Pressure Mounts for Schwarzenegger to Sign Gay Marriage Bill

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Gay rights groups in California are putting the pressure on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the same-sex marriage bill passed earlier this month by the Legislature, which he has publicly vowed to veto.

On Tuesday, Equality California, the group backing the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Leno, organized events across the state where children of same-sex partners delivered 40,000 signed postcards to the governor’s various offices in red wagons.

The postcards asked Schwarzenegger to sign the bill.

The group has also announced plans to begin running a 30-second television spot Thursday in Los Angeles and Sacramento urging Schwarzenegger to sign the bill.

According to Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, the ad cost $100,000 to produce and air and features images of civil rights figures including John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez, stating that what the governor does with the bill will define his legacy.

Against an image of former Alabama Governor George Wallace, the narrator says Schwarzenegger’s alternative is to “stand with the forces of discrimination.”

The governor has said legal considerations prevent him from signing the bill, which may conflict with Proposition 22, an anti-gay-marriage bill passed by voters in 2000. His spokeswoman said Schwarzenegger believed approval of same-sex marriage should be left to the courts or another vote of the people.

The governor’s top aides plan met with Kors and other leaders of the gay and lesbian community for 90 minutes Wednesday in Sacramento.

The governor is expected to receive the same-sex marriage bill from the Legislature on Friday and could veto it any time afterward.