California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has told the state Supreme Court the term “marriage” can be terminated, because registered “domestic partners” already have all of the same legal rights, benefits, duties and obligations as married couples.

The warning comes from Vote Yes, an organization promoting a state constitutional amendment that would restrict marriage – and its benefits and obligations – to a man and a woman.

Schwarzenegger, as well as Attorney General Jerry Brown, recently submitted briefs to the state Supreme Court, which is considering a lawsuit that could result in “marriage” being granted to same-sex duos.

Brown, former governor of California and mayor of Oakland, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president three times.

As part of its deliberations, the court asked for the response from the attorney general and governor on the impact the decision could have on the state.

Randy Thomasson, spokesman for the marriage campaign, told WND the constitutional amendment is critical, because “by this time next year there’s going to be homosexual marriages occurring all over California.”

“In order to protect future generations and give them the gift and opportunity of marriage, and to protect America from California, people of means who believe in marriage and family need to give generously to,” he said.

Thomasson said the court hearing is expected later this year and a decision within 90 days. However, pro-family and pro-marriage organizations already have counted noses on the state Supreme Court, some of whose members have been loud in their proclaimed support for homosexual marriages, and have concluded the decision already is a done deal.

“There is a majority of judges on that bench in San Francisco to destroy the definition of marriage and utterly shred the people’s vote on marriage,” Thomasson said.

Californians voted in 2000 on Proposition 22, which reads, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” approving it by a significant margin.

However, the Democrat-controlled Legislature gradually has created “same-sex marriage by another name” by legislatively granting the rights of marriage to same-sex duos.

Then in 2005, the California courts said Proposition 22 protected only the word “marriage” but not the rights of marriage. The decision said Proposition 22 did not specifically protect marriage rights, so lawmakers could award the rights of marriage to homosexual partners.

“Because the plain, unambiguous language of Proposition 22 is concerned only with who is entitled to obtain the status of marriage, and not with the rights and obligations associated with marriage, (state law) does not add to, or take away from, Proposition 22,” the court said.

In Schwarzenegger’s answers to the court’s questions he suggested the “use of the words ‘marry’ and ‘marriage’ is not required by the California Constitution. Thus, the name of the legal relationship now known as ‘marriage’ could be changed.”

The governor continued, “Except for the ability to choose and declare one’s life partner in a reciprocal commitment of mutual support, any of the statutory rights and obligations that are afforded to married couples in California could be abrogated or eliminated by the Legislature or the electorate for any rational legislative purpose.”

Thomasson said, “This is proof positive that the initiative, which will prevent marriage from being abolished and prevent marriage rights from being eliminated, is absolutely needed to protect the sacred institution of marriage from activist judges and liberal politicians.”

Thomasson concluded: “Protecting the word ‘marriage’ in the state constitution is useless if the politicians can still get rid of marriage and marriage rights for a man and a woman. Clearly, the amendment, which will override the judges and politicians and preserve everything about marriage for one man and one woman, is the only way to protect this special institution for future generations to respect and enjoy.”

Schwarzenegger said, “As explained in the answer briefs, the State’s laws governing domestic partnership have evolved since 1999 such that there do not appear to be any legal rights, benefits, duties or obligations conferred by state law upon married couples that are not also possessed by registered domestic partners.”

The answers in Brown’s brief were nearly a duplicate of Schwarzenegger’s.

“The State is not aware of any differences between the legal rights and benefits and the legal obligations and duties affecting registered domestic partners under California law and the rights, benefits, duties and obligations given to married couples,” his response said.

Further, Brown wrote that the state constitution “does not contain a specifically enumerated right to marry,” although cases have implied that.

“To the extent that civil marriage might, in earlier times, have been required to enjoy conjugal and family relationships then regarded as the exclusive prerogative of married couples – such as cohabitation and lawful sexual intimacy, mutual lifelong care and support, legitimate procreation, or rearing of children – such state authorization is no longer needed,” he continued.

“The State submits that the words ‘marry’ and ‘marriage’ have no essential constitutional significance,” he said. “Thus the Legislature could change the name of the legal relationship now known as ‘marriage’ to some other name without any constitutional impediment,” Brown said.

The protection of marriage as a union between a man and a woman was the goal of Proposition 22, but marriage supporters point out judges have found routes “around” it, Thomasson said.

“The chief architect of that legislation has testified it should have protected everything of marriage,” Thomasson said. “But judges in California already have ruled that if you do not specifically protect everything, it’s permissible for the legislature to destroy anything you haven’t protected.”

As WND reported just weeks ago, state lawmakers advanced two proposals to broaden rights that historically have belonged only to married couples.

Senate Bill 11, authored by state Sen. Carole Migden of San Francisco, provided 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.

Former Assemblyman Larry Bowler, who directs the Vote Yes Marriage campaign, said such attacks “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.”

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