SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–Giving new life to an issue that was considered dead just one month earlier, a California Senate committee July 12 passed a bill that would legalize “gay marriage” in the state.
A similar “gay marriage” bill failed to pass the state Assembly in early June, but Democratic assembly sponsor Mark Leno refused to give up, opting instead to try and pass his bill in the Senate. Leno is an open homosexual.
The bill passed the California Senate’s judiciary committee on a party-line vote, with all five Democrats voting for it and the two Republicans voting against it.
The bill, known as AB 849, is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, the San Jose Mercury News reported. If that happens, it would be the first time a “gay marriage” bill has ever passed a legislative body in the U.S. The bill must pass another Senate committee before it goes to the floor.
“Californians are quickly learning that the Democratic Party has become the party of homosexual ‘marriage,'” Randy Thomasson, president of the California-based Campaign for Children and Families, said in a statement. “This anti-marriage, anti-voter bill gives average Californians another good reason to leave the Democratic Party altogether.”
Thomasson and other conservatives hope to begin a signature drive in August with the goal of placing a state constitutional marriage amendment on the ballot next year. They have launched a website: www.voteyesmarriage.com. An amendment would trump anything passed by the legislature and any state court ruling.
In June a “gay marriage” bill failed to pass the Democratic-controlled state Assembly on three separate votes, giving conservatives in the state a rare but significant victory. It came within four votes of passing on the final vote.
The Senate bill got some support July 12 when the Los Angeles city council passed a symbolic resolution by a vote of 11-0 supporting the legislation. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the resolution, which is non-binding. Two council members walked out before the vote.
Conservatives argue the legislature’s push for “gay marriage” violates both the will of the people and the California constitution. In 2000, California voters passed by a margin of 61-39 percent an initiative — Proposition 22 — explicitly banning “gay marriage.” The state constitution prohibits the legislature from overriding a voter-backed initiative.
“In Proposition 22, the people of California collectively spoke,” Republican state Sen. Bill Morrow said during the committee hearing, according to the Mercury News. “It would be better to take this issue to the people if you’re trying to change Proposition 22.”
To that, Democratic Sen. Gil Cedillo said, “Sometimes the people are wrong.”
Leno argues that Proposition 22 bans only out-of-state “gay marriages.” If his bill passes, he says, California would recognize in-state “marriages” but not those from elsewhere, such as from Massachusetts.
“Gay marriage” opponents call such reasoning nonsense and point to the language of Proposition 22, which states that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
“I think you have to ignore the words of Proposition 22 to come to [Leno’s] conclusion,” Glen Lavy, an attorney with the pro-family group Alliance Defense Fund, told Baptist Press in June. “‘Valid’ refers to something in the state and ‘recognized’ refers to something out of state. Those words are not redundant. They refer to two different things.”
Leno hopes that passage in the Senate will give it the momentum needed to pass in the Assembly. It is not known whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, would sign it.
A lawsuit seeking “gay marriage” legalization also is making its way through state courts. In March a judge struck down Proposition 22; the ruling is being appealed and likely will end up eventually before the California Supreme Court.
Thomasson said the legislature’s support for “gay marriage” would assist the marriage amendment effort.
“This is motivating voters to support the California Marriage Amendment …,” Thomasson said. “Marriage is exclusively for a man and a woman. For the sake of children and the good of society, that’s how it needs to stay.”
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage