Planned veto of gay-union law reheats debate in CA

LOS ANGELES: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R-CA) promise to veto a recently passed bill that would make California the first state to legalize same-sex marriage has reignited the PR battle over the issue among advocates.

LOS ANGELES: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R-CA) promise to veto a recently passed bill that would make California the first state to legalize same-sex marriage has reignited the PR battle over the issue among advocates.

Richard Ackerman, president of the Pro-Family Law Center, which is campaigning for a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, said he has spoken extensively to the media about the governor's decision. He said conservatives take issue with Schwarzenegger's statements that the courts should have a hand in the decision.

"In that, we are completely in a different camp," he said, adding that conservative groups are also putting their PR efforts into two amendments that would impose an outright state ban on same-sex marriage.

Although most same-sex marriage advocates admit there is little chance of the governor changing his mind, many groups still put out calls to action to encourage members to speak up. Most also say they do not want to attack the governor, but rather broadcast a broader message that they will continue to fight.

"We want to make sure people in our community know that it is not over," said Samiya Bashir, communications director at Freedom to Marry. "But we don't want folks ganging up on [the governor]."

PFLAG deputy executive director Ron Schlittler said his group put out one statement praising the legislature and another expressing exasperation at Schwarzenegger's veto. And Equality California (EQ) is working on outreach to Latin communities to position the issue as one of civil rights.

"We want to open hearts and minds, and show how this issue reflects California's communities," said Eddie Gutierrez, EQ director of communications.

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