First in the nation:
The California Assembly voted Tuesday to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, making the state’s legislature the first in the nation to deliberately approve same-sex marriages and handing a political hot potato to an already beleaguered Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
After a vehement floor debate in which legislators quoted the Pledge of Allegiance and accused each other of abusing moral principles, the state Assembly passed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which recasts the definition of marriage as between “two persons,” not between a man and a woman. The state Senate passed the bill last week.
“There are moments in the history of any movement when the corner is turned,” said Geoff Kors, the executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group. “This is it. This is the tipping point.”
Advocates of the bill, including Christine Chavez-Delgado, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez and an organizer of the United Farm Workers of America, and Willie L. Brown, former mayor of San Francisco, argued that the bill fit into California’s sense of itself as a trendsetter for the rest of the country. In 1948, California’s Supreme Court became the first state court to strike down a law prohibiting interracial marriage. And California in 1976 was among the first states to repeal sodomy statues.
But opponents, including conservative Republicans, have argued that the law must be stopped in the nation’s most populous state because it constitutes another assault on the sanctity of the family. Californians passed a defense-of-marriage act defining marriage as between a man and a woman in 2000, and the state, which mixes freewheeling Marin County with culturally conservative Orange County, has emerged as a front line in the battle over the bedroom ever since.
“Marriage should be between a man and a woman, end of story. Next issue,” insisted Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R-Monrovia). “It’s not about civil rights or personal rights, it’s about acceptance. They want to be accepted as normal. They are not normal.”
Sometimes you just want to punch these people. The article goes on to discuss what a bind this is for Schwarzanalphabet, who will probably veto the bill.