Resolutions opposing California's gay
marriage ban were approved Monday in both houses of the Legislature.
Openly gay Senator Mark Leno, a
Democrat from San Francisco, sponsored Senate Resolution 7 (SR7),
which passed along party lines by 18-14. The Assembly also approved
of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's similar resolution by 45-27.
Both measures support repeal of
Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban, on the grounds that it was
adopted illegally. The resolutions support arguments in favor of
repeal about to be made this week to the California Supreme Court.
Opponents say Proposition 8 is an illegal revision to the state
Constitution. Because it stripped away existing rights – minority
rights protected by the Constitution – it fundamentally altered the
document. Only the Legislature can place such revisions on the
ballot, they argue.
“We're talking about a radical
revision to our Constitution,” Mark Leno said at a media event.
“Do we have a constitutional democracy in California or do we have
mob rule, where a majority of Californians can change the
Constitution at any time?”
The gay marriage ban was approved by a
slim majority (52%) of voters on November 4 at a cost of $83 million
and sparked nationwide gay rights protests. It also reversed a May
ruling by the state Supreme Court granting gay and lesbian couples
the right to marry. In the intervening months of June-to-November,
18,000 gay couples tied the knot in what was dubbed the “summer of
The California Legislature has twice
passed gay marriage bills, 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 on Thursday.
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 last week after his bill cleared committee.
“You don't put rights up to a majority vote or every minority group
will be in danger.”