Action hero actor turned Republican Californian Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill allowing gay marriages for the second time in two years, saying voters and the state Supreme Court, not legislators, should decide the issue.

The Californian Senate had voted 22 to 15 to support the bill (AB43) by Assemblyman Mark Leno that would allow gay marriage based on a “a civil contract between two persons,” that would allow religious institutions to refuse to officiate gay marriages.

The California Supreme Court will rule next year on whether a referendum in 2000 that banned gay marriage is in violation of the constitution.

Mr Schwarzenegger who addressed this year’s Conservative Party conference by video link said in his veto message that Californians “should not be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation.”

Adding: “I support current domestic partnership rights and will continue to vigorously defend and enforce these rights.”

But Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, told AP that the veto was “hypocrisy at its worst.”

He added: “We find it shocking for the governor to say he opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation and then veto a bill that would have ended discrimination based on sexual orientation.”