California amendment sparks concerns over potential legitimization of unconventional marriages

The California Family Council warned the broad wording could potentially open the door to the normalization of polyamorous, incestuous, and even child marriages.

California amendment sparks concerns over potential legitimization of unconventional marriages
Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP
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A California-based pro-family organization is sounding the alarm over a proposed state constitutional amendment seeking to remove the traditional definition of marriage from state law. 

The California Family Council (CFC) argues the wording of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA 5) is overly broad and could potentially open the door to the normalization of polyamorous, incestuous, and even child marriages.

Introduced by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Evan Low, ACA 5 aims to repeal Proposition 8's language defining marriage as solely "between a man and a woman" in order to protect same-sex marriages. If passed, the state constitution would instead state that "The right to marry is a fundamental right."

However, CFC President Jonathan Keller expressed concerns to Fox News Digital, stating the amendment's open-ended nature could lead to unintended consequences. "In a society like ours, you never can count on what people are willing to do for legal and financial and political reasons," Keller said. "And ACA 5, again, eliminates any of those safeguards, and it opens up Pandora's Box."

Keller warned that the amendment could potentially enable marriages between siblings, nephews and nieces marrying uncles and aunts, and even parents marrying their children. The concern is amplified by the fact that California is one of the few states where child marriage remains legal, with approximately 8,789 children ages 15 to 17 entering into marriage in 2021, according to data from the American Community Survey.

The debate over ACA 5 comes on the heels of several Bay Area cities, including Oakland and Berkeley, passing measures to protect "diverse family structures" from discrimination and extend rights to nontraditional families.

Proponents of the amendment, such as Sen. Wiener, argue rolling back Prop. 8 is "an essential step in protecting the freedom to marry for millions of LGBTQ Californians." However, critics like Keller maintain that the amendment's wording could lead to a "disaster" if enshrined into law.

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