By Steve Lawrence
7:03 p.m. October 12, 2007
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday carried out his promise to continue to veto gay marriage bills.
The Republican governor turned down a measure by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that would have lifted the state's ban on same-sex marriages by defining marriage as a union between two persons, not just a man and a woman.
AdvertisementSchwarzenegger vetoed a similar Leno bill in 2005.
The governor announced in February that he would veto this year's version if it reached his desk and said last month that he would keep turning down such bills as long as lawmakers kept sending them to him.
“It would be wrong for the people to vote for something and for me to then overturn it,” Schwarzenegger said in September, referring to voters' approval of Proposition 22 in 2000. “So they can send this bill down as many times as they want, I won't do it.”
Proposition 22 was intended to prevent California from recognizing gay marriages performed in other states or countries.
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said voters and the state Supreme Court should decide the issue. The high court is likely to rule next year on whether California's ban on gay marriages violates the constitution.
The governor said voters “should then determine what, if any, statutory changes are needed in response to the court's ruling.”
Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group, said the veto was “hypocrisy at its worst.”
“We find it shocking for the governor to say he opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation and then veto a bill that would have ended discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Kors said.
Schwarzenegger said in his veto message that all Californians are entitled to full protection under the law “and should not be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation.”
He said he supports state laws that give domestic partners many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, said the bill was a basic extension of fairness and that he was disappointed the governor had vetoed it.
“I firmly believe the day will come soon when California law is on the right side of this issue and the right side of history,” he said. “The California Assembly will continue working to make that happen.”