Pro-family Groups Rally Californians to Protect Marriage Vote

SAN FRANCISCO--A day after dueling marriage bills were presented in the California Assembly, the dividing line between proponents of traditional marriage and those of homosexual marriage was clearly drawn as both tried to win supporters by holding two separate news conferences.

Pro-family groups, including Campaign for Children and Families, joined Assemblyman Tim Leslie (R-Roseville) calling on California voters to defend Proposition 22, an initiative defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman that was approved by 61.4% of the electorate in March 2000.

What stands as a threat Prop. 22 is AB 19, a measure that would amend the definition of marriage under California Family Code to be gender-neutral, thereby legalizing homosexual marriage. Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)had introduced the bill on the first day of the next legislative session with that backing of Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles).

“Merry Christmas, California -- the Democrat politicians are pushing homosexual ‘marriage’ upon you and your children, and trashing your vote,” said Thomasson at the news conference. “They want to ruin what you have voted for. They want to turn marriage upside down. They don’t mind being anti-voter.”

Proposition 22 reads: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Leno had argued that the measure only banned recognition of out-of-state gay marriages and not those in-state.

Thomasson would beg to differ.

“The word ‘valid’ applies to in-state recognition, and the word ‘recognize’ regards marriages done outside of California,” he explained. “This means California is only going to recognize and validate marriages between a man and a woman. AB 19 is illegal. It should not have been introduced. It should not even get a hearing. And it will certainly be struck down if it were ever to become law.”

Ab 19 would amend the Ca. Family Code to define marriage as "a personal relationship arising out of a civil contract between two persons."

During the Capitol news conference, Leslie asserted, "Marriage is not a contract between two men, or between three women, or between four college students and their pets. Even if these groupings love one another, help one another, or have sexual relations with one another, their relationship is not marriage!”

Other speakers at the conference included Art Croney of Responsible Citizens, Amy Koons of Capitol Resource Institute, and Brenda Bennett of the Sacramento Alliance for Civil Rights.

“We are very offended about the homosexual movement being connected with the civil rights agenda," said Bennett. "Civil rights were not fought so people could practice a sexual lifestyle. We want our rights protected. We have voted in this state saying that we do not want ‘gay marriage.’ We expect those rights to be upheld just like they expect their rights that have already been given to be upheld.”

Meanwhile, Leno led another news conference on Tuesday at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church to rally support for the measure. Speakers included a same-sex couple who was one of the first among 4,000 same-sex couples to marry in San Francisco earlier this year under the watch of Mayor Gavin Newsom who defied Prop. 22. Supporters of Prop. 22 and traditional marriage protested outside the liberal church during the gathering.

"For far too many years, loving and devoted same-sex couples have not been granted their constitutionally guaranteed rights of due process and equal protection," said Leno.

On the same day, a New York Supreme Court Justice ruled that same-sex couples did not have a fundamental right to marry, reaffirming a similar ruling by a New York judge two months earlier.

Assemblyman Ray Haynes (R-Murrieta) and Sen. Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside) each introduced Monday a bill that would uphold the 2000 California-passed initiative, one by amending Prop. 22's definition of marriage to the State Constitution, the other by preventing domestic partnerships to receive the same benefits as married couples. The bills are ACA 3 and SCA 1.