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perez.JPGAssembly Speaker John A. Pérez said he feels it's important that he not ignore a common question included on biographies for state legislators that asks about marital status. In new handbook directories for the California State Assembly, Pérez said he answered the question so that it reflects the unequal marriage rights afforded to gay and lesbian people.

Under marital status, Pérez wrote "constitutionally prohibited."

"If it is important enough to have driven a ballot measure, it's important enough to be reflected in the record of who serves in this house," said Pérez, the Assembly's first openly gay speaker.

Two Assembly members, Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, included their same-sex spouses in their biographies. Both were married in California in 2008, before passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages.

Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, included her partner's name.

"The reality is that I, as well as a handful of other people in this body and a lot of other people in this state, are denied the constitution rights afforded to the vast majority of people," Pérez said.

The U.S,.Supreme Court took up a case challenging Proposition 8 and could make a ruling next month. In February, Pérez joined 22 legal scholars from across the nation to file an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles speaks at the Sacramento Press Club on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in Sacramento. Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee


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