Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a likely 2014 gubernatorial candidate, said he supported the Supreme Court’s ruling that cleared the way for gay marriage in California, and said that same-sex couples should be afforded the same rights and protections as heterosexual couples.
That’s a switch in position from 2008, when Maldonado supported Prop. 8, the same-sex marriage ban approved by voters that the Supreme Court in effect reversed earlier this week. Maldonado, a Republican, said he changed his mind about gay marriage about two years ago, after a cousin revealed that he was gay.
“Deep down in my heart, what has changed is what has gone on in my family, and if two people love each other and they happen to be from the same sex, you ought to have the same thing that I am enjoying today, to love someone and to live in a happy home and to be married,” Maldonado said Thursday, over red wine and Castelvetrano olives at a downtown Los Angeles restaurant.
He said the change was also driven by his four children, ages 13 to 24, and said he suspected other politicians who have changed their views on the matter such as President Obama may also have been influenced by their children.
Maldonado said he had a “mixed record” on gay marriage while he served in the state Legislature, but noted that he had been the sole Republican to support legislation to create a day honoring Harvey Milk, the gay San Francisco supervisor who was assassinated in 1978.
“I’ve struggled with the issue because I know there are good people on both sides of the issue,” he said.
Ultimately, he said, he questioned why a same-sex marriage would “degrade” his marriage, compared to a straight person who has divorced and remarried several times.
“It’s not a change of convenience, it’s really a deep change,” he said. “Everybody has an opportunity to grow and to change their mind…. If you believe in equal protection under the law, two people who love each other should have the equal benefits I have.”
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