Governor Backs Marriage Ruling
Posted on May 19, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
A day after the state Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples should have the right to marry in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that he supports the court’s decision even though his personal view is that “marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Advocates of same-sex marriage have praised Schwarzenegger for embracing Thursday’s decision, which overturned a voter-approved law allowing only opposite-sex marriage. They also expect him to make good on his promise last month to help fight a new initiative, aimed for the November ballot, that would overturn the court’s ruling.
But the Republican governor’s stance on same-sex marriage has been curious and confusing to many people. Since his election in 2003, Schwarzenegger has twice vetoed bills to legalize marriage for homosexual couples.
Last month, he appeared to make an about-face, placing himself in the spotlight when he told a group of gay Republicans that he would campaign against the Limit on Marriage initiative. Backers of the measure have submitted more than 1 million signatures to the secretary of state’s office, which will decide next month whether the initiative qualifies.
In a meeting with The Chronicle’s editorial board on Friday, Schwarzenegger was asked to clarify his position.
“First, I have always said that for me, marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.
Then he added: “But I don’t want to make everyone else go in that direction.”
Schwarzenegger said he vetoed same-sex marriage legislation because he felt the Legislature shouldn’t override voter-approved Proposition 22, which had defined marriage as between a man and a woman and was nullified by the high court on Thursday.
However, the governor said he doesn’t necessarily feel the same when it comes to the Supreme Court overturning a statute enacted by a voter initiative.
“When the people vote, people are not legal experts, constitutional experts or any of that,” he said. “I think that’s why we have the courts. People may vote with good intentions, but then the court says, ‘This is not constitutional.’
“It’s not that the court interferes with the will of the people,” he added. “But the court says, ‘You voted for something, but it’s not constitutionally right, so let’s rework this.’ That’s really the idea.”
While he supports the notion that same-sex couples should enjoy the same protections as heterosexual couples, the governor said same-sex marriage is not something that he has felt strongly about. He added that he has attended ceremonies for domestic partnerships.
Schwarzenegger’s outspoken rejection of the proposed Limit on Marriage initiative gives the opposition campaign a huge lift, said Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Sacramento State University.
John J. Pitney Jr., a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, said the biggest boost that the governor can have in that campaign would be in fundraising.
Meanwhile, Republican campaign consultant Kevin Spillane said he believes that the proposed measure, if it qualifies for the fall ballot, could lift the Republican Party’s “dispirited conservative base.”
But just how that might play out in the presidential or other local elections will be complicated to figure out, he said.
“Gay marriage is a tough issue for both parties,” he said. “You’ll have socially moderate and younger Republican voters who may be more supportive of gay marriage, but then you also have African American and Latino Democratic voters who are more socially conservative.”
Schwarzenegger said he doesn’t think same-sex marriages in the coming months will stir up Californians much.
“I think life will go on as usual,” he said.
This posting was automatically generated from a feed from Gay News Blog Read more….California High Court Preparing Pro-Gay Ruling on Marriage?
Pre-Gaming the California Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
Arnold supports California gay marriage ruling
California Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage
TX governor backs Scouts on gays