A few days ago, when I opened the latest issue of The Advocate, I was delighted to see a letter from Editor-in-Chief Anne Stockwell, headlined, “Our New Hero . . . Arnold?” I had assumed it would be a balanced piece, noting that despite Governor Schwarenegger’s veto of gay marriage, he had compiled a pretty decent record on issues, signing a number of bills (many endorsed by the left-leaning gay advocacy group, Equality California) designed to benefit gay people.
In her piece, however, Ms. Stockwell mentions none of those bills, nor even references the Governor’s strong support for the state’s landmark domestic partnership program.
Instead, seething with contempt for the President of the United States, she faults the Bush Administration for holding that the new federal energy law prevents states from enacting their own fuel-efficiency regulations. And she commends the Golden State’s Republican governor for daring to defy this order. Commending him not for his record on gay issues, but for standing up to the Bush Administration. On a non-gay issue.
For this, Stockwell writes, “On this issue, at this moment, it behooves us to kiss and make up with Arnold.” Making up with Arnold because he’s defying George W. Bush.
I guess we know what’s really important to this magazine which styles itself as a voice of the gay and lesbian community.
And it’s not just conservatives taking note of the Advocate‘s agenda. A liberal reader wrote in*:
All these years of reading The Advocate, I assumed it was a magazine devoted to gay and lesbian issues. Now you seem to indicate that the main focus is to be the environment?? Get real!!!
Actually, the main focus (at least of the opinion writers)for the past few years, has been criticizing the Bush Administration and Republicans while heralding those in the entertain industry who also engage in Bush-bashing. I mean, Bill Maher as their 2006 Man of the Year, a year when unheralded activists in Arizona actually accomplished something to benefit gay people (defeating a state initiative banning gay marriage and civil unions). George Clooney as their cover boy?
Both men are known for their vitriolic anti-Bush comments, rhetoric similar to the language of Ms. Stockwell’s post.
If the Advocate is to be serious about advocating for the gay people, then its editors need to stop saluting public figures merely because they take on the president and his Administration. And they need to start honoring those people working hard to improve the lives of gay men and lesbians, particularly those individuals who don’t gain much recognition for their efforts.
That would include such Democrats as Arizona state representative Kyrsten Sinema who led the 2006 campaign to defeat her state’s proposal to deny recognition of same-sex couples. And such prominent Republicans as Arnold Schwarzenegger, but not for his stance on global warming, but instead for signing a raft of pro-gay legislation. And even the Vice-President of the United States who publicly opposed the President Bush on just one issue since he was tapped as his running mate, a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage.
While Ms. Stockwell may disagree with Vice-President Cheney on other issues, he has spoken out on behalf of gay people. And isn’t that what her magazine is supposed to be doing? Advocating for gay men and lesbians?
*When I searched for “Our New Hero . . . Arnold?” through the search engine on the magazine’s website, I came up with this letter, but not the article.
UPDATE: Via James Vaughn of Log Cabin notes that the Governor signed all the legislation Log Cabin supported (except marriage) and even backed a bill they were opposed and two on which they were neutral. Here’s their Golden State legislative scorecard. But, this pro-gay record is not what Ms. Stockwell finds praiseworthy.