Bills that constitutionally limit would limit marriage to opposite-sex couples were filed earlier this year in both the House and Senate by Republican lawmakers and appeared to have enough support for passage.
But just before the House was to vote Rep. Kyrsten Sinema added a clause to the bill that would grant unmarried couples, both same and opposite-sex, many of the rights of marriage but without the name.
With the amendment in place the House voted 28-27 to give the measure preliminary approval. If it won final approval in both houses with the clause intact it would have gone to voters.
The bill’s chief sponsor in the House, Jim Weiers (R), angrily denounced the maneuver saying it made the ban on gay marriage meaningless.
So Mr. Weiers reaction makes it very clear that these statewide initiatives “definiing marriage as one man and one woman” is not just about preventing gay and lesbian couples from accessing marriage, but it is really about preventing substantial governmental recognition of same-sex couples.
Let’s hope that just as Arizona has failed to force a public vote on the issue of marriage equality in November 2008, so will California.