MARRIAGE DIGEST: California Assembly passes 'gay marriage' bill despite veto threat
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)--The California Assembly passed a bill June 5 to legalize "gay marriage," ignoring a veto threat by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The bill passed the Assembly 42-34 and now moves on to the Senate. Both chambers passed a similar bill two years ago before Schwarzenegger vetoed it.
California already recognizes domestic partnerships, which grant same-sex couples essentially all the state legal benefits of marriage minus the name, but homosexual activists in the state say it's not enough.
"Why would we want government dictating affairs of the heart?" Assemblyman Mark Leno, a Democrat and an open homosexual, said, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Known as AB 43, the bill seeks to overturn Proposition 22, a law that voters passed by a margin of 61-39 percent in 2000 and prohibits the recognition of "gay marriage."
"The will of the people has been spoken," Republican Assemblyman Anthony Adams said, according to The Bee.
Republican Assemblywoman Sharon Runner added, "If we believe California has changed, we need to go back to the voters."
Conservatives assert the bill is unconstitutional because, under the state constitution, a voter-approved initiative can be overturned only by voters. Article II, Section 10 of the California constitution says the legislature "may amend or repeal an initiative statute ... only when approved by the electors."
Even if the bill were to become law, a lawsuit by pro-family groups almost certainly would follow.
In February, Schwarzenegger told a high school student at a YMCA event that he would once again veto the bill.
"I wouldn't sign it because the people of California have voted on that issue," he said, according to The Bee.
Voters, he said, "should make the decision."
"But it should not be me or the legislature," he said.
Even if Schwarzenegger follows through with his promise, the debate in the state is far from over. The California Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a "gay marriage" case this year.
Despite the lack of a "gay marriage" law in California, homosexual activists there have made advances in areas where they've failed in other states. The New York Times reported June 1 that homosexual and lesbian prisoners in California now are allowed overnight conjugal visits -- a policy that could be the first of its kind in the nation. The new rule applies only to inmates who have a domestic partner.
'GAY MARRIAGE' IN D.C.? -- Homosexual activists in Washington, D.C., may have congressional allies in power now, but that still might not be enough to make "gay marriage" legal in the nation's capital. Such a law has a chance of passing city council but could face tough opposition in Congress -- even with Democrats in control, the Washington Blade, a homosexual newspaper, reported June 1. Congress has the power to overturn D.C. laws.
"We have a friendly leadership in place but we still have a very conservative Congress," David Smith, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, according to the Blade. HRC is the nation's largest homosexual activist group. "I don't believe that [passing such a law] would be a smart, strategic move at this juncture."
The issue is in the news because Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty said he would sign such a law if it passed city council. Speaking to the homosexual Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Fenty said he has "always stood in full support for full marriage rights." Noting that some homosexual activists say the timing isn't right, Fenty said, according to the Blade, "I have not heard as much since the Congress changed hands about whether that now alters some of the people's views who weren't in favor of the council and the mayor going forward. So maybe it's time to start the dialogue again."