The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has surprised commentators by saying that he will oppose a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in his state.
“I will always be there to fight against that,” he was quoted as saying in San Diego at a convention of the Log Cabin Republicans – a group representing gay and lesbian interests in the Republican Party.
His comments on the drive by conservative groups to put the issue to Californian voters in November were met with cheers and a standing ovation.
Schwarzenegger added that “I think we need a constitutional amendment so that a foreign-born [person] can run for president, but not against gay marriage. That would be a total waste of time.”
President George Bush has supported a federal constitutional amendment that would bar same-sex marriage across all US states, but this has not yet received sufficient support from lawmakers to become law.
Schwarzenegger’s statement against changing his state’s constitution has raised eyebrows as he has previously vetoed legislation that would legalise same-sex unions in California. He has however supported other benefits for gays and lesbians.
The California Supreme Court is expected to rule in June on lawsuits to legalise gay marriage brought to the court by a number of same-sex couples.