SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–Despite campaigning to the contrary, California Gov. Gray Davis announced his opposition to a voter initiative that would only recognize marriages “between men and women,” calling the proposition “wedge-issue politics.”
Proposition 22 has become a rallying cry for conservative and religious organizations throughout California, including the California Southern Baptist Convention. Voters will decide the issue on March 7 when the 14-word proposition is presented to the electorate.
Originally called the “Defense of Marriage Initiative,” the state’s attorney general changed the name to the “Limit on Marriage Initiative.” If approved, Proposition 22 would prohibit the recognition of unions between homosexuals in California.
“I think it tells you what kind of a problem we have when the attorney general changes the name,” said Larry Dotson, president of the California Baptist convention. “We’re just trying to protect the traditional definition of marriage.”
Dotson said he wasn’t surprised by the governor’s position on same-sex marriages. “It’s interesting how they can turn everything around. This is nothing new. In a civilized society, marriage is between a man and a woman. We’ve gotten to a point where a lot of people question that issue,” Dotson said.
Critics of Proposition 22 have enlisted Hollywood to help them fight back. While stating his opposition to same-sex marriages, Davis said he opposes “wedge-issue politics” that “divide one California from another and made scapegoats of certain groups of our citizens.”
However, Dotson said church members are simply doing their civic duty. “When church folk take a position, they are accused of being divisive. All we want is to stay within the traditional morays of society,” he said.
Davis said Proposition 22 is unnecessary because current California law “clearly and unequivocally limits marriage to a man and a woman.”
“In addition, the placement of this kind of emotionally charged issue on the ballot serves mainly to stir up prejudices and hostility — sometimes with tragic consequences,” Davis added. “As governor, I will do everything within my power to honor the dignity, humanity and privacy of every Californian, regardless of ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation.”