Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through on his promise and vetoed legislation yesterday that would have legalized same-sex marriage...

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through on his promise and vetoed legislation yesterday that would have legalized same-sex marriage in California.

In his veto message, the Republican governor said he was rejecting the measure “because I do not believe the Legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California.” Proposition 22, an initiative passed in 2000, defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

Schwarzenegger noted that a state appeals court was considering whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional and that the California Supreme Court would likely decide the issue.

“This bill simply adds confusion to a constitutional issue,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “If the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, this bill is not necessary. If the ban is constitutional, this bill is ineffective.”

Schwarzenegger had announced his intention Sept. 7, a day after the Legislature became the first in the country to approve a bill allowing gays and lesbians to wed.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, the San Francisco Democrat who wrote the bill, said he was disappointed.

“The governor has failed his test of leadership and has missed a historic opportunity to stand up for the basic civil rights of all Californians,” Leno said.

Bare majorities in the state Assembly and Senate approved Leno’s bill.

It would take two-thirds votes in both houses to overturn the veto, and a veto hasn’t been overturned in California in more than 20 years.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.