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.
Robbie said it best when he wrote that the issues raised by this legislation:
inadvertantly illustrate the hazards of the bottomless well of identity politics – every group will want every protection under the sun based on this or that arbitrary categorization with the end result being government micromanagement of everyone’s life based on a series of perceived slights.
Instead of attempting to micromanage our lives with a vast array of allegedly pro-gay legislation, we should focus on a few basic laws, i.e., legislation guaranteeing our freedom, recognizing our unions and providing partnership benefits to same-sex state employees. This spate of legislation in the Golden State advocated by Equality California demonstrates the transformation of the gay rights’ groups into “equality” groups. The more they focus on using legislation to advance equality, the less they concern themselves with freedom as they promote legislation transfering power from from individuals, private associations and local governments to ever-expanding state bureaucracies.
The governor was right to sign SB 1441 and to veto SB 1437. Let’s hope he signs SB 1427 which, in allowing same-sex partners to file joint state tax returns, corrects an oversight in the original legislation recognizing such partnerships in the Golden State. And once each state has passed the limited legislation we need, gay groups shouldn’t turn to government to fix every problem in society, but should instead encourage gay people to work within our communities to improve our own lives — and those of family, friends and neighbors, regardless of their sexual orientation.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com