Jokes About Same-Sex 'Marriage' Offend Both Sides

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, joked about getting a "gay marriage" license this week, but a conservative group is not laughing.

Likewise, New York Gov. George Pataki, also a Republican, jokingly told a state senator this week, "I don't mind making love to you. Just don't ask me to marry you." The American Civil Liberties Union, a proponent of same-sex marriage, said it was offended by that exchange.

In California, the Campaign for California families said fellow conservatives should let Gov. Schwarzenegger know they want him to oppose a same-sex "marriage" bill making its way through the state legislature.

The California Assembly's Judiciary Committee passed the bill -- AB 1967 -- by an 8-3 party-line vote on Tuesday.

The Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Assemblyman Mark Leno (an openly homosexual Democrat), would define marriage as a contract between 'two people' rather than a contract between 'a man and a woman.'

It is the first time an American legislative committee has passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples get marriage licenses, critics said.

Conservatives are upset that Gov. Schwarzenegger has not opposed the bill. Instead he joked about the issue.

According to press reports, at a charity event on Monday, Schwarzenegger thanked a state senator for helping him out on a workers' compensation issue. "In fact, we've been spending so much time together that Mayor Newsom in San Francisco wants to give us a marriage license," Schwarzenegger told the crowd. "That should drive the Republicans crazy."

"If Arnold's comments making light of the sacred institution of marriage are of concern or angering to you, and you want him to take a strong stand against AB 1967 -- he needs to hear from you now," said Randy Thomasson, executive director of the Campaign for California Families.

"Tell the governor that attacks on marriage won't be tolerated and to stay true to his own party's platform that marriage is only between one man and one woman. Urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to end his silence about this bill and publicly announced that AB 1967 is 'dead meat' if it reaches his desk," Thomassson said in a press release.

"Tell him the 'people's governor' should not joke about the sacred institution of marriage, but rather uphold the vote of 4.6 million California voters who already spoke out clearly on this issue."

Schwarzenegger has said he opposes homosexual "marriage," but he supports domestic partnerships. He also has said he would be "fine" with same-sex marriage if California voters approve it; and he said he opposes a proposed constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriage.

"Let the court decide," Schwarzenegger told "Tonight" show host Jay Leno on March 1. "Let the people decide. The people have voted just in the last election on Proposition 22. They voted very clearly that marriage is only between a man and woman. That's the law, so we have to abide by the law."

Conservatives agree with Schwarzenegger on that point: "AB 1967 utterly rejects the vote of the people," Randy Thomasson said, referring to the vote on Prop 22 four years ago.

ACLU not laughing, either

In New York, the American Civil Liberties Union took offense at some recent banter between Gov. George Pataki and New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

According to a report on, the two men joked about the state of their "partnership" at the opening of a Hudson Valley power plant on Wednesday.

Bruno remarked that "like all good partners," the two politicians manage to get along by kissing, making up and making love.

"I don't mind making love to you," Gov. George Pataki jokingly responded to Bruno. "Just don't ask me to marry you."

"Gov. Geroge Pataki was way out of line in his disparaging comments about same-sex marriage," Matt Coles, director of the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, said in a statement, as quoted by the Advocate.

"The governor may think it's funny that he can't marry Senator Bruno, but after he stops laughing he can go home to his wife. The joke isn't so funny for people who get turned away when their partners are in emergency rooms...or to people who pay for 'family' insurance but can't include the love of their lives...or for all the same-sex couples whose relationships are disrespected every day.

"The governor should let everybody in on the joke by taking a stand for marriage for same-sex couples."

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