Thursday, September 01, 2005

Proud to be a Californian Tonight

I heard the good news on the radio as I was driving home from work today, and let out a whoop. The California Senate has become the first legislative body in the nation to enact gay marriage without being forced by a court mandate. The bill passed 21-15, the minimum majority needed. (I see that my senator is listed as absent or abstaining. Hmmm.) Apparently, there was some quite passionate debate on the Senate floor, including one Senator who has been interracially married for 50 years. (California was a leader in that regard, when the state Supreme Court struck down miscegenation laws in 1948.) Three Senators who are planning to run for state-wide offices next year spoke out for justice, despite heavy targeting by the Pharisees religious right. Kudos to them for doing the right thing.

Of course it's not a done deal yet. The bill now goes back to the Assembly, where it fell short by three votes earlier this year, but they may be able to gain a few votes now having passed the Senate. In addition, Equality California has been working overtime to recruit additional support, and has gained the support of the United Farm Workers (including UFW political director Christine Chavez, who noted that her grandfather, labor leader Cesar Chavez, was a longtime gay rights supporter). Even if they squeak through the Assembly, nobody knows what Governor Schwarzenegger will do. He has not taken any official position on it. But for the moment, I'm going to relish the positive news.

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