Within a day after the California Legislature approved a bill legalizing same sex marriage, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said last week that while he respects the legal protections already in place in California for gays, he would reject the bill and believes the issue should be settled in court.

“The governor believes the matter should be determined not by legislative action — which would be unconstitutional — but by court decision or another vote of the people of our state,” said Schwarzenegger’s press spokesperson, Margita Thompson. “We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote.”

Thompson was referring to a ballot measure voters overwhelmingly approved in 2000 defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That measure is now being challenged in the state’s courts.

When the Assembly passed the measure on Sept. 6, the California Legislature became the first legislative body in the U.S. to OK same-sex marriage.