Earlier this week, when I read that the current California Legislature had “passed an unprecedented fourteen bills and one resolution sponsored by Equality California (EQCA),” I wondered if I should be as delighted as that left-wing group about the amount of pro-gay legislation. As one who favors small government, I am skeptical of this spate of supposedly pro-gay bills.
Basically, I think all the state legislature need do is pass bills recognizing same-sex unions and providing domestic partnership benefits to state employees. Beyond that, any legislation promoting gay “equality” would pretty much be at the expense of the freedom of Californians. While Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a few bills, including at least one I support, SB 1441, which prevents “says state-operated and state-funded programs from discriminating “against anyone based on their sexual orientation (among other things).” This is one law which doesn’t compromise anyone’s freedom.
While I’m averse to the government telling a private institution how to act, like Robbie (who tipped me off to the Governor’s approval of this bill), “I cannot understand how the inability of religious organizations to receive government money is an infringement on their basic constitutional freedoms.” If the religious organizations want to discriminate against gays, they remain free to do so; they just won’t get any government money.
Another bill I hope the Governor signs in SB 1827 which would allow same-sex partners to fill joint state tax returns.
Beyond that, I fear that much of the legislation enacted would only serve to increase the power of the state at the expense of the freedom of individual Californians. That’s why I think the Governor did the right thing when he vetoed SB 1437, authored by the state Senator formerly known as Zelda Gilroy, Sheila Kuehl.
Senator Kuehl’s bill would have barred discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in school textbooks. While that sounds like a noble goal, I think we should only pass legislation when there’s a compelling need to fix a problem. And unless there a California textbooks — and/or instructional materials — which paint a bad picture of gay people, there’s no need for such legislation.
Like Robbie, I fear that if enacted, this bill would “allow historical editorializing by people with a particular identity agenda.” Who would define non-discrimination? Would people who assume that merely being Republican amounts to being anti-gay (of whom there are many in the Golden State) be evaluating school curricula? Would such people be offended at educational materials promoting responsible sexual behavior as some gays (even advocates of gay marriage) believe that gay men have a more difficult time controlling their sexual urges?
If the Governor had signed the bill, it would have given greater power to state bureaucrats to monitor local curricula. And many education bureaucrats in the Golden State have a leftist political bent.