Schwarzenegger votes same-sex marriage bill

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through Thursday on his promise to veto a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in California, saying the issue should be decided by voters or the courts.

Schwarzenegger had announced his intention on Sept. 7, a day after the Legislature became the first in the country to approve a bill allowing gays and lesbians to wed.

Schwarzenegger said the bill by Democrat Mark Leno, a gay assemblyman from San Francisco, contradicted Proposition 22, which was approved by voters in 2000 and said only marriages between a man and woman are valid.

While a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the ban is unconstitutional, Schwarzenegger noted that the case is before a state appeals court and will likely be decided by the California Supreme Court. He said the state constitution bars the Legislature from enacting a law allowing gay marriage without another vote by the citizenry.

Eddie Gutierrez, a spokesman for Equality California, a gay rights group that supported the bill, said Schwarzenegger had merely delayed the day when gay marriage is legal, AP reports.