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Prop. 8: Sacramento lawmakers denounce decision

May 26, 2009 | 12:15 pm

In Sacramento, more than a dozen state lawmakers held a news conference where they reacted with anger to the court decision but vowed to overturn Proposition 8 with another ballot measure next year.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) denounced the court and its decision.

"They really seemed to have abandoned all moral compass around this issue," said Ammiano, who is gay. "Politically, I have hope. Personally, I am very distressed. I don’t like being a second-class citizen."

He was not sure whether the Legislature would put a measure on the ballot or whether it would be done by a petition drive.

"If they want a fight, they are going to get a fight," he added.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who is also gay, called the decision "a very painful moment."

"The California Supreme Court is retreating to the dark and discriminatory days of the 20th century," Leno said. "This is a great stain on this court and it is a decision that history will not look kindly on."

He said the issue will be back on the ballot next year, "and we will prevail.’’

Leno said the court decision sends the message that "minorities do not matter.’’

"This is an assault on our constitutional democracy," Leno said.

He asked people who take to the streets to protest the court decision to act "peacefully and nonviolently.’’

Assemblyman John Perez (D-Los Angeles), who is gay, said he looks forward to having the issue put to another vote.

"As disappointed as I am with the Supreme Court’s decision with respect to Proposition 8, it is one moment in a larger struggle and I don’t feel deterred today,’’ Perez said.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacrament) said he feels "real disappointment’’ in the court’s decision.

“I view today’s decision by the California Supreme Court as a temporary setback for the cause of equality for all people,’’ Steinberg said. "History shows us that prejudice and inequality diminish with time and struggle, and so it will be the case with marriage freedom."

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) also felt a marriage-equality law would eventually pass.

"Today is a setback for equality in California, but it will not be the end of the story,’’ Bass said in a statement read at the news conference.

-- Patrick McGreevy