BoiFromTroy reported yesterday that the California Assembly Judiciary Committee passed by a party line vote the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act which would ensure “equal treatment under the law by allowing same-sex couples to marry in California while continuing to guarantee religious freedom.”
It seems that the legislature is attempting to overturn the will of the people of the Golden State who just five years ago voted in a state law (Prop. 22) to define marriage as the union of the man and a woman.
Under normal circumstances, I would be delighted that the legislature (rather the courts) is taking up the marriage issue. But, given that referendum five years ago–a referendum passed by over 60% of California voters–I fear our posturing state legislature is playing with fire. And that, in the end, they could make things far worse for gay couples in the Golden State.
Indeed, Boi reported today that opponents of gay marriage are already pushing for a state initiative to amend the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage. The “LA TIMES” reports that Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, believes that if the legislature votes in favor of gay marriage, it “will ignite the majority of Californians . . . [to] override the politicians.”
Even in “blue” California, most citizens, while open to state recognition of gay couples, oppose calling such relationships “marriages.” They said as much in 2000 when they voted for Prop. 22. Because of the liberal initiative laws in the Golden State, the legislature should be very careful in choosing the bills it passes. Should they go against the will of the people, some interest group will organize and put a initiative on the ballot. And sometimes, that initiative will do more than merely undo the unpopular legislation.
Given the California vote in 2000 and given that some polls have, in recent months, shown an increase in opposition to gay marriage, this action by the legislature will likely backfire and we may be far worse off than we were before. I fear that the end result of this legislation will be an amendment to the state’s constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And that is a result most gay people, including those who do not advocate gay marriage, should wish to avoid.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com