Suddenly, a GOP Gov. <em>Wants</em> an Activist Judge

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Suddenly, a GOP Gov. Wants an Activist Judge

As a follow-up to Zoe's post on yesterday's vote by the California Assembly to approve same-sex marriage rights, I offer these observations.

Ever since the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the state must provide equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, we've heard numerous Republican officials blast "activist judges." These issues should be left to state legislatures, we were told.

But how times change. In April of this year, the Connecticut Legislature passed a same-sex, civil unions bill (which the governor signed into law). Suddenly, the Religious Right's ire was aimed at legislatures. Last week, as the same-sex marriage bill awaited debate in the California Assembly, an article appeared in the Los Angeles Times that included this interesting paragraph:
... the (same-sex marriage) measure faces a tougher fight in the Assembly, which defeated the proposal in June. Signaling a likely veto even if it does pass, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's spokeswoman said she preferred to let California's judges sort out the legality of gay marriage, which is currently the topic of a case on appeal.
Lest anyone think I'm being too partisan, I will properly point out that Connecticut's same-sex, civil unions bill was signed into law by a GOP governor. And several Republican governors have signed bills banning various forms of anti-gay discrimination.

So it's safe to say that the party's not congenitally opposed to equality for gay people. The problem is the willingness of most party leaders to kowtow to the bigots who make up the Religious Right. As the bill heads to Gov. Schwarzenegger's desk to be signed or vetoed, the Washington Post writes:
As a former Hollywood star, [Schwarzenegger] hails from a social milieu where gay men and women occupy key positions, and he has spoken glowingly about his friendships with people of all sexual orientations.
Yes, and, as they say, "some of my best friends are black people." I don't give a rat's ass if the Terminator happens to have a friend who's a lesbian. In one sense, I have more respect for a preacher from a rural community who tells me he has never met someone who is gay and that he believes that all gay people are immoral and that he won't befriend them for that reason.

Due to his life experiences, Schwarzenegger should know better. But knowing better isn't enough. What good is knowledge if it isn't used as a basis for one's decisions?

Stop hiding behind the courts, Governor, and sign the damn bill.

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