SACRAMENTO, September 2, 2005 ( – The California Senate voted Thursday to legalize same-sex “marriage,” despite a state-wide plebiscite – Proposition 22, the Defense of Marriage Act –which the people of California had approved and therefore already decided the issue during the 2000 general election. Passage of Thursday’s measure makes California’s Senate the first legislative body in the US to approve homosexual “marriages.”

The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which redefines the civil definition of marriage as between two persons rather than a man and a woman, passed by a margin of 21-15, the minimum necessary for a motion to carry.

A similar measure failed in the Assembly in June, when the vote failed by a margin of 37-36, shy of the 41 vote majority necessary for a bill to pass. Analysts say there was only one outstanding vote that would have been in favor of same-sex “marriage.” The proposal’s chief sponsor, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), claimed, “We’re looking for three votes, and I can’t tell you today who the three will be, but I think the power of the success coming from the floor of the Senate today will give us the necessary momentum and encouragement to do what we all know is the right thing to do,” according to a Los Angeles Times report.

But Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will not sign the bill into law if it passes through the Assembly. “The governor was elected to uphold the laws of California,” claimed Schwarzenegger’s spokesman, Margita Thompson. “The people spoke when they voted in Proposition 22. It has subsequently gone to the courts and the governor believes that is where it should be decided. It’s an issue for the people and the courts.”

The text of Proposition 22 reads, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Proposition 22 was ratified by an overwhelming majority of California voters. 4,618,673 votes were cast in favor of the proposition, comprising 61.4% of the total vote.