Equality California
Senate Judiciary Committee Passes SR 7

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February 24, 2009

Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Equality California-Sponsored Measure Opposing Prop. 8

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Resolution 7 (Leno) today, which would put the legislature on record as opposing Prop. 8 as an illegal revision to the California Constitution. Sponsored by Equality California and introduced by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the resolution calls for the invalidation of Prop. 8, which not only stripped same-sex couples of a equal protections after a slim majority vote but also usurped the legislature's role in approving fundamental revisions to the state constitution. The measure passed in a 3 to 2 vote.

"This is the first time the initiative process has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take away a fundamental freedom from a particular group, and with today's vote, it's clear that legislators have recognized the importance of weighing in when fundamental revisions to our state constitution are at stake," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "We thank Sen. Leno for his continued leadership and dedication in advocating for SR 7. It's critical that our legislature does everything in its power to help preserve the equal protections guaranteed to all Californians by the Constitution,"

"Proposition 8 undermines the fundamental right to equal protection guaranteed by the California Constitution," said Senator Leno. "Overnight, the rights of thousands of tax-paying, law-abiding Californians were stripped from them by a simple majority vote, without a prior two-thirds vote by both houses of the legislature. Singling out same-sex couples in this way, and denying them the freedom to marry, hurts families and sets a dangerous precedent for our state."

Equality California also extends its gratitude to Sen. Dean Florez (D-Fresno), who voted for SR 7 despite his past opposition to the marriage bill.

"We sincerely appreciate Sen. Florez' willingness to stand by us in helping to safeguard the core principle of our state constitution -- equal protections for all," said Alice Kessler, Government Affairs Director for EQCA.

In addition, in a letter to legislative leaders, NAACP national board chair Julian Bond and President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous urged passage of SR 7 and companion resolution HR 5 (Ammiano).

Last week Equality California brought close to 1,000 volunteers from across the state to Sacramento to meet with legislators and staff, urging them to support SR 7 and HR 5, which passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Feb. 17th. Both resolutions could be headed for a floor vote as early as Thursday.