Legislature Passes Homosexual Marriage Bill
Targeted Democrats cave...
[Chuck DeVore] 9/8/05
By the slimmest of margins in each house, 21-15 in the State Senate (21 votes
needed for passage) and 41-35 in the State Assembly (41 votes needed for passage),
the California legislature sent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger the homosexual
marriage bill, AB 849. When the governor vetoes this bill, it will cement his
reelection and start his long march back to the top of the heap in California
Assemblyman Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) first attempt at passing a homosexual
marriage bill, AB 19, failed twice on June 2, first on a 35 to 37 vote, then
on a 37 to 36 vote, as one Democrat, Alberto Torrico, flipped from voting “no” to “aye”.
Undeterred, Mr. Leno looked to a bill that had made it to the Senate, AB 849,
a bill originally about fish, and then “gutted and amended” it with
the same language as the twice-failed AB 19. His reasoning for doing so was sound.
At 25 Democrats to 15 Republicans, the State Senate is more liberal than the
State Assembly. In addition, by resorting to the little-understood “gut
and amend” parliamentary tactic, Mr. Leno outflanked many grassroots, pro-family
lobbying groups who mistakenly thought the bill was dead for the year.
DeVore represents 450,000 residents of Orange County
70th Assembly District.. He served as a Reagan White House
appointee in the Pentagon from 1986 to 1988 and was Senior
Assistant to Cong. Chris Cox. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army
National Guard. Chuck’s novel, CHINA
ATTACKS, sells internationally and has been translated
into Chinese for sales in Taiwan. [go to DeVore index]
followed was a relentless arm-twisting effort by a wealthy
and active core constituency of the Democrat Party: the
Gay Lobby. Democrat members in the Assembly who voted “no” or
who abstained were targeted day and night. Fundraising considerations
were paramount in this calculus as Democrats facing tough primaries
in gerrymandered liberal districts typically win by running to
the left of their opponents with little to worry about in the
general election. The Gay Lobby let it be known: vote against
our bill and you’ll never win another race in California
After winning passage in the Senate on September 1, AB 849 moved
over to the Assembly where it needed four more votes to pass.
Of the members who abstained or who voted “no”, most
observers thought that the venerable Assemblyman Mervyn M. Dymally,
former Lieutenant Governor and former U.S. Representative, would
be a sure “aye” vote, as his abstention previously
occurred because it was late at night and he was out of the chamber.
Where Mr. Leno would get the other three votes was of considerable
speculation, with Democrats Tom Umberg, Gloria Negrete McLeod,
and Simon Salinas, all eying State Senate races, being the most
likely to put the bill over the top.
The first targeted Democrat to speak was Mr. Umberg. Termed out
of the Assembly in 2006, Mr. Umberg faces running for a Senate
seat that is moving more towards the tossup column. Burdened
with a campaign debt in excess of one million dollars from previous
statewide runs for office as well as a spate of bad press relating
to his personal life, Mr. Umberg explained that perhaps the house
wouldn’t be having this debate if he had voted for it the
first time around instead of abstaining. Word in Orange County
is that Mr. Umberg’s turnabout on the homosexual marriage
bill has all but guaranteed him Democrat primary opposition from
O.C. Supervisor Lou Correa, a former member of the Assembly.
Assuming he survives a challenge from within his own ranks from
a moderate Democrat with a strong grassroots following, Mr. Umberg
might then face rising star Republican Assemblyman Van Tran,
who represents a large portion of the senate seat Mr. Umberg
covets. Mr. Umberg’s flip-flop probably cost him, and the
Democrats, a Senate seat in 2006.
The next lobbied Democrat to speak was Ms. Negrete McLeod. She
too said that had she voted instead of abstaining the last time,
the house would probably not have been forced to debate the issue
again. Interestingly, Ms. Negrete McLeod is running for a Senate
seat in socially conservative San Bernardino against freshman
Democrat Assemblymember Joe Baca, Jr., the son of U.S. Representative
Joe Baca (D-CA). During his time in the Assembly, Mr. Baca has
carved out for himself a moderate voting record, as has Ms. Negrete
McLeod. In this vote on the controversial issue, Mr. Baca abstained
after having voted against the measure twice before. Expect Ms.
Negrete McLeod to use her vote to raise funds while Mr. Baca
will rely on his family’s formidable political machine
to carry the day in the Senate primary race next June.
As the debate wrapped up, uncharacteristically long and philosophical
for a body that approves so many bills it barely has time to
vote on them, much less discuss them, the Speaker Pro Tem called
the roll. Within seconds the bill had 40 votes with 36 in opposition
and three abstentions (there is one vacancy). The Assembly gallery
was quiet, press cameras whirred away while television lenses
swept the floor. A few members gathered around Mr. Salinas’ desk
and urged him to be the 41st vote. He relented. There were gasps
in the gallery but one member quickly “moved the call” to
delay the tally before the Speaker Pro Tem could call it. Within
moments the call was lifted, and the Speaker tallied the votes
resulting in pandemonium as the advocates for homosexual marriage
in the gallery hooted, yelled, clapped, and cried.
As with many political actions throughout the course of history,
the winners and losers are not now obvious. When Governor Schwarzenegger
vetoes the homosexual marriage bill, however, he will galvanize
much-needed conservative support behind his soon to be announced
reelection campaign. His actions will remind conservatives that
the Governator is the only thing standing between them and the
extreme liberals who run the California State Legislature. In
the final analysis, the homosexual marriage bill will only ensure
one thing: Republican gains in California in 2006. CRO
This piece first appeared at Human Events Online
2005 Chuck DeVore