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Calif. lawmakers weigh signing ‘Marriage Protection Pledge’

WASHINGTON (BP)–A California senator, countering a trend toward domestic partnerships, civil unions and medical benefits for sex-change surgery, is launching a new effort to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Sen. William J. “Pete” Knight, a Republican, is asking other California legislators to sign a “Marriage Protection Pledge” to “support the marriage act in preparation for the debate on various issues coming up before the legislature concerning additional benefits to domestic partners,” CNSNews.com reported Feb. 23.

By signing the pledge, state lawmakers promise to support marriage and “oppose counterfeits to marriage” with each vote they cast in the state legislature.

“I will protect children by supporting the ideal of marriage as the biological unit that created them — one man and one woman committed in marriage,” the pledge reads.

“I will protect the importance and uniqueness of marriage by reserving spousal or spousal-type benefits only for legal marriage between a man and a woman. I believe that awarding spousal-equivalent benefits to non-married couples cheapens the value of marriage.

“I recognize that most, if not all, of the proposed ‘domestic partnership’ benefits can be obtained by responsible people through inexpensive legal forms. I therefore uphold the spirit of Proposition 22 and refuse to support ‘domestic partnerships’, ‘civil unions’, or any kind of relationship that compares itself to the sacred bond of marriage between a man and a woman,” the pledge says.

March 7 marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of Proposition 22, which Knight also authored. Prop. 22 says that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

To commemorate the anniversary of the bill’s passage, Knight plans to publicize the names of the legislators who have signed the marriage protection pledge and those who haven’t.

“Californians should urge their state legislators to sign the marriage protection pledge right away, before March 7. And it’s vitally important to protect the sacred institution of marriage between a man and a woman,” said Randy Thomasson, author of the Marriage Protection Pledge and executive director of Campaign for California Families (CCF).

Thomasson would not comment on the exact number of people who have signed the pledge, but, he told CNSNews.com, “We’re getting many, many signatures of legislators who support marriage — most [signatures] on principle, some of them based on fear.”

Those legislators who signed the pledge out of fear, Thomasson said, did so to be popular. “They’re hearing it from their constituents, and they want to be popular with their constituents,” he said.

One Republican legislator, Sen. Maurice Johannessen, has refused to sign the pledge.

“The senator will not sign pledges … he has made it a practice to not be held to pledge signing,” the senator’s spokesman, Andy Kotch, said on a talk radio station. “Pledges narrow his flexibility for future legislation that should be judged on an individual basis. The senator will not be tied to pledge signing.”

“The excuse given by Johannessen’s office is a convenient answer given by legislators when they have no intention of defending principle,” Thomasson told CNSNews.com.

“It’s very disturbing that a Republican legislator who ran his campaigns on a family values theme is now refusing to uphold the values of the people who elected him,” Thomasson said. “The senator is leaving himself open to vote for anything and everything that impacts marriage.”

The main legislative threat against marriage, Knight believes, is Assembly Bill 25 by Assembly member Carole Midgen, a Democrat. Knight thinks Midgen’s bill will “undermine marriage by awarding 11 marriage benefits to non-married people, specifically, ‘domestic partnerships.'”

When asked what she thought about Proposition 22 and the Marriage Protection Pledge, Migden said, “We don’t think it’s too consequential. We wish he [Knight] would pick a problem that needs attention.”

San Francisco, meanwhile, will be the first city in the nation to provide municipal workers with sex-change health benefits. The plan will cover sex-change operations, hormone treatment and related medical needs for employees. The plan, approved by the Board of Supervisors, will go into effect July 1.

“It’s morally wrong, what they’re doing. It’s morally wrong and it’s theft of taxpayer dollars to pay for something that amounts to an attack upon nature,” Thomasson said.

“Governments should not be involved in these kinds of issues,” Knight said. “Governments should be promoting the best possible family units, and sex-change activity is not something that governments should be supporting. That’s a personal preference, and a condition that is one that is a choice. And I don’t believe that governments should be involved in supporting good or bad choices of individuals.”

Migden had no opinion on San Francisco’s sex-change benefits plan.

Louis Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, said San Francisco’s plan may spread to other communities.

“San Francisco’s powerful homosexual and transgender community has just achieved a significant victory — and other cities should brace themselves for what is coming,” Sheldon wrote in a prepared statement. “Taxpayers will have to foot the bill for seriously confused individuals who believe they are actually the opposite sex.

“This victory is part of a larger hidden agenda being promoted by the homosexual movement. Activist groups like Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and others have been quietly pushing the goals of the relatively new ‘transgender’ movement in the United States,” Sheldon wrote.
Hunter is CNSNews.com’s evening editor. Used by permission.

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  • Melanie Hunter