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Veto denies Villaraigosa marriage powers

July 20, 2010 |  8:00 am

Antonio Villaraigosa will have to wait to perform weddings whenever he wants.

The Los Angeles mayor had backed legislation to bestow that power on many of California's mayors, himself included. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill Monday.

Currently, judges, members of Congress, state lawmakers and statewide elected officials may officiate at nuptials in California. But mayors can only do so when deputized by a county clerk -- and such authority comes with time limits.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) authored AB 967 to extend that power to mayors permanently. It passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously.

But Schwarzenegger said the bill wrongly distinguished between mayors of chartered cities, such as Los Angeles, and mayors of unincorporated cities, who would not be given officiating powers.

"Since there is no reason to make such a distinction..., I am unable to sign this bill," Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento