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
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
“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
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.”