Schwarzenegger Terminates Gay Marriage

As promised, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

Schwarzenegger Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill (AP)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through Thursday on his promise to veto a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, leaving the issue up to voters or judges who will likely face the volatile issue in the next year. “This bill simply adds confusion to a constitutional issue,” the Republican governor said in a veto message.

Schwarzenegger had announced his intention on Sept. 7, a day after the Legislature became the first in the country to approve a bill allowing gays and lesbians to wed. Schwarzenegger said the bill by Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno contradicted Proposition 22, which was approved by voters in 2000 and said only a marriage between a man and woman is valid.

The governor said the state constitution bars the Legislature from enacting a law allowing gay marriage without another vote by the public and that Leno’s bill wouldn’t provide for that vote. Schwarzenegger noted that a state appeals court was considering whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional and that the issue would likely be decided by the California Supreme Court. “If the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional this bill is not necessary,” he said. “If the ban is constitutional this bill is ineffective.”

He’s right.

Ironically, this happens as Connecticut’s civil unions law is about to go into effect.

Conn. to Offer Civil Unions on Oct. 1

Connecticut joins Vermont on Saturday as the only states offering same-sex civil unions, but the day may pass with only a few raised glasses of champagne as the first gay couples exchange vows. Because Oct. 1 falls on a Saturday, only a handful of town clerks’ offices plan to be open. Gay rights activists know of some planned ceremonies that day — including one officiated by Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, who’s running for governor — but don’t know how many couples will race to apply for civil unions. “Saturday is going to be a landmark day in the civil rights movement in Connecticut,” said state Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, one of a handful of openly gay legislators in Connecticut’s General Assembly.

But the law is also creating confusion with some employers who will be required to extend health benefits to same-sex couples. “I think employers are going to start getting requests (for benefits) as soon as Monday. And they’re not prepared,” said Bruce Barth, an employee benefits attorney at Robinson and Cole in Hartford.

Connecticut’s law passed in April, making it the first state to recognize same-sex unions without court intervention. Laws in Vermont and Massachusetts, which allows gay couples to marry, were created as a result of legal action. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through on his promise Thursday to veto a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.


FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Law and the Courts, LGBTQ Issues, Supreme Court, US Constitution, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DL says:


    It wasn’t too many years ago, the State of Connecticut, closed all the rest stops and pull-offs on main highways with one of the major goals: to shut off this very behavior. Now I suppose they will open them up again to encourage romance. What moral virus has contaminated this world – and we worry about bird flu.

  2. We referenced your post. But, for some reason, your blog doesn’t recognize (or display) when we trackback to you.

  3. Scott in CA says:

    Are you actually saying that gay people are a “moral virus”? Do you really assume that all gay men visit highway rest stops for sex? Do you assume that all straight men visit lap dancers or massage parlors for sex? What a ridiculous assumption.