Thursday, August 25, 2005

California Marriage, Here We Come?

California moved closer to becoming the first state to enact same-sex marriage without a court mandate, as the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-SF), was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, and moves for a full vote of the Senate as early as next week. Senate approval would send it back to the Assembly for concurrence, where Leno hopes to muster the one or two additional votes needed to secure its passage. (It failed in the Assembly by the narrowest of margins, but some procedural wizardry has allowed it to come back by way of the Senate.) I just sent this email to my State Senator, Jack Scott (D-Pasadena):
Dear Senator Scott,

I don't often take the time to write to you on legislation, but AB 849 (Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Protection Act) is very important to me, and also to countless gay men and lesbians throughout the state of California. My husband and I had a wedding ceremony four years ago, and consider ourselves married in every sense but the legal one. We are recognized as a married couple by our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow church members. More and more Californians are coming to realize that discrimination against same-sex couples in marriage law is as wrong as the anti-miscegenation laws of decades past. In fact, a California Superior Court judge has ruled as much, although legal appeals will keep the final outcome tied up for another couple of years. However, I am confident that the California Supreme Court will do the right thing when the time comes, and rule same-sex marriage discrimination as unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the California legislature could just wait for the Supreme Court, but it would be much better for the legislature to make a decisive stand for justice on this issue. California was one of the earliest states to legalize inter-racial marriage, and I would be proud to see California take a leading role in legalizing same-sex marriage. The opportunity before you is a historic one, and in voting for AB 849 when it comes before you next week, you should be confident in being on the right side of history. I hope you will give this bill your full support.

Tom Chatt

If you are a Californian, please take a moment to contact your state Senator.

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