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Same Sex Marriage Wins Vote In Calif..

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  • Same Sex Marriage Wins Vote In Calif..

    Same Sex Marriage Wins Vote in California

    SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 6 - California lawmakers on Tuesday became the first in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, with the State Assembly narrowly approving a bill that defines marriage as between "two persons" instead of between a man and a woman.

    Unlike Massachusetts, where gay men and lesbians are permitted to marry because of court rulings, the legislators in California voted to amend the state's family code without the threat of legal action.

    "Do what we know is in our hearts," Assemblyman Mark Leno, an openly gay Democrat from San Francisco who sponsored the bill, said Tuesday night in a debate on the bill. "Make sure all Californians, all California's children and families, will have equal protection under the law."

    Opponents of the measure warned that lawmakers were venturing into uncharted and potentially dangerous territory.

    "Engaging in social experimentation with our children is not the role of the legislature," said Assemblyman Ray Haynes, a Republican from Southern California. "We are throwing the dice and taking a huge gamble, and we are gambling with the lives and future of generations not yet born."

    The measure now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, who has supported domestic partnership legislation in the past but has not taken a public position on the marriage bill.

    A spokeswoman for Mr. Schwarzenegger, Margita Thompson, said after the vote that the governor believed that the issue of same-sex marriage should be settled by the courts, not legislators, but she did not indicate whether that meant he would veto the legislation. The bill did not pass with enough votes to override a veto.

    "The governor will uphold whatever the court decides," Ms. Thompson said.

    Californians voted overwhelmingly in 2000 for a ballot measure, Proposition 22, that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but the legality of that law is now being fought over in the courts.

    In a case stemming from a decision last year by Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco to allow gay men and lesbians to marry, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the state law was unconstitutional but the ruling is being appealed.

    The 41-to-35 vote in the 80-member Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, was along party lines, with no Republicans supporting the bill.

    It follows a similar lopsided partisan vote last week in the State Senate, which approved it by the smallest possible margin.

    Assemblyman Leno, among six openly gay lawmakers in Sacramento, revived the bill through a controversial parliamentary maneuver known as "gut and amend" after the bill failed to pass the Assembly in June.

    Mr. Leno essentially inserted the marriage bill's contents into another bill regarding marine fisheries that was pending in the Senate and stripped of its content. When the bill passed the Senate, Mr. Leno and his allies then persuaded three Democratic members of the Assembly who had abstained in June to vote for the new version.

    One of them, Thomas J. Umberg of Anaheim, said during the debate Tuesday that he had been "cajoled, harassed, harangued and threatened" by both sides of the issue, but ultimately decided to support the measure because of his children.

    "This is one of those times when history looks upon us to be in the lead," Mr. Umberg said. "The constituency I'm concerned about is a very small one, that is the constituency of my three children should they decide to look back on my record."

    But several Republicans derided the parliamentary maneuver to resuscitate the bill and said Democrats who represented districts where voters approved Proposition 22 had no moral authority to subvert that vote.

    "We damage the moral fabric of our society, that's what's damaged here," said Assemblyman Dennis L. Mountjoy, a Republican from Southern California.

    Assemblyman Jay La Suer, a San Diego Republican, chided his colleagues for sending the wrong message about same-sex marriage, saying that no matter "how you candy coat it," it is wrong.

    "You are not leading, you have gone astray," Mr. La Suer said. "History will record that you betrayed your constituents, and their moral and ethical values."
    The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life. -TR


    Madyaks2 Thought Of The Day: I'm just as dumb as madyaks1.

  • #2
    I wonder if it takes into account the legal and economic ramifications of doing this.


    • #3
      It's about fucking time.
      Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.