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California handing out marriage privileges

California lawmakers, under two proposals that have advanced in the state legislature, are trying to hand out the rights that historically have belonged to married couples to any duo, married or not, including same-sex partners.

Calif. State Sen. Carole Migden, who earlier set up California’s ‘domestic partners’ plan and now wants them given the same rights as married couples

Senate Bill 11, authored by state Sen. Carole Migden of San Francisco, has been approved by a state Assembly committee, and would give all the rights of marriage to unmarried men and women.

And Assembly Bill 43, which also has been endorsed, would require every community in the state to endorse same-sex marriages.

“These twin attacks on marriage by the politicians are clear and convincing evidence why we must fully and permanently protect marriage in the state constitution, far above the reach of politicians and judges,” said former Assemblyman Larry Bowler, who has been supporting “The Voters’ Right to Protect Marriage Initiative.

“Marriage rights are for marriage, and marriage is for one man and one woman. The voters understand this, but politicians and judges don’t. It’s high time for the people to override the judges and politicians and protect marriage rights once and for all for one man and one woman.”

He said the only proposal now available that would accomplish that is the “rock-solid” VoteYesMarriage.com amendment.

Supporters of that effort say they are gearing up to rescue marriage from the “twin attacks.”

“Why get married if the government will give you all the honor, rights and benefits of marriage for merely shacking up?” asked Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a leading California-based pro-family organization that opposes SB 11. “And where’s the governor on this? Californians want him to say he’ll veto this nonsensical bill, because it functionally abolishes marriage.”

State law already awards all the rights of marriage to homosexuals who register as “domestic partners,” simply creating same-sex marriage by another name, opponents of the legislation said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a public position on SB 11, and the first-of-its-kind bill awarding marriage rights to the unmarried has already passed the Democrat-controlled state Senate.

“Marriage rights are only for a man and a woman who are married in either God’s sight or in the eyes of the state,” said Thomasson. “Allowing unmarried couples to hijack the honor and rights and benefits of marriage cheapens and dishonors this special and sacred institution. If you’re a man and a woman who want the rights and recognition of marriage, you should get married – not create counterfeit marriages with SB 11. Talk about a government disincentive to get married. This foolish bill encourages unwed parents to remain uncommitted, which is certainly not in the best interest of children.”

Voting “yes” on SB 11 in committee were all seven Democrats: Dave Jones of Sacramento, Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa, Mike Feuer of West Hollywood, Paul Krekorian of Burbank, John Laird of Santa Cruz, Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys, and Sally Lieber of San Jose. Voting “no” on SB 11 in committee were all three Republicans: Van Tran of Garden Grove, Anthony Adams of Hesperia, and Rick Keene of Chico

SB 11 is opposed by the Association of California Water Agencies, the California Catholic Conference, Campaign for Children and Families, Capitol Resource Institute, California Right to Life Committee, Concerned Women for America, and Traditional Values Coalition.

Officials said in addition to the legislative attacks on marriage in California, the judicial attacks also are increasing. Officials expect by early next year the state Supreme Court will have ordered the creation of “same-sex” marriages.

The VoteYesMarriage organization is raising funds at this point to qualify for the 2008 ballot.

Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute, said earlier that it was sheer arrogance on the part of lawmakers who have “decided that they know better than the people by voting to force AB 43 on California.

She said the people of California “clearly decided this issue when they passed Proposition 22. It is outrageous for legislators to waste time and money debating an issue that Californians have decided.”

In Proposition 22, voters defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

Schwarzenegger has indicated he would veto AB 43 if it reaches his desk.

Migden in 1999 pushed through a bill allowing couples to “register” with the state as “domestic partners” already.

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