Gay marriage activists picket Schwarzenegger’s star

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Chanting, “Sign AB 43, equal rights for you and me,” more than 200 activists marched to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday, where they left pens and urged him to sign legislation ending discrimination against gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry their partners.

The California legislature has again passed a bill (AB 43) that would give the state’s gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, but all signs point to the governor, who is set to get the legislation this week, vetoing it, just as he did a similar bill in 2005.

Although Schwarzenegger has yet to take an official stance on the bill, he has suggested on numerous occasions that he will not sign it.

According to a recent report in the San Francisco Chronicle, for instance, during an event hosted by the YMCA in February the Governor said,

“I don’t want, as the Governor, to go against the will of the people. If it goes back on the ballot, the people can make the decision.”

Schwarzenegger made similar comments during a health care news conference earlier this week, according to the Bay Area Reporter.

When asked about AB 43, Schwarzenegger again cited the “will of the people,” referring to voters who in 2000 passed Proposition 22, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Neither comment appeared to sit well with those leading Tuesday’s rally.

“Governor Schwarzenegger became famous for playing an action hero in the movies, now we’re asking him to be a hero in real life and end inequality and marriage discrimination against gay men and lesbians by signing AB 43,” Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay Lesbian Centre, said in a prepared statement.

Two co-sponsors of the bill, Assemblymembers Lloyd Levine and Mike Feuer, rallied the crowd, as did L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti and the mayor of West Hollywood, John Duran.

Chrys Hudson © 2007; All Rights Reserved.