Karen Ocamb

Schwarzenegger Opposes Antigay Marriage Initiative

Filed By Karen Ocamb | April 11, 2008 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, California Democratic Party, gay rights, John McCain, LGBT politics, Log Cabin Republicans

Whooping news: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has always referred to Prop. 22 and the "will of the people" as one of the reasons for twice vetoing the California marriage equality bills, came out against the antigay marriage constitutional amendment initiative currently in the signature-gathering stage.

Speaking before the national Log Cabin Republican Convention in San Diego April 11, Schwarzenegger was asked by LCR president Patrick Sammon about the potential ballot initiative and Schwarzenegger said he "will always be there to fight against that," gay Republican Scott Schmidt reported in his live-blogging of the event on BoiFromTroy.

Apparently it is the first time Schwarzenegger has spoken about an initiative still being circulated.

Sammon prefaced his question - whether Schwarzenegger would stand by Log Cabin if the measure made the November ballot - with a reference to the late President Ronald Reagan who publicly opposed the infamous 1978 antigay Briggs Initiative when he was governor of California.

Initially, Schmidt reported, the governor said he thought that "would never happen" and that Californians had "moved beyond" such initiatives.

Schwarzenegger, who also talked about "post-partisanship," was originally supposed to pump up presidential candidate John McCain - who supported an antigay marriage constitutional amendment measure in Arizona. Schwarenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, a famous Democrat, supports Barack Obama.

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said:

"We applaud Gov. Schwarzenegger for standing with our community as we oppose this discriminatory measure and we are thrilled that he will be there with us to 'fight against' it should it qualify for the ballot. Equality is not a partisan issue and the Governor demonstrated that with his statement today. His opposition to the Constitutional Amendment now in circulation adds to his record of supporting many LGBT issues, including signing more than 15 Equality California bills during his time in office."

Meanwhile, the California Democratic Party convention also yielded good news: the post-convention Party Platform now officially supports marriage equality.

Plank now reads:

"We support the LGBT Community in its quest for the right to legal marriage as well as the clergy's complete religious freedom to solemnize marriages in accordance with their beliefs."

The effort was lead by stalwart Stonewall and Democratic Party activist and Platform co-chair Norman Chramoff.

"It was successful because of the lack of ego involved - we all put the goal first," Chramoff told me.

In 2005, the Party passed a resolution in the consent calendar supporting civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples. But by this year, after the state legislature twice passed Leno's marriage equality bills as well as the hard work of gays and straight allies alike made the plank position more acceptable, Chramoff said.

Meanwhile, Equality for All, the coalition organized to fight the potential initiative, is still urgently looking for volunteers to help block the religious rights' well-funded paid-signature gathering campaign. The deadline for signatures to be turned into the Secretary of State for verification is April 21.

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Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | April 12, 2008 9:26 AM

It is great to see that Arnold is opposing the anti-marriage initiative. Now he needs to show some real courage by supporting marriage.

He has had two chances to show strong leadership by signing into law marriage bills that were passed by the legislature. both times he vetoed the bills and helped to continue the discrimination that gay families face on a daily basis.

This is good news. But is he finally going to get a driver's license to ride that motorcycle, or what? Then he could ride with the dykes on the bikes in the next Pride parade and REALLY show his support.

We all think Arnold privately supports marriage for same sex couples - consider the fact that his and Maria's top aides - Susan Kennedy and Daniel Zingale, respectively - are open gays in long term relationships. But saying that could have been political suicide.

Some of us have been saying for a long time that California is not as progressive as the nation thinks. Look at the shock described on HRCBackstory by a couple of HRC volunteers helping to fight this initiative in Orange County. They were met with overt hostility.

And getting the legislature to pass the marriage bill twice was also extremely difficult as the religious right and conservatives churned up hatred, threats and outlandish demonstrations in several Assembly districts - with the constant drumbeat that Prop. 22 was the "will of the people."

Hell, even the state Democratic Party did not come out officially against the proposed constitutional amendment at their recent state convention.

So this is really quite a big deal - and props to the often maligned Log Cabin Republicans for hanging in and working on Arnold "from within."

Now the ball is in John McCain's court since that campaign was counting on Arnold to put California in play for the November election.

And already old Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition has popped up again and he and James Dobson and their ilk will now focus on California to beat back the forces of evil (that wold be us) and reclaim the state they once ruled.

If this initiative qualifies - and it looks like it might - a lot of LGBT time, money and energy will go into this fight. Maybe Arnold will chip in.

I'm glad that Arnold is at least opposing a move backward, if not exactly championing a move forward. Luckily, he has something of a GOP precedent, since he can indeed cite Reagan's opposition to the Briggs Initiative.

And I hope the current initiative doesn't qualify, not only for the obvious reason, but also because it will keep the gay marriage issue in the right-wing press throughout the election, and that will affect forces at the national level.

Others may disagree, but I think that, as far as the media is concerned, it might be prudent for us to have an interval of silence for a few months. The sooner we can get gay marriage to be seen as "Oh, that old issue!" the closer we will be to getting it implemented.

I think that's a pretty darn good marriage plank for the party.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 12, 2008 9:29 PM

"It is great to see that Arnold is opposing the anti-marriage initiative. Now he needs to show some real courage by supporting marriage."

Michael, Add Obama and Hillary Clinton to your list and you may be on to something.

As for Der Gubernator, he may be eyeing Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat? She’ll be almost 80 when the next election rolls around.

Feinstein and Schwarzenegger may be in different parties but their politics are the same, which is common enough for Democrat and Republican politicians. Both are filthy rich and favor putting right wingers, usually bigoted against the GLBT communities, in the judiciary to protect the interests of the wealthy. In November 2007, Feinstein was one of only six Democrats to vote to confirm gaybasher Michael Mukasey as Attorney General. For the same reason both favor tax cuts for the rich, union busting measures like NAFTA and cuts in welfare and unemployment insurance.

Both favor the war and its goal of capturing control of key resources like oil. Feinstein voted for the war and now, like Hillary Clinton, claims she was fooled by Bush. Both are lying.*

Just last August Feinstein joined Republicans to give the government broader powers to monitor the phone calls and email messages of American citizens and was the original Democratic cosponsor of a bill to extend the anti-constitutional USA PAYTRIOT Act.

* Hillary was in the White House when Bill Clinton was lying about WMD's to justify his missle attacks and policies denying food and medicine to Iraq, which killed many children. Feinstein was personally infomred that that the WMD story was a fake by UN Arms inspector Scott Ritter.