A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in California was approved by a state committee on Tuesday, reigniting the debate between proponents of traditional and gay marriage.
Introduced by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D- San Francisco), AB 19 seeks to amend the definition of marriage in the state from a man and a woman to two persons. The bill won approval by a 6 to 3 vote in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, clearing the first step in the legislative process.
Opponents of the measure protested, arguing that the proposed bill violates Californias Proposition 22, which states that marriage is only legal when between a man and a woman.
Proposition 22 was approved by a popular vote in 2000. The state constitution stipulates that the legislature cannot amend laws enacted by popular vote.
Leno argued, however, that Proposition 22 only prohibits the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. The law does not apply to marriages performed within the state, said Leno, maintaining that his proposed bill does not violate state law.
Opponents of the bill disagree.
Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute, a pro-family organization, stated, We are appalled that the majority of committee members decided to ignore the will of the people they represent.
The people of California overwhelmingly voted in Prop. 22 that marriage in California is between one man and one woman only, said England.
If we re-define marriage, soon it can be anything anyone wants it to be. There is no logical stopping point. Marriage will become meaningless.