitions can be posted on the campaign's Web site.
He said he has no idea how many signatures have been gathered thus far and that he doesn't know and doesn't want to learn the political philosophy of those seeking to circulate petitions.
While Proposition 8 was dubbed the California Marriage Protection Act and its Web site was called protectmarriage.com, Marcotte named the new initiative the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act and its Web site rescuemarriage.org.
Like Proposition 8, the proposed initiative would be a one-sentence amendment to the California Constitution.
Marcotte asserted, "I have faith in California voters. If they voted to support Proposition 8, they will support this."