Advocacy News - State your support to Schwarzenegger
September 7, 2005
State your support to Schwarzenegger
By Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell
Last night, the California state Assembly delivered, according to today's San Francisco Chronicle, "a stunning victory for the gay rights movement". The Assembly approved Bill AB849, allowing same-sex marriage by a vote of 41-35. It was the first time that a U.S. legislative body voted in favour of equal marriage.
The move came after some procedural wrangling by the bill's sponsor, Democrat Mark Leno, who first introduced the bill to the Assembly in June. It was defeated at that time, so Leno included the provision for gay marriage into another bill that had already passed the Assembly and was waiting action in the Senate.
The Senate approved bill AB849 with a vote of 21-15 last week, sending the bill back to the Assembly for consideration. It was that bill that the Assembly approved yesterday.
Equality advocates celebrated the victory, as they awaited a response from California's Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"He will determine whether he will be the first governor to do a little heavy lifting and support equality for all or whether he will become the first governor to terminate our rights," Geoff Kors, Equality California, told the S. F. Chronicle (Sept. 7).
Schwarzenegger has said in the past that he thinks the issue should be decided by voters (tyranny of the majority) or by the courts. Today he confirmed his intention to veto the bill.
US law, in part, helped contribute to the victory for equal marriage in Canada. American court cases like Loving v. Virginia (ending the prohibition of mixed-race marriages) and Brown v. Board of Education (ending the doctrine of separate but equal) were cited in the landmark Ontario case to successfully discredit our opponents when they attempted to resurrect these old doctrines of bigotry.
Further, as we worked for same-sex marriage in Canada, we received notable support from groups like Equality California, Marriage Equality California, and California's Legislature Assembly. Canadians have an opportunity to return the favour and demonstrate solidarity with our US friends and supporters.
Human rights are universal and indivisible. No matter where you live, please consider contacting the governor to express disappointment at his intention to veto the bill and maintain discrimination against gay and lesbian couples.
You can phone Governor Schwarzenegger at (916) 445-2841 or you can express support for equal marriage by email, by selecting the subject "Same Gender Marriages" here: http://www.govmail.ca.gov/