Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a group of gay Republicans on Friday that an attempt to ban same-sex marriage by changing the state Constitution is a "total waste of time" and promised to oppose such an initiative if it qualifies for the state ballot.
Backers of the measure criticized the governor as a liberal despite his Republican Party affiliation, while supporters of same-sex marriage applauded Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger's staff said the governor, who has vetoed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in recent years, has not changed his stance on the issue but simply wants the state Supreme Court to decide the legality of current state law.
Schwarzenegger said Friday he is opposed to amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
"I will always be there to fight against that," the governor said in San Diego at the annual convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay Republican group, as the attendees erupted in loud applause.
In recent years, Schwarzenegger used Prop. 22 as the basis for vetoing a pair of bills that would have legalized same-sex marriage, arguing he would support the will of the voters. But Julie Soderlund, a spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger, said the governor's comments on Friday are not inconsistent with his vetoes.
"He has said many times ... that people have spoken on the issue. However, if the Supreme Court would overturn the decision, he would enforce the law, and he would not support a constitutional amendment to ban" same-sex marriage, she said.
Uh? So, the people have spoken, but the Supreme Court speaks louder? Or something? Really, what's the point of that? Usually Republicans are trying to prevent the courts from deciding this issue, rather than saying that the courts, rather than the legislature or the voters, must decide it.
And cue outrage from the ill-named "pro-family" groups:
"He says he'll veto legislation redefining marriage but now he says he'll fight a ballot measure protecting marriage," said Randy Thomasson, of VoteYesMarriage.com, whose amendment would revoke domestic-partnership benefits including hospital visitation, community property and child support. "He's pandering to this group."
Pandering? Come on, if he were pandering to us, he would've signed those bills instead of vetoing them!