A resolution opposing California's gay marriage ban making its way through the state Legislature cleared an important hurdle Tuesday when it won approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Resolution 7 (SR 7) was introduced by openly gay Senator Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, and puts the Legislature on record as opposing Proposition 8, the November 4 ballot initiative that yanked back the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state. Proposition 8 also ushered in a new era of gay activism when it narrowly passed by four points and at a cost of nearly $80 million.

A similar resolution introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, an openly gay Democrat from San Francisco, was approved by an Assembly committee last week. Both resolutions say Proposition 8 was a revision of the state Constitution, not an amendment, making it illegal. The resolutions will likely see a full vote as early as today.

The California Legislature has twice passed a gay marriage bill, and both were vetoed by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The resolutions, however, do not require his signature.

The resolutions have no force of law; they are a nod to the state Supreme Court in favor of repealing Proposition 8, a question the court will take up next week.

“This is the first time the initiative process has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take away a fundamental freedom from a particular group, and with today's vote, it's clear that legislators have recognized the importance of weighing in when fundamental revisions to our state constitution are at stake,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, which sponsored the resolutions.

“We thank Senator Leno for his continued leadership and dedication in advocating SR 7. It's critical that our legislature does everything in its power to help preserve the equal protections guaranteed to all Californians in the Constitution.”

Last week, leaders of the NAACP urged passage of both resolutions.

Gay marriage foes have discounted the resolutions as parlor tricks aimed at grabbing media attention, but Leno disagreed, saying the resolutions add something important to the Proposition 8 conversation.

“This is much bigger than marriage equality,” he said Tuesday after the vote. “You don't put rights up to a majority vote or every minority group will be in danger.”