Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that he would fight an initiative to amend the California Constitution to ban gay marriage if it qualifies for the November ballot.
Schwarzenegger said he was confident that such an amendment, which already are on the books in 26 other states, would never pass in California and called it a "waste of time."
"I will always be there to fight against that," Schwarzenegger said, prompting loud cheers and a standing ovation from about 200 people at the annual convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay Republican group.
The Austrian-born governor immediately cracked that he wished activists would instead focus on passing an amendment to allow naturalized citizens to run for president.
A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman, Julie Soderlund, said it was the first time the governor publicly stated opposition to the measure, though he has held the view for "some time."
"He has said he supports the will of the people and would enforce the rule of the court but does not support an initiative to change the Constitution," she said.
Schwarzenegger made his remarks during a brief question-and-answer session with Log Cabin's president, Patrick Sammon, who asked the governor about his position on two anti-gay marriage measures proposed by competing groups in California. Besides limiting marriage to heterosexuals, one measure would revoke the spousal rights and tax benefits currently extended to same-sex couples under state laws.
"The topic was planned, the answer was not," Sammon said after the lunch. "I'm delighted and really excited."
Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the gay rights group Equality California, said Schwarzenegger's opposition could keep a marriage ban from qualifying and would be significant in defeating one if it does.
"We were thrilled. We have been asking him to do this," said Kors, whose group's volunteers have been working to persuade people not to sign petitions for the proposed initiative. "The governor's support to defeat it is critical."
Kors said Schwarzenegger's stand has precedent. In 1978, former Republican Gov. Ronald Reagan came out against a ballot initiative that would have made it illegal for gay men and lesbians to work as teachers in California public schools, an act that "made gay rights issues nonpartisan," Kors said.
Proponents of the initiatives disagreed, saying Schwarzenegger risked the ire of conservative voters.
"He says he'll veto legislation redefining marriage but now he says he'll fight a ballot measure protecting marriage," said Randy Thomasson, of VoteYesMarriage.com, whose amendment would revoke domestic-partnership benefits including hospital visitation, community property and child support. "He's pandering to this group."
Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com, said the intention of his group's less far-reaching amendment was simply to preserve the existing definition of marriage approved by the legislature from being overturned by the courts.
Both groups have until April 28 to gather signatures from 694,354 voters to qualify the measures for the November election.
Schwarzenegger has vetoed bills that would have legalized gay marriage, saying that he thinks the question should be up to voters or the courts, not lawmakers. He is a defendant in a group of lawsuits brought by same-sex couples seeking to overturn the state's longtime statutory ban on gay marriage. A ruling in the case is expected soon from the California Supreme Court.
In the message that accompanied his October veto of a measure that would have made California the second state after Massachusetts to legalize same-sex marriage, the governor said he does not believe in discriminating against couples based on their sexual orientation. He said he supports state laws that give domestic partners many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
My take on this:
I think that it is so unfair that Arnold has to do this. What has happened to make people so anti-gay? People who are gay are not bad people. They are regular people. They just have different preferences. And I find it so uncalled for to do this. The gay community does no harm. And how could it hurt to have more people being happy in this horrid country?
It's not like if it doesn't become illegal that every man will have to marry a man and every woman will have to marry a woman. It just means that if two men, or two women find that they are in love, that they can be married. What is wrong with that?
I am not gay. I just think that there is no reason to justify making gay marriage illegal. There is nothing bad about it! People in the U.SoA are so narrow minded that they are not open to new ideas that they do not already have. Why must gay people be so mistreated? They are constantly criticized and there needs to be a stop. Like when people assume that a gay man is attracted to all other men he sees. This is just proof that when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. But mostly you. And I am breaking the habbit of using gay as a synonym for crappy.
I also don't know why people have such problems with bi people. Why couldn't a guy like both girls and guys? They can. It's just that America is so retarded that people can not be open minded. Some people would never want to be friends with a gay or bi person. And I think it is good to be around people of different preferences than yourself. Why? Because it gives you more views on the world. You get to see what people different than yourself think if things. And why do some think that being bi or gay means you have a problem?
It doesn't really mean you have a problem. It just means you are different. And who is to say that a guy loving a girl is normal? Yes i do understand that I sound crazy. But what is the difinition of normal in society? Look at the Brady Bunch or some show like that. That is what the government thinks that a family should be like.
I hate how people don't like people who are different. Emo. What is wrong with being emo? You may look at them and say that they are wrong. But they could look at you and say that you are wrong. And some people don't even take the time to get to know emo people to understand what they are all about. And that they are real people.
I am ranting and i am going to stop. But expect more.