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米カリフォルニア州議会上院、同性婚合法化法案可決 下院へ 2のつづき
Calif. Senate OKs gay marriage bill
Christopher Curtis, PlanetOut Network
Thursday, September 1, 2005 / 12:14 PM
SUMMARY: Handing gay rights advocates a major victory, the California Senate approved legislation Thursday that would legalize same-sex marriages in the nation's most populous state.
On Thursday the California Senate became the first legislative chamber in the country to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 21-15. The historic move was hailed by gay rights advocates across the United States.
"This is a bill whose time has come," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, one of six gay members of the state Senate. "Gay and lesbian people fall in love. We settle down. We commit our lives to one another. We raise our children. We protect them. We try to be good citizens," she said in a quote published by the Associated Press (AP).
"This is probably the most profound civil rights movement of our generation, without a doubt," said Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough.
"Equality is equality, period," said Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Sunol. "When I leave this Legislature, I want to be able to tell my grandchildren I stood up for dignity and rights for all," she said in a quote published by the AP.
But Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-La Mesa, claimed that a "higher power" opposed the legislation. "This is not the right thing to do," he said. "We should protect traditional marriage and hold all of those values and institutions that have made our society and keep our society together today."
The bill, known as the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, was originally introduced last December by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. After his original measure failed in the Assembly by four votes in June, he gutted a piece of approved legislation and replaced it with his marriage bill.
According to the bill's summary, "Assembly Bill (AB) 849 redefines marriage in California as a union between two persons, making it gender-neutral and thereby permitting same-sex marriages in the state. It does not, however, require any clergy or religious official to solemnize any marriage in violation of his/her right to free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the California Constitution."
"Today represents another milestone toward the fulfillment of the American dream for thousands of lesbian and gay couples in California," stated Assemblyman Leno. "Society is strongest when it upholds the basic civil rights of all its citizens, including the right to marry the person you love."
Several LGBT organizations praised the actions of California's Senate.
"It will make all California families safer and more secure if it becomes law," said Seth Kilbourn, director of the Human Rights Campaign Marriage Project in New York. "The fact they debated and voted on this relatively quickly today sends a message that there is momentum for this bill."
"The actions of Democrats ensured this victory for California families," said Eric Stern, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, noting that every Republican voted against the bill. "The Democratic Party in California has displayed its strength by demonstrating its commitment to the family."
Geoff Kors, the executive director of Equality California, the organization that sponsored the same-sex marriage bill, told the PlanetOut Network his organization was now focusing its lobby effort in the Assembly, where the bill will soon be debated.
"What was so powerful today was that the senators who voted for the bill have districts which overlap with Assembly members who voted against it the last time it was debated," Kors said on Thursday.
"We're going to continue to work around the clock to get the votes we need for next week's vote," Kors said, noting the California Legislature faces a Sept. 9 deadline for getting bills to Gov. Schwarzenegger's desk.
"The governor has said he won't make any decision until the bill gets there. He has said that he is fine with marriage for gay and lesbian couples. In his heart he opposes discrimination," Kors said. "Whatever he does will be an enormous part of his legacy. We hope and believe he will want history to judge him being on the right side of this civil rights struggle."
Battle For Gay Marriage Moves To Calif. Assembly
by Mark Worrall 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau
Posted: September 2, 2005 7:00 pm ET
(Sacramento, California) With gay marriage legislation now passed in the California Senate attention turns to the Assembly with only one week to go before lawmakers end the session and head home.
Called the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, the bill would require local clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but allow people opposed to gay marriage to refuse to conduct weddings.
The measure failed by four votes in the Assembly earlier this year when a quarter of the Democrats voted with Republicans to reject it and a handful abstained from voting. (story)
At the time it looked as though the issue of legalizing gay marriage in the state was dead.
But, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) - the bill's author and one of six openly gay members of the Legislature - refused to give up.
In a surprise move Leno attached the measure as an amendment to a marine bill that was already in committee in the Senate. It passed Thursday on a 21 to 15 vote. (story) Both the marine bill and its same-sex marriage amendment returned to the Assembly for a final vote.
The clock is ticking. The Assembly has nearly 500 bills to consider in just one week, and pressure is mounting on lawmakers to bring Leno's bill to a vote.
Both supporters and opponents of gay marriage are mounting an all out effort, rallying their troops and swamping assemblymembers with calls, emails and faxes.
If the Assembly does not vote before next Friday the bill will be put over until the next session. But, with all the attention that the bill has received that is considered unlikely.
Equality California, the state's largest LGBT rights group, is focusing its attention on those Democrats who did not vote the first time. Four of them. The same number that could have meant passage. EC spokesperson Eddie Gutierrez tells 365Gay.com that it is "cautiously optimistic" it can hold onto the support it had in the first vote and secure enough additional support to see the measure passed.
That would put pressure on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who has sent mixed messages about whether he would sign the legislation.
The issue of same-sex marriage also is being waged in the courts.
In March, a San Francisco a judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for the state to deny marriage to gay and lesbian couples. (story)
Attorney General Bill Lockyer has appealed the ruling. Earlier this month the California Supreme Court declined to fast track the case. (story)
Both Lockyer and The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal had petitioned the Supreme Court to bypass the appeals courts and hear the case now. Once the appeals process is exhausted the case will likely end up in the high court in about a year.
By that time voters are likely to have weighed in on same-sex marriage. A conservative group called the "Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Initiative" has begun collecting signatures to have a proposed amendment to the California Constitution banning same-sex marriage placed on the 2006 ballot. (story)
Just hours after the Senate vote a Sacramento judge ruled that the wording on the amendment initiative must also show that it would void the state's landmark domestic partner law.
Superior Court Judge Raymond M. Cadei said in his ruling that not to include the domestic partner provision in the wording would mislead voters.
The group behind the amendment had gone to court to fight Lockyer's official explanation to be contained in the petitions to used to collect names needed to get the amendment on the ballot. The major objection was the inclusion in the definition wording that made it clear it also voided partner benefits.