Gay leaders to meet with Schwarzenegger staff

Gay rights leaders in California will meet with top aides to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just two days before a groundbreaking same-sex marriage bill passed by the legislature is due to hit his desk. But that doesn't mean the governor isn't still planning to veto it.

BY admin

September 17 2005 12:00 AM ET

Gay rights
leaders in California have been invited to meet with top
aides to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
just two days before a groundbreaking same-sex
marriage bill passed by the legislature is due to hit
his desk. Schwarzenegger has promised to veto the bill, so
lawmakers have held off from delivering it to the
governor to give gay leaders time to change his mind.

But the 90-minute
meeting, scheduled for next Wednesday, is purely an
outreach event, and the marriage bill will not be a topic of
conversation between gay leaders and the governor's
acting chief of staff, Margita Thompson, a
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman, told the San Francisco
Chronicle.
Schwarzenegger has said he believes the
issue of same-sex marriage should be decided by the
courts, not the legislature. A separate challenge to
Proposition 22, the initiative voters approved in 2002
that limits marriage to heterosexual couples, is
making its way to the California supreme court.

But gay leaders
said they plan to bring the marriage issue up during the
meeting. "There are real people he's going to harm with the
veto pen," Geoffrey Kors, executive director of
Equality California, the LGBT rights organization
behind the marriage bill, told the Chronicle.
"Instead, he could be a shining example of a strong
leader and someone who is going to stand for
equality."

Equality
California has been holding town hall meetings across
California on the issue, the Chronicle reports,
and started a campaign on Monday highlighting
different segments of the population that would be
affected by the bill. More than 20,000 people have
signed an online petition asking the governor to approve the
bill, and 50,000 sent e-mails to his office during the
first two days of the campaign.

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