- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2002

A California assemblyman this week withdrew a bill that would have created homosexual civil unions after traditional-family groups protested the legislation, but both sides predicted a rematch.
The bill, AB 1338, would have established legal civil unions in California, giving homosexual couples many of the same rights and protections as married couples.
The proposal also would have changed hundreds of California laws to make them include civil unions and required California to recognize out-of-state homosexual unions that are "substantially equivalent to a civil union."
Homosexual-rights groups rallied in support of the bill, which was introduced last year by state Assemblyman Paul Koretz, West Hollywood Democrat.
"It is a giant step forward to resolving the inequities and hardships gay and lesbian families suffer on a daily basis," said the California Alliance for Pride and Equality, a lead backer of the bill.
However, traditional-family groups such as Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council and Capitol Resource Institute of Sacramento denounced the bill in press conferences, rallies, and e-mail and letter campaigns.
The civil-union bill had until tomorrow to be voted on by the Assembly's Judiciary Committee. On Monday, however, Mr. Koretz withdrew the bill.
"I knew when I introduced this historic legislation that it would be a challenging, multi-year process for it to pass," Mr. Koretz said.
"I'll be here for at least five years. These [same-sex] families are here to stay. This issue is here to stay. And whether it's this year or next year, the bill will be back," he promised.
Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America, said yesterday, "We know the cultural war over same-sex unions isn't over … . But for now, this skirmish has been won."
The Koretz bill was denounced, in part, because it was introduced just months after 61 percent of California voters approved Proposition 22, which amended the state family code to say that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
"Now, in an act of absolute arrogance and disdain for voters, your elected representatives think they can arbitrarily override Prop. 22 in one fell swoop by passing civil unions," James C. Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, said in a January letter to "friends in California."
Mr. Koretz, citing testimony by legal experts, said his bill "unequivocally" did not violate Proposition 22 and "once Californians understand the details … they will embrace civil unions."
The civil union bill "is unconstitutional," State Sen. William "Pete" Knight, California Republican and author of Proposition 22, said this week.
"The voters passed Proposition 22 to prevent the legalization of same-sex 'marriage,' but this bill plays word games to skirt Prop 22 and legalize it under a different name," Mr. Knight said, adding that if the Koretz civil union bill was enacted, he would take legal action against it.

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