MARRIAGE DIGEST: Calif. committee sends 'gay marriage' bill to full Senate; McCain supports Ariz. marriage amendment
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)--A California legislative committee passed a bill Aug. 25 that would legalize "gay marriage," sending it to the floor of the Senate in what could be an historic vote.
The bill passed the Senate appropriations committee by a vote of 7-6, with seven Democrats supporting it. One Democrat joined five Republicans in opposing it. The bill had previously passed the judiciary committee on a 5-2 vote.
No legislative body in the United States has ever passed a "gay marriage" bill. The bill could receive a floor vote as early as Tuesday, Aug. 30, KTVU-TV in San Francisco reported.
"We believe we have the necessary 21 votes there," Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno, an open homosexual, was quoted as saying.
The bill failed to pass the Assembly in early June and appeared to be dead for the year, but Leno refused to give up and revived it in the Senate. If it passes there it would return to the Assembly, where it must pass before going to the desk of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has yet to take a position on it. It is known as AB 849.
"We call upon Governor Schwarzenegger to announce that he will veto this anti-marriage, anti-voter bill," Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, said in a statement.
California voters passed an initiative known as Proposition 22 in 2000 explicitly banning "gay marriage." It passed by a margin of 61-39 percent. Conservatives say AB 849 violates the state constitution, which prohibits the legislature from overriding a voter-backed initiative. Article II, Section 10 of the California constitution says that the legislature "may amend or repeal an initiative statute ... only when approved by the electors."
Leno argues that Proposition 22 only prevents the state from recognizing out-of-state "gay marriages." If his bill passes, he says, California would recognize its own "gay marriages," but not those from, say, Massachusetts.
Conservatives call Leno's assertion ridiculous, pointing to the language of Proposition 22 which states that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
Two pro-family coalitions -- VoteYesMarriage.com and ProtectMarriage.com -- are hoping to gather enough petitions to place a constitutional marriage amendment on the 2006 ballot. The coalitions are promoting separate amendments.
HOMOSEXUAL PARENTING ADVANCES -- The California Supreme Court ruled Aug. 22 that homosexual couples who have children and then break up must be considered legal parents. The 4-2 decision -- called the first of its kind in the nation -- broadens California's custody and child support laws to include children who are, for instance, adopted or born through reproductive technology.
The decision applied to three different cases.
"We perceive no reason why both parents of a child cannot be women," Justice Carlos Moreno wrote for the majority.
The California Family Council said the decision is part of a larger agenda by homosexual activists.
"These decisions underscore the evidence and dangers of an agenda to redefine family and society," a statement by the organization noted. "... Mothers and fathers serve different roles and functions in the raising of well-adjusted, productive citizens."
'GAY MARRIAGE' IN ARUBA? -- A court in Aruba Aug. 23 ordered the government to recognize a marriage license a lesbian couple was issued in the Netherlands, where "gay marriage" is legal, the Associated Press reported. Aruba is a self-governing member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and all members of the kingdom are required to recognize each other's documents.
Aruba, which is considerably more conservative than the Netherlands, has refused to recognize the license, and officials say they will appeal the decision to the Holland Supreme Court.
MCCAIN BACKS STATE AMENDMENT -- Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Aug. 25 he supports passage of a constitutional amendment in his state that would ban "gay marriage." A pro-family coalition calling itself Protect Marriage Arizona is gathering signatures with the goal of putting an amendment on the 2006 ballot.
"I believe that the institution of marriage should be reserved for the union of one man and one woman," McCain said in a statement. "The Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage in our state."
McCain has opposed a federal marriage amendment. However, a statement on the Center for Arizona Policy's website says McCain has pledged to support a federal amendment if "activist judges ... continue to prevent states from voting to protect the definition of marriage" or if a federal judge's decision overturning Nebraska's marriage amendment is not reversed. An official with the organization met with McCain.
DANFORTH OPPOSES AMENDMENTS -- Former Missouri Sen. John C. Danforth, a Republican, said Aug. 25 he opposes marriage amendments on both the state and federal level. Danforth, an ordained Episcopal minister, made the comments in St. Louis at a meeting of the local Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of homosexual Republicans.
"It's nothing more than gay bashing," he said of the amendments, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "There's no other reason for it."
Danforth said he voted against a marriage amendment in Missouri last year that passed with 71 percent of the vote. But Danforth said he opposes "gay marriage." According to the Post-Dispatch, Danforth said there "should be some sort of method of honoring and respecting" same-sex couples "without calling it marriage."
Danforth spoke at a memorial service for Ronald Reagan last year following the former president's death. Danforth has been critical of the role Christian conservatives have in the Republican Party.
For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage