California Dems push gay rights in wake of Prop. 8 vote

SACRAMENTO — Democratic lawmakers are moving forward with legislation expanding rights and recognition for gays and lesbians in California while the state Supreme Court considers the fate of same-sex marriage.

Assembly Bill 103 by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, would allow two people, including same-sex couples, who co-own a home to avoid having their property tax reassessed and raised when one dies.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Leno plans to re-introduce legislation – vetoed last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – that would designate each May 22 as Harvey Milk Day and encourage schools to commemorate the life of the late gay-rights activist.

Leno and a fellow San Franciscan, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, also are carrying identical, nonbinding resolutions that would put the Legislature at odds with voters who last year approved Proposition 8. The measure banned same-sex marriage in California but is being challenged by opponents in the state Supreme Court.

Senate Resolution 7 and House Resolution 5 would make it official state policy that Proposition 8 was an invalid revision to the California Constitution. It would also set forth that any change to the constitution that would eliminate a fundamental right from a minority group must be passed by the Legislature before being placed on the ballot.

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