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‘Gay marriage’ bill defeated in California; supporters say they’ll try again Friday

June 6, 2005

An historic vote to legalize “gay marriage” in California has ended in initial defeat for homosexual activists in the legislature, although they vow to bring the bill back up quickly and try again.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–An historic vote to legalize “gay marriage” in California has ended in initial defeat for homosexual activists in the legislature, although they vow to bring the bill back up quickly and try again.

Needing 41 votes for passage in the assembly, the bill received support from only 35 members in two separate votes June 1 and 2. Thirty-seven assembly members opposed it while eight members abstained. All of the abstentions were Democrats. Another vote is scheduled for June 3. It must pass by the end of the week to stay alive.

It was the first time a legislative body in the United States voted on a bill legalizing “gay marriage.”

Opponents say the bill violates both the will of the people and the California constitution. In 2000 California voters passed an initiative–Proposition 22–explicitly banning “gay marriage.” It passed by a margin of 61-39 percent. The state constitution prohibits the legislature from overriding a voter-backed initiative.

Glen Lavy, an attorney with the pro-family legal group Alliance Defense Fund, described the initial votes as significant.

“This defeat shows that even the homosexual-friendly California assembly is not willing to go so far as to redefine marriage,” Lavy told Baptist Press.

All the “yes” votes came from Democrats. Voting against it were all 32 Republicans and five Democrats. If it were to pass it would move to the Senate, which also is controlled by Democrats. Even if it were to be signed into law–Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on it–it would face a lawsuit.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno, acknowledges the constitutional hurdle but argues that Proposition 22 bans only out-of-state “gay marriages.” If his bill were to pass, he says, California would recognize in-state “marriages” but not those from Massachusetts. Leno is homosexual and one of five members of the legislature’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus.

Bill opponents call Leno’s argument 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 that conclusion,” Lavy said, referring to the arguments by bill supporters. “‘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 and other homosexual activists hope to change a few minds before the third vote June 3.

“Thirty-five people agree with me,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I need 41.”

California has a domestic partnership law that gives same-sex couples most of the legal benefits of marriage. But supporters of the bill say that measure is not enough.

“It is offensive to hear from some of you that there is nothing discriminatory about existing law,” Leno was quoted by the Chronicle as saying during debate. “All … of us are equally human beings … with the full capacity of our hearts to choose our partner for life, or we are not.”

But Republican Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy said activists were attempting to normalize homosexuality.

“They … want our children to be told that homosexuality is OK, that it’s natural,” Mountjoy said, according to The Sacramento Bee. “I’m here to tell you it’s not OK, it’s not natural, and I don’t want our children taught that.”

Added Republican Assemblyman Jay La Suer: “This has nothing to do with discrimination–it has everything to do with the destruction of the moral fabric of America.”

A lawsuit seeking the legalization of “gay marriage” also is working its way through the state court. Homosexual activists won on the trial court level.

Pro-family groups are supporting a petition campaign that would place an amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage on the ballot in 2006. They have launched a website:

A constitutional amendment would trump any law and any court ruling.

“The arrogant Democrat politicians who are aggressively pushing San Francisco-style ‘gay marriages’ upon every county in California have awoken average people to the crying need to protect marriage in the state constitution,” Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families and an amendment supporter, said in a statement. “Marriage is obviously for a man and a woman. In response to the legislature’s brash, in-your-face attack upon marriage, the people of California have the real need to override the bureaucracy and provide real protection to marriage between one man and one woman.”

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