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Put that wedding dress back in the closet

California Governor Schwarzenegger responds to crisis by vetoing gay marriage.
 
 
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I don't know about you, but given all the death, destruction, misery, racism and neglect that we're seeing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I could have used a little celebration of life and love. Say an affirmation of the rights of all people to love who they chose and their right to the same State and Federal benefits, regardless of that choice.

Governor Schwarzenegger had the chance to uplift peoples' spirits and surprise those who said he was all steroid-muscle and no backbone by signing AB849, the historic bill passed by the California legislature Tuesday that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state. But he didn't. Instead, he announced that he would veto the bill today, saying he was doing "the will of the people." Huh? Never mind if the majority of the state supports gay marriage or doesn't (polls are mixed). I thought when it came to civil rights, there was a right and wrong that went beyond the will of some prejudiced individuals.

That the legislature passed the bill at all was, as the San Francisco Chronicle points out, a triumph of conscience.

The Chronicle continues:

History is on the side of leaders with the courage to resist the political calculation of the moment to challenge the status quo on behalf of civil rights. Schwarzenegger just failed the test.

Sadly, I can't think of any nationally elected politician right now who would get a passing grade.

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.