The fight for gay marriage in California has been a tough one during the last decade. In 2000, Proposition 22 was passed by 62% of the state's voters, limiting marriage to a man and a women. Its since been sent to the State's Supreme Court. Gov. Schwarzenegger has twice vetoed Gay Marriage Bills sent to him by the California Legislature, the second as recently as last year. "He will uphold whatever the court decides," Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said after the bill's original passing.
Fearing the court's decision, the Family Research council has launched a ballot initiative for a Constitutional Amendment against Gay Marriage in California. "After oral arguments in the case, it appears very likely that the majority of judges on California's highest court will rule against the current meaning of marriage, opening up God's ordained institution to same-sex couples," they said in a March fundraising email.
Sources wishing to remain anonymous in the California Court System indicate that the court, which has until June 2, 2008 to issue it's marriage ruling, is considering issuing it on Friday, May 23, 2008, with the decision being written by Chief Justice Ronald George. The Court is readying itself for a backlash that may follow the rumored and bold decision. There is talk that the Court will not simply strike down Proposition 22, but will move the State of California toward full marriage, if not even granting full marriage rights for gays and lesbians outright.
Obviously aware of what's coming, Gov. Schwarzenegger came out swinging against the FRC's proposed amendment, "I will always be there to fight against that," he said to huge applause this weekend at a Log Cabin Republican Convention in San Diego. He went so far as to call the initiative a "waste of time" and acknowledge that the people of California are, "much further along on that issue." The latest Field Poll shows only 51% of Californians oppose full gay marriage, an 11 point drop since 2000.
There seems little doubt that California is moving toward full gay marriage equality.
Near the end of February I flew out to Los Angeles to join a coalition of gay activists to lobby Gov. Schwarzenegger & First Lady Maria Shriver to publicly oppose the Family Research Council's initiative. One of the group's main organizers, Kevin Norte, wrote on The California Log Cabin blog, "Someone had to fire the first shot. We did. We had some powerhouses there and the message was clear. We were not going away."
The coalition had a broad base, including; Matt Foreman (Executive Director, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), Damon Romine (Entertainment Media Director, GLAAD), Geoff Kors (Executive Director, Equality California), Charles Robbins (Executive Director, The Trevor Project), Mayor John Duran (President, Equality California & Mayor of West Hollywood), Charles T. Moran (Log Cabin Republicans LA Chapter President), James Vaughn (LCR CA Director), and the organizers Don Norte (Governor's Committee on Labor for People With Disabilities) and Kevin Norte (LCR CA PAC Director).
Kevin and Don kept on the Governor, reminding him of his commitment to equality. He listened.
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