Gay Lesbian Lawmakers React to Ruling

 Gay and lesbian state lawmakers said they were disheartened by Tuesday's California Supreme Court ruling upholding Proposition 8 but compared the fight for gay marriage to the long struggle for civil rights.
Members of the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus held a news conference shortly after the court upheld the voter-approved initiative, which limited marriage to between a man and a woman.

"California has lost its lead in the fight for civil rights for all people," said state Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said the court's decision would create a system of "apartheid" in California. In upholding the constitutional amendment, the Supreme Court was sanctioning discrimination, said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

"This is a great stain on this court," he said. "Suddenly, civil rights are just a game of ping-pong."

He said the decision could lead to successive ballot measures in the future -- first seeking to overturn the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and, if that is successful, another one seeking to ban it again.

November's vote was the second time California voters had banned gay marriage but was the first time it was enshrined in the state constitution.

Gay marriage is legal in five states: It was allowed by courts in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa, while legislatures legalized it in Iowa and Vermont.

Since 2004, 26 states have passed constitutional amendments limiting marriage to between a man and a woman.

Members of California's LGBT caucus equated the fight for marriage equality to the long process of securing rights for blacks, Asians and women.

They and other leading Democrats who joined the news conference predicted that gay marriage supporters would fund an initiative campaign to place the issue before voters for a third time.

"This is a dark day, a dark day in California," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat who was in Sacramento to lobby against state budget cuts to local governments. "We are going to keep on working. We're going to have a conversation in this state" about restoring gay marriage.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us