A proposed ballot measure to overturn California's sweeping new domestic-partnership law, signed by Gov. Gray Davis on September 19, was cleared for petition circulation earlier Friday. The proponents, Sen. William J. "Pete" Knight (R-Palmdale) and Assemblyman Ray Haynes (R-Murietta) have until December 21 to collect 373,816 valid signatures in order to qualify the proposal for the ballot. If successful, the measure would be before the voters in the March 2004 election. "This attack on families and children by Republican legislators is truly offensive," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director for Equality California, a statewide gay rights group, noting that not one Republican member of the legislature voted in favor of the domestic-partnership bill. "To say that they support family values while they are aggressively working to take rights away from California families is incredibly hypocritical."
Kors called on the leading gubernatorial candidates in the current recall election and all Californians to denounce the signature-gathering effort. "As the endorsed candidate of the California Republican Party and the only leading candidate who has refused to state his position on this legislation, we are calling on Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak out immediately against this attack on civil rights, which is nothing more than a bigoted, mean-spirited attempt to deny equality to tens of thousands of California families," Kors said. He noted that Schwarzenegger, on his official campaign Web site, states, "I do believe that gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law and should not be discriminated against based on their relationship." He also pointed out that Schwarzenegger has hired Rob Stutzman, the former campaign manager for Proposition 22. Proposition 22, also authored by Senator Knight, was passed by voters in 2000 and defines marriages in California as only those between a man and a woman.