A California state assembly committee voted Tuesday for a resolution urging the defeat of a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban gay marriage. The assembly judiciary committee, which voted earlier this year for a bill supporting gay marriage, voted 8-3 for a resolution expressing the legislature's opposition to the amendment, backed by President Bush, and other federal moves to
restrict the rights of same-sex couples. The resolution must pass the entire assembly and senate to take effect.
Bush endorsed the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment in February, saying he wanted to stop activist judges from changing rules that oversee the "most enduring human institution."
The committee's party-line vote Tuesday--with Democrats prevailing--represented the newest move in a cultural battle that has gripped the nation amid thousands of gay weddings this year in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, and New Mexico. Though Bush's call to protect traditional marriage has galvanized supporters in an election year, it has reaped criticism from his opponents, including the resolution's author, Assemblyman Mark Leno. "To amend the U.S. Constitution to codify this kind of discrimination is a dark day in our nation's history," said Leno, one of five openly gay members of the legislature. Three other gay and lesbian assembly lawmakers are coauthors of the resolution.
In a related move Tuesday, the committee also passed a resolution supporting bills before Congress that would let gay and lesbian residents sponsor their partners for U.S. citizenship. The committee's 8-3 vote urged Congress to pass the Permanent Partners Immigration Act of 2003, allowing the alternate phrase "or permanent partner" to immigration law, which outlines rights afforded married couples.
The approved resolutions go now to the assembly floor for a full vote.