Governor Vows To Veto Gay Marriage Bill Again This Year

Gay Couple
SACRAMENTO – Supporters will renew their efforts this week to legalize gay marriages in California, but there seems to be little doubt that the outcome will be a rerun – another veto by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Assemblyman Mark Leno, the San Francisco Democrat who introduced the gay marriage bill that Schwarzenegger vetoed in 2005, said he is confident lawmakers will send the measure to the Republican governor again this year.
“We’re hopeful that he will understand why it’s important that he end the second-class treatment of countless California families and children,” Leno said.
The bill is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the Assembly Judiciary Committee. A spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger, Sabrina Lockhart, said the governor’s position hasn’t changed.
In his veto message in 2005, Schwarzenegger said the Leno bill violated Proposition 22, the anti-gay marriage initiative approved by California voters in 2000, and that any attempt to legalize same-sex weddings also should go on the ballot.
Schwarzenegger repeated that stand in comments to high school students attending a YMCA conference in February.
“I don’t want, as governor, to go against the will of the people,”
he said.
A Field Poll released last month found that 43 percent of those questioned said they supported gay marriage, up from 38 percent in 1997 and 30 percent in 1985. The Public Policy Institute of California found a similar trend in its polling.
Despite those numbers, Leno said civil rights shouldn’t be determined at the ballot box.
“The governor’s civil rights, as well as my own civil rights, shouldn’t be placed before the voters,” he said. “That’s not how we make decisions regarding equal protection under the law for all citizens.”
He said his bill doesn’t need voter approval because it would amend a different section of law than Proposition 22, which was put on the ballot to prevent California from recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere.
Leno said his bill deals with marriages performed in California and would define them as civil contracts between two persons.
Given Schwarzenegger’s position, the issue probably will be decided by the state Supreme Court, which agreed in December to rule whether California’s ban on gay marriages violates equal protection requirements. A decision in that case isn’t likely before late this year.
from The Long Beach Press Telegram

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