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Bill Orton
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The Democratic nominee
for California's 67th Assembly District


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Independence Day, 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Orton at (562) 598-9630

HB Independence Day Parade marks kickoff in drive for Flag-&-Pledge Amendment

      (ORANGE COUNTY, CA.) -- Bearing his message in 2-inch letters on his shirt and on the hundreds of refrigerator magnets that he will give to onlookers, state Assembly candidate William R. "Bill" Orton (D-Seal Beach) will carry his call for a "Flag-&-Pledge Amendment" to Main Street USA as he joins marchers in the 98th annual Huntington Beach Independence Day Parade.

      "If the courts say that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, then maybe it's time to amend the Constitution," said Orton, who has proposed such an amendment to give Congress the legal power to protect the Flag and Pledge.

      When he marches, Orton will be wearing a tee-shirt bearing his 20-word Flag-&-Pledge Amendment, which reads: "No portion of this Constitution shall preclude Congress from passing legislation to adopt or protect a national Flag or Pledge." He will also be handing out 500 refrigerator magnets bearing the message.

      "People are mad about the court rulings on the Pledge and flag burning," said Orton.

      Last week, a federal circuit court panel declared that the inclusion of the words 'under God' were an unconstitutional establishment of a state religion.

      In the 1988 flag case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that musician Jello Biafra properly exercised his First Amendment rights when he burned the American Flag at a political rally held outside of the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas.

      Orton says he knows that his Flag-&-Pledge Amendment, if passed, would allow the Congress to establish criminal penalties for flag burning.

      "Should Jello Biafra have spent a day in jail for burning the Flag? American history is rich with examples of people who went to jail for what they believed in," said Orton. "Freedom comes with responsibilities."

      Orton says he doesn't know whether God exists, but as an agnostic he has no problem saying the Pledge himself or having his daughter recite it in school.

      "The Congress ought to have the power to write laws on the Flag and Pledge," said Orton, who hopes lawmakers would tread lightly on the issues.

      Bill Orton is seeking election to the state Assembly, which is the lower house of the California Legislature. If he is elected, Orton says he will lobby the Congress to introduce a Flag-&-Pledge Amendment.

      If his own Flag-&-Pledge Amendment comes before the legislature, Orton says he would vote to ratify the amendment.

      But all that might take some time.

      Under the constitution, an amendment must first be passed by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress before it is sent to the states for ratification. Three-fourths of all state legislatures -- 38 in total -- must then approve an amendment for it to be ratified.

      "A ratification drive for a Flag-&-Pledge Amendment would allow Americans to engage in a grand civic debate over what truly makes our Republic great," said Orton, who is seeking a Member of Congress to sponsor what could become the 28th Amendment.

      The Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade is the largest and longest continuously run municipal Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi. This is the fourth time that Orton has marched in the parade with the Orange County Democratic Party.

      Orton's family moved to Huntington Beach in 1968, when Bill was six. He went to school from 1st grade through high school in the city, graduating from Wardlow Elementary ('76) and Edison High School ('80).

      In 1980, Bill moved to Seal Beach to attend CSULB. He has lived in the same Seal beach home for 22 years, minus a year spent overseas.

      For more information about Orton's campaign or about the Flag-&-Pledge Amendment, visit http://billyorton.com or send an email message to .

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      BILL ORTON is the Democratic candidate for State Assembly in the 67th District, which covers Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, and portions of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Stanton and Westminster.

FRIENDS OF BILL ORTON
FPPC ID# 1240194
Bill Orton for CALIFORNIA'S 67th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Friends of Bill Orton        85 Riversea Road, Seal Beach, CA 90740        (562) 598-9630
FPPC ID# 1240194