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Gay marriage bill is back
By Jim Sanders - Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:08 pm PST Friday, December 1, 2006
A San Francisco assemblyman will introduce new legislation to allow gay marriage when the Legislature reconvenes for its new session Monday.
Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno said his bill will be nearly identical to one vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2005.
California law currently does not permit gay marriage, but many of the same rights and responsibilities are granted to gay couples who register with the state as domestic partners.
Leno likened the state's system to "separate but equal" accommodations.
"The idea that we would want to say one group of citizens doesn't love equally, and for that reason we won't grant them a marriage license, is in my opinion not only unfair, unjust and un-American, it's also unconstitutional," Leno said.
Leno's bill would require California to recognize marriage as a civil contract. It would not force churches to honor same-sex unions.
Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for California Children and Families, released a statement today blasting Leno's bill as a "blatant attack on voter rights and marriage rights."
Schwarzenegger, in vetoing Leno's 2005 gay marriage bill, cited a ballot initiative passed by voters to limit marriage to a man and woman.
"I do not believe the Legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California," Schwarzenegger said in his veto message.
Leno argues that the initiative, Proposition 22, passed in 2000, applies only to state recognition of marriages from outside California.
Leno, one of five openly gay members of the state Legislature, claims his bill would not conflict with Proposition 22.
About the writer:
The Bee's Jim Sanders can be reached at (916) 326-5538 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assemblyman Mark Leno to reintroduce same-sex marriage bill Dec. 4
The Desert Sun
December 1, 2006
Equality California has announced that "renewing efforts to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California,
Assemblymember Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, will introduce on December 4 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act."
The bill, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), would allow same-sex couples to obtain a marriage license from their county clerk.
"All loving, committed couples deserve not only the legal protections that marriage provides, but also the dignity that marriage affords," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "The time has come to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. This legislation validates loving relationships and strengthens California families by honoring the commitments of every couple under law."
To be introduced as the new Legislature convenes for start of the 2007-2008 legislative session, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act is nearly identical to AB 849 (Leno), which the Legislature passed in 2005, making it the first legislative body in the nation to pass a measure allowing same-sex couples to marry.
In California, same-sex couples can register with the state as domestic partners - which entitles them to hundreds of protections.
However, same-sex couples in California and their families still are not eligible for federal protections offered to married couples, including family and medical leave, Social Security benefits, long-term care insurance and the ability to sponsor a partner for immigration benefits.