By Steven T. Jones
I have a prediction for the new session of the California Legislature, which begins on Monday: there won't be as much anti-gay rhetoric as we sometimes hear from the social conservatives in Sacramento. Why? Because the Assembly's two remaining gay men -- John Laird from Santa Cruz and our own Mark Leno -- have risen to the chairs of two of the most powerful committee. Leno will chair the Appropriations Committee, through which most bills must pass, and Laird will chair the Budget Committee. Or as one insider told me, the word have gone out: you gotta deal with the gay guys. And that might not be easy to do if some loudmouth legislator is out there railing against the "homosexual agenda" because he thinks such nastiness plays well with his conservative constituents.
Compounding that reality will be Leno's latest bill legalizing gay marriage, which he said he will introduce on the first day of the session. Last time, the Legislature passed it only to have it vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said the issue was a matter for the courts. Then, a month later, the Court of Appeals ruled against San Francisco's effort to legalize gay marriage by saying it was a matter for the legislature. Stay tuned, folks, this could get interesting.