California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg Says Pro-Gay Marriage Ballot Measure Could Happen

California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg told the Sacramento Bee that since Democrats hold a super-majority in the state legislature, he would be "open" to using that power by placing a pro-gay marriage initiative on a ballot.

"Depending upon what the Supreme Court might or might not do with Proposition 8," Steinberg told the newspaper, "in coalition with stakeholders and the gay and lesbian leadership, if it were appropriate and necessary to put a repeal of Prop. 8 on the ballot with our two-thirds supermajority, I would be open to that."

Gay rights activists are undoubtedly hoping such a scenario won't play out that way.

A federal judge and federal appeals court have already found that California's Proposition 8, which banned legalized gay marriage in 2008, is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme will decide soon if it will hear an appeal from Proposition 8 supporters.

The only way a pro-gay marriage ballot measure would be necessary in California is if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses the federal appeals court's decision. That would be a huge legal blow to the progress of legalizing gay marriage across the country, not just in California.

Still, it's always good to have a Plan B, and Steinberg has certainly provided one.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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