In a recent post, BoiFromTroy pointed out, while it appears “gay marriage has become the new litmus test for our community,” that “test apparently applies only to Republicans.” As soon as our Republican Governor vetoed the same-sex marriage bill, a great variety of gay activists and “leaders” attacked him, using insults usually reserved for President Bush and Karl Rove. Assemblyman Mark Leno accused that good man of being “on the wrong side of history.” Other gay people have called him “evil” and “hate-filled.”
I don’t think these activists used such harsh language to describe Bill Clinton in 1996 when, in the dead of the night, that Democrat signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Indeed, the Humans Rights Campaign (HRC) refused to rescind the endorsement it had given Clinton before he signed that bill into law. And unlike California in 2005, the American people in 1996 had not yet voted on the issue.
Indeed, when he vetoed the same-sex marriage bill, the Governor noted the popular vote, saying that he does “not believe the Legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California.” Despite this veto, he has taken, as blogger Matt Szabo put it, five steps forward for gays.
In my mind, the most significant of these “five steps” is the Governor’s unequivocal statement that he “will oppose any effort to strip gays of rights and responsibilities afforded under California’s domestic partnership laws“. As social conservatives ready a ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage and overturn the state’s domestic partnership program, the Governor has made clear where it stands. His opposition should ensure the defeat of this pernicious proposal.
In his post, Matt both notes the gay-friendly legislation that the Governor has signed, contrasting this Republican’s record on gay issues to that of Gray Davis, his Democratic predecessor. Even though Davis “vetoed just about every gay rights bill that reached his desk . . . , the gay establishment – for some reason – stuck with him.” Guess it was that (D) after his name.
Ever since HRC stuck with Bill Clinton after he signed DOMA, it has become clear that the “gay establishment” is more interested in that (D) than they are in a candidate’s stand on gay issues. While the Governor signed four (80%) of the gay-friendly bills that the legislature passed, gay activists focus only on the one that he vetoed. But, then again, they’re always looking on something to fault in Republicans.
It took guts for Ahnuld to sign those bills because, in doing so, he offended many social conservatives whose votes he will need on his reform agenda next month and for his reelection next fall. Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families found it “outrageous” that the Governor “signed other radical sexual agenda bills.” (It seems extremists on both sides are easily outraged.)
Not only is our Governor an energetic advocate of reform, he is also a courageous leader, risking alienating parts of his Republican base by signing pro-gay legislation. It’s unfortunate that the gay establishment holds him (as they hold all Republican) to a higher standard than that to which they hold Democrats.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com