California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he intends to veto a bill that would make his state the first in the United States to legalize same-sex marriages through a legislative way, Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
The bill, finally approved Tuesday by state legislators in Sacramento, the capital of California, is an attempt to legalize the homosexual right to marriage through the legislative system rather than under a court decision as in Massachusetts.
Margita Thompson, Shwarzenegger's press secretary, said Wednesday the governor supports gay rights, but thinks the decision should be left to the courts and the voters.
"The people voted and the issue is now before the courts," Thompson said in a written statement. "The governor believes the matter should be determined not by legislative action - which would be unconstitutional - but by court decision or another vote of the people of our state."
"We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote," the statement said.
California voters in 2000 passed Proposition 22 recognizing marriage as only between a man and a woman, although the issue of civil unions has been resolved legislatively and through court action.
A case challenging the state's marriage law is expected to be heard by the California Supreme Court next year. There are also two ballot measures circulating for next year that would not only ban gay marriages, but roll back many of the state's existing rights for domestic partners.
The bill's author, assemblyman Mark Leno, a democratic from San Francisco, said the governor's decision appears to be an effort to "appease the radical far right."
He said that he still hopes to convince the governor to support the bill, and would keep fighting for the issue.