Sponsors of California Same-sex Marriage Ban to Challenge Lockyer

Sponsors of a marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage in California charge the state attorney general with inaccuracy and prejudice in his summary of the measure.

In May, supporters of traditional marriage launched VoteYesMarriage.com in response to a court ruling and a proposed bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. On Monday, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued his statement on the proposed Voters’ Right to Protect Marriage Initiative, which seeks a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

In his statement, Lockyer changed the title of the amendment to “Marriage: Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights.” Currently, the state grants domestic partners with many of the same rights as married couples. Lockyer’s summary points out that many of these rights will be voided or restricted under the proposed marriage amendment.

Lockyer’s title and summary of the measure will appear on petitions that can now begin circulating. The text will also appear on the June 2006 ballot if supporters are able to collect at least 598,105 signatures.

Randy Thomasson, from the Campaign for Children and Families and one of the organizers of VoteYesMarriage.com, called the attorney general’s statement prejudiced and replete with errors.

“True to his liberal bias, but untrue to his constitutional duty, Bill Lockyer has dumped on us an inaccurate and prejudicial paragraph that is anything but impartial and fair as the law requires,” said Thomasson.

Thomasson and fellow sponsors, former Assemblyman Larry Bowler and activist Ed Hernandez, plan to challenge Lockyer in courts in the next few days. They say that despite Lockyer’s statements, the proposed amendment will not affect domestic partner rights such as hospital visitation. Even more, they charge that Lockyer’s summary fails to reflect the true purpose of the amendment, which is the protection of marriage.

Bowler commented, “It’s not surprising that Lockyer is showing his prejudice and intolerance against marriage for a man and a woman,” listing out examples of how Lockyer has promoted same-sex marriage in the past years.

Supporters of gay rights applauded Lockyer’s summary, saying that it clearly points out how the proposed amendment will affect all unmarried couples, whether same-sex or heterosexual. Gay rights activists hope that this will make voters less likely to approve the bill, although most expect the bill to make it onto the 2006 ballot.