Arnold Schwarzenegger has until mid-October to put his pen where his mouth is on gay issues. For the second time, the California Legislature has passed a law that would make marriage in the state gender-neutral. The governor vetoed the first effort back during his more conservative phase.

The Human Rights Campaign’s Joe Solmonese warns Schwarzenegger to consider his legacy: “We urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to think about how the history books will remember this decision. He has an opportunity before him to be remembered as a courageous governor who stood up for equal treatment under the law for all families.”

San Francisco Chronicle:

For the second time in three years, the state legislature has approved a measure giving same-sex couples the right to marry in California, with [Friday’s] Senate vote split along party lines and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expected to veto the bill as he did in 2005.

“Marriage is more than just a civil contract … it is different from domestic partners, it’s just different from civil unions — it means something,” said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, who presented the bill and was also the first openly gay person to be elected to the legislature. “And because it means something, that’s why it’s been denied to us.”

The bill, AB43, is the third effort by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, to pass what he has termed a “gender-neutral marriage” bill. The act would amend the California Family Code to define marriage as a civil contract between two persons.

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