September 7, 2005

California Passes Gay Marriage Bill

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:18 pm

Update 9-8-05: Schwarzenegger will veto the bill “out of respect for the will of the people”. The irony is too much. Also, the Left Angeles Times has an editorial in favor of gay marriage predicting the California courts will join the legislature in legalizing it.

Who would have thought in March 2000, after California voters passed a Defense of Marriage proposition by a vote of 61% to 39%, that five years later the state legislature would pass a bill to legalize gay marriage by a vote of 41 to 35? But miracles happen.

Apparently this progress for gay rights has a couple causes. First, public opinion has changed. A recent poll shows California voters are split 46% to 46% on gay marriage, a substantial shift from five years ago. Secondly though, I think that gerrymandering, a practice that I loath, has helped as well. I bet that most Democratic districts are for gay marriage, but not by a wide margin. Even in Democratic districts where the voters oppose gay marriage, it won’t swing many votes to the Republicans. These districts are probably pretty safe for Democrats even if support for gay rights is lukewarm.

However I imagine the Republican districts are overwhelmingly against gay marriage. Given that there are fewer Republican districts than Democratic ones, the numbers balance out state-wide to a tie. Thus a 50/50 state-wide split is not reflected in the state Senate and Assembly, where the majority Democrats felt safe passing the bill.

Next the bill goes on to Governor Schwarzenegger. While Arnold, who after all is part of the LA entertainment social crowd, probably would just as soon sign the bill. But he has hitched his political future to the Republican party. Schwarzenegger has said in the past that he is for civil unions, but not gay marriage, a reasonable compromise for a fiscal conservative/social liberal Republican. However, the legislature hasn’t given him a civil union bill, but a gay marriage bill. Politically, he has no choice but to veto. Of course I think it would be “fantastic”, as Arnold likes to say, if he voted his conscience, damned the political consequences, and signed the bill. But it’s not at all likely.

The other potential glitch is Proposition 22, which says “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The courts would have to decide whether the gay marriage legislation, even if signed by Schwarzenegger, would be preempted by Proposition 22.

But still, even though it won’t become law, this is such a great step forward! We are so close — if we had a Democrat governor, California would be the first state to legalize gay marriage via the legislature. (Massachusetts has legalized it via the courts, and Vermont and Connecticut have legalized civil unions via the legislature.)

It just seems that we are approaching a tipping point. People have seen gays getting married, and have realized that it looks pretty boring, and not all that different from any other marriage. People have realized that gay marriage is simply letting people marry whomever they want, instead of having government impose contraints on their freedom. There clearly is no victim from gay marriage. It is simply a question of fairness, of civil rights, and of freedom.

It won’t be long now.


  1. Catholics, Jews, Immigrants, Blacks, Women, and soon Gays too will
    join the ranks of those once lambasted by conservative demagogues.
    When that happens, who will be left for them to go after?

    Comment by wildwest — September 8, 2005 @ 5:57 am

  2. I am scouring the internet looking for action alerts, so that I can express my displeasure to the Governator. There is nothing…. except a TON of Christian websites urging Arnold to veto the bill. This is why he feels safe and correct in vetoing it: because all the action has come from the right-wing. Come on, folks, let’s get in gear FINALLY. Anybody got an action page? Even though it is probably a done deal, we MUST let our leaders know how we feel about their actions.

    Comment by B Russ — September 8, 2005 @ 10:27 am

  3. Go to and you can tell the Gov what you think. Where it asks for a subject, there’s a drop-down list to select “Gender-neutral marriage AB.0849”.

    Comment by Tony — September 8, 2005 @ 2:54 pm

  4. Not all Christians who oppose gay marriage are “right-wing.” The Bible is very plain about what marriage is, who is to be married, and what God has to say about homosexuality. I honestly don’t understand how any Bible-believing Christian can support gay marriage. Civil union, sure. That is a worldly matter. But, marriage is a spiritual matter and God reigns over that realm.

    Comment by Angel — September 8, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

  5. Angel… The Bible is also very clear that polygamy and men having affairs with hand maidens and servants within the house is also an option, but we do not practice that today. And what about Lot or Noah having sex with their daughters? I just can’t get my wife to agree to multiple wives or an occasional sexual encounter with the woman who keeps our house even though the Bible says it’s OK!!

    Comment by Tony — September 8, 2005 @ 7:22 pm

  6. Tony, if you read the entire Bible you will find that polygamy nor adultery is sanctioned by the Bible. It is also plain that what Lot’s daughters did was a sin as well. The Bible does not say those things are okay. And, Jesus gets real plain about them. The Bible is also quite plain about homosexuality. Murder. Stealing. Lying. And, all other forms of sin.

