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2999California Legislature Becomes First in U.S. to OK Same-sex Marriage

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  • umcornet
    Sep 8, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Note this update of story below:
      California Governor to Veto Bill Authorizing Same-Sex Marriage
      By John Pomfret
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Thursday, September 8, 2005; A04
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic
      le/2005/09/07/AR2005090702020.html

      ----------------

      California Legislature Becomes First in U.S. to OK Same-sex Marriage
      By Robert Marus
      September 7, 2005
      Associated Baptist Press

      WASHINGTON (ABP) -- With a State Assembly vote Sept. 6, California
      became the first state in the nation to give legislative approval to
      full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

      The 41-35 vote in the state legislature's lower chamber came six days
      after the bill passed the California Senate, and only five years after
      the state's voters effectively banned gay marriage through a popular
      referendum.

      The advance for the gay-rights movement may be short-lived, however,
      since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has reportedly hinted that he may
      veto the bill, despite his history of support for gay causes.

      If Schwarzenegger declines to veto the bill, California would become
      the first jurisdiction in the United States to legalize gay marriages
      without being forced to do so by courts.

      The bill, known as the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage
      Protection Act," would remove gender-specific references from the
      state codes defining marriage. The act also contains provisions
      explicitly stating that institutions or clergy would not be forced to
      perform marriages of which they did not approve.

      "Today in California, love conquered fear, principle conquered
      politics, and equality conquered injustice," said Geoffrey Kors, head
      of the gay-rights group Equality California, in a statement released
      shortly after the vote. "For the first time in our nation's history,
      the people's elected representatives have taken a stand to protect all
      families and ensure equality for all."

      But the bill's legislative opponents -- all of the Assembly's
      Republicans and a handful of Democrats -- said it is a dangerous
      precedent.

      "Marriage should be between a man and a woman, end of story. Next
      issue," Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R-Monrovia) said during floor
      debate on the proposal. "It's not about civil rights or personal
      rights, it's about acceptance. They want to be accepted as normal.
      They are not normal."

      Mountjoy and other opponents of the bill pointed out that in 2000,
      Californians approved Proposition 22 with a 62 percent majority. That
      referendum defined marriage exclusively in heterosexual terms for the
      state.

      "This highjacking of democracy is utterly inappropriate, as this issue
      deals with what is best for our children and the future of the state
      of California," read a press release from Tony Perkins, director of
      the Washington-based Family Research Council, a conservative group.
      "We urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to give the people back their voice and
      either put this issue, once again, before the people -- or veto the
      bill entirely."

      But Kors and other gay-rights supporters cited a recently released
      poll that suggests California's likely voters are now evenly divided
      -- with 46 percent on each side -- over the legalization of same-sex
      marriage.

      Schwarzenegger, who in 2003 won the governorship in the heavily
      Democratic state on a platform of social liberalism and fiscal
      conservatism, is now facing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure.
      He has until Oct. 6 to sign or veto the bill, or let it go into effect
      without his signature.

      Massachusetts legislators were forced to legalize same-sex marriage in
      2003, after that state's highest court said denying marriage rights to
      gay couples violated the Massachusetts Constitution.

      Conservative groups have decried such actions as "judicial activism,"
      saying such social policies should be approved through legislative
      processes rather than judges' decrees.

      In recent years, legislators in other states -- including Vermont and
      Connecticut -- have approved "civil unions" for same-sex couples. Such
      arrangements provide many of the rights and responsibilities of the
      institution while reserving the term "marriage" exclusively for
      heterosexual unions.