For a while, I considered attending the Log Cabin fundraiser tonight featuring the good governor of the Golden State, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not only would it be a chance to meet the governor and hobnob with gay Republicans, but also a sign that I was hopeful that as it picks a new leader, this ostensibly Republican organization would focus more on building bridges to the GOP than on kowtowing to the left-leaning gay leadership.
And while outgoing Log Cabin President Patrick Guerriero has done a few things in the past year to distinguish himself from the gay groups, as he prepares to take his leave from Log Cabin, he has (as I have noted repeatedly before) been bending over backwards not to offend those groups. Perhaps, by appearing with Governor Schwarzenegger tonight, Patrick will learn that no matter how positive an record a Republican has on gay issues, unless he toes the gay groups’ line (without the slightest deviaiton), he will earn their scorn. Although the governor signed a great variety of pro-gay bills — and made clear his support for the state’s pioneering domestic partnership program, gay activists hold him in contempt for vetoing a bill recognizing gay marriage in the Golden State.
And even that veto likely did more good than harm.
After the legislature passed the bill, social conservatives were gathering signatures for a state referendum which would not only ban gay marriage, but would aso overturn the state’s domestic partnership program. Given that Proposition 22 (a state referendum defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman) passed overwhelmingly in 2000, had that proposal made the Golden State’s ballot, it stood a good chance of passing.
When the Governor vetoed the gay marriage bill, he deprived the social conservatives of the impetus they needed to rally the public to their cause. No longer could they make the case to voters that the state was bypassing the people by recognizing gay marriage. As a result, they failed gather enough signatures for their gratuitous referendum; it will not be on the ballot this year.
Given all the good the Governor has done, I wanted to show my support for him tonight even though the money from tonight’s event goes not to the Governor’s campaign coffers, but to Log Cabin’s depleted treasury. And when I learned that Patrick was stepping down as head of Log Cabin, I had considered going to the dinner.
It was, however, the tone of Patrick’s response to the president’s speech earlier this month reiterating his support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage that caused me to change my mind. Instead of responding with in a responsible manner, taking issue with the president’s points (which he would have been right to do), Patrick adopted the angry tone of the national gay leaders and released a nasty, confrontational missive, eschewing civility and insulting the president.
Let me repeat: Patrick was right to crticize the president for his support of this amendment. He was wrong to adopt the tone he used in his letter. I simply cannot support an ostensibly Republican organization whose leader so shuns civil discourse, particularly when addressing the president from his own party — on an issue of such importance.
Under Patrick Guerriero’s leadership, Log Cabin has seemed more eager to attack the Republican President of the United States than to distinguish itself from the left-wing gay groups. No matter how much I like the Governor — and appreciate his leadership — I cannot then in good conscience, give money to the organization while Patrick Guerriero is still at its helm.
Given how gay groups have reacted to Governor Schwarzenegger, the leaders of this ostensibly gay Republican group should realize that these groups are more interested in attacking Republicans than in reaching any kind of consensus on gay issues. Log Cabin should be doing what it can to distinguish itself from the angry, partisan rhetoric of the national gay organizations. Instead, with a few notable exceptions, it has joined them in mean-spirited attacks on the president and has pretty much held its fire when Democrats take stands on gay issues for which the national gay leadership lambastes Republicans.
I am hopeful that the next leader of Log Cabin will be more eager to build bridges to the GOP and willing to distinguish him- (or her-) self from the national gay groups. Should Log Cabin’s board pick such an individual, I will be delighted to support the organization, rhetorically as well as financially.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com