LOS ANGELES - Today Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 849, an important bill that would end the discriminatory exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage in California.

Schwarzenegger has said "gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law." But without the protections provided in the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Protection Act, Schwarzenegger has unfairly denied hundreds of thousands of people in California the dignity and protections of marriage.

The Governor can't have it both ways. Instead of perpetuating discrimination and cowering to the special interests of a few extremist groups, the Governor should ensure that all Californians are treated fairly and work to strengthen the freedoms and liberties of everyone.

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