    Comment by Angel — September 9, 2005 @ 5:11 am

  7. This should be a non-issue. Who cares who marries who? Isn’t
    that a choice for those involved? Why can’t two loving people
    marry? And no, I am not gay, I just believe in equality.

    Comment by larkohio — September 9, 2005 @ 7:43 am

  8. But the last time I checked, Angel, our law is based upon the
    Constitution, not the Bible. This is especially true of things
    that are “spiritual matters,” not “worldly matters.” If it is a
    spiritual matter, our government has no business telling the
    churches what they may or may not do. Your church, right-wing,
    left-wing or otherwise, has the perfect right to decline to
    marry any gay couple if it wishes. Why should the government
    stick its nose into the business of churches who might wish
    to marry them, “unbiblical” they may be according to the teachings
    of your church?

    And for those who will argue that the separation of church and
    state was meant *only* to protect the church from the state and
    not the other way around (not that I agree), I say here is a
    perfect example of the state getting in the way of the church’s

    Comment by wildwest — September 9, 2005 @ 7:50 am

  9. It isn’t an equality issue. Gay marriage is a special priviledges issue. They want the definition of marriage, a definition ordained by God, changed to accomodate them.

    Comment by Angel — September 9, 2005 @ 9:41 am

  10. Oops. Angel, I realize I didn’t read your original post carefully
    enough. You wanted to know how someone could believe in gay
    marriage based on scripture, not on the law of the land.

    I’ll let the “Bible-believing” Christians answer that one. I just
    now see that my message appeared several hours after it was typed,
    and at first I thought it wouldn’t go through. So you can read
    my message if it interests you, but not as a response to what you
    said earlier. Sorry for not reading you carefully enough.

    Comment by wildwest — September 9, 2005 @ 11:03 am

  11. Angel –

    I disagree that Scripture is so clear about gays. I agree that nothing in the Bible explicitly countenances homosexuality, and several verses seem to condemn it. We are no longer under the Old Testament Mosaic law, so let’s stick to the New Testament. When Paul talks about exchanging unnatural relations for natural ones, he could have been addressing temple prostitution and ritual orgies among pagans, which all of us would condemn, especially as a form of religious worship. But we are talking here about people that are born gay that want to commit themselves to a person of the same sex, and to have that commitment blessed by the church. It’s a different situation.

    But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that Paul was speaking against all homosexuality, including monogamous gay marriage. This forces us to choose between the Gospel and Paul, since it means that there are people born that are not able to marry, and are therefore consigned to celibacy for their entire lives, and whom haven’t necessarily been given God’s gift of celibacy. People are born all the time with defects that cause their lives to be incomplete in some way, but in this case there is a simple solution: allow same-sex marriage.

    So God presents us with this dilemma — allow gays to be included in the institution of monogamous marriage like the rest of us, or take a couple of Paul’s stray comments on the topic as the final word. It’s a choice between compassion, grace and love (agape), and legalism.

    In the New Testament, Jesus always makes this choice in favor of compassion. “The sabbath is made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” He scolds those following the law and heals those that aren’t.

    So it’s very possible to read Scripture and decide that gay marriage is what God wants us to do, even though it’s not explicitly commanded in the Bible. Just like abolishing slavery, an institution accepted as normal in the Bible.

    Which brings us back to government. Our government should not favor any religious views over any others. There is no victim of gay marriage that the government has an interest in protecting. To the contrary, our government has an interest in being fair and equal in the way that citizens are treated. So, the civil institution of marriage should include gays. Churches, of course, should be free to recognize gay marriage or not, as they see fit.

    Comment by Bob — September 9, 2005 @ 7:13 pm

  12. the bible says homosexuality is an abomination to God. how much more plain can ya get?

    Comment by fleur — September 12, 2005 @ 12:29 pm

  13. Let’s pick on someone else for awhile. How’s this: Lev 19:27ff, “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” I suggest we launch a campaign to rid our churches of anyone with pierced ears or tattoos. Then let’s attack tattoo shops, drag the tatooers into the streets and beat them up. Don’t forget the barbers… we have to get them too!

    Comment by Tony — September 15, 2005 @ 9:51 am

  14. Hmm. I dunno about barbers or those with pierced ears (women,
    anyway). But men with pierced ears and people with tattoos are
    kinda unconventional, like gays. We might get away with a
    campaign to ostracize them before it’s too late.

    Comment by wildwest — September 16, 2005 @ 8:04 am

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