SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–In a statement that has left conservatives frustrated and bewildered, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — who twice vetoed bills that would have legalized “gay marriage” — said April 11 he would oppose a proposed constitutional marriage amendment that would ban it.
Schwarzenegger made his comments in a speech to the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of homosexual supporters of the GOP.
“I will always be there to fight against that,” he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He added, to laughter, “I think we need a constitutional amendment so that a foreign-born [person] can run for president, but not against gay marriage. That would be a total waste of time.”
The Republican governor vetoed a “gay marriage” bill last year and also in 2005. A 2005 statement from his office even said that “the Governor believes the matter should be determined … by court decision or another vote of the people of our state.”
Schwarzenegger’s comments come as the California Supreme Court considers whether to legalize “gay marriage” in the state. The justices heard oral arguments in the case in early March and are expected to issue a decision within two months. The ruling could have a significant impact on the 2008 presidential election, particularly if the nation’s most populous state legalizes marriage for homosexual couples. The lawsuit seeks to overturn Proposition 22, an initiative that bans “gay marriage” and was passed by 61 percent of voters in 2000.
A coalition of pro-family organizations under the umbrella name ProtectMarriage.com is hoping to place a marriage amendment on the November ballot prohibiting the legalization of “gay marriage.” They say they have collected more than 1 million signatures, which would be right at their goal. Unlike Proposition 22, the amendment would be safe from being overturned in state courts.
The California Family Council, a supporter of the proposed amendment, released a statement saying Schwarzenegger had flip-flopped.
“We at the California Family Council are very disappointed and puzzled to learn that the Governor would take a position contrary to his own actions where he repeatedly vetoed same-sex marriage legislation,” CFC legislative director Everett Rice said. “Without a constitutional amendment, this issue will continually be needlessly fought in the legislature and the courts. We are hopeful that the Governor will reconsider his stated position; nonetheless, we are resolute in our goal to preserve the institution of marriage and the passage of the initiative.”
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said the governor had not changed his position.
“He has said many times … that people have spoken on the issue,” she said, according to the Chronicle. “However, if the Supreme Court would overturn the decision, he would enforce the law, and he would not support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.”
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Michael Foust.