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Gay marriage ban organizers within "striking distance"

Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage say they are "within striking distance" of gathering the more than 611,000 petition signatures needed to get their amendment on the 2008 ballot. John Stemberger of Florida4Marriage.Org said today in an e-mail to supporters that they have received "thousands upon thousands" of petitions this summer. (Full text in comments below)

The deadline to turn in petitions is next year. But Stemberger says they are mounting one last push to get in enough signatures by this September.

Of course, any amendment on the 2008 ballot must now pass by a 60 percent threshold. Voters last year made it harder to amend the constitution.