SAN FRANCISCO -- The California State Assembly voted against the proposed amendment to protect traditional marriage, despite recent voter-polls that show a majority support for such an amendment, Thursday, June 23, 2004.
"When we start outlawing in our Constitution a certain group of people, we have no certainty where it will end," said Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, during the fierce debate.
"I would like us to think that the California Legislature believes in the best of all Americans, in the hope and promise of our democracy and not a limited and small-minded view of what this country can be," said Leno, one of the Assembly's four openly gay members.
Many of the other Assembly members, however, contested the resolution, saying that it attacks California’s March 2000 ballot initiative that explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman only. The initiative, entitled Proposition 22, passed with a two thirds majority from California voters.
"Marriage between a man and woman is the fundamental building block of our society," said Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City. "It is the institution that all else is built upon, and it is deserving of recognition. It is deserving of protection."
The Assembly also passed a companion resolution supporting “congressional proposals to let gay and lesbian residents sponsor their partners for U.S. citizenship,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
To become the Legislature’s official position, the resolutions must pass the Senate by the end of August.
Such pro-gay resolutions counter the voice of the Californian majority, at least as observed by a Field Poll conducted last month.
The poll, released on June 4, 2004, found that 53 percent of 745 randomly selected Californians oppose gay “marriage” while only 43 percent support it.