September 11, 2005

Ahnold Terminates the Principle

Five years ago California voters approved Proposition 22, stating that marriage was between a man and a woman. Earlier this year a California judge ruled that Proposition 22 violated the equal-protection clause of the state constitution. Last week the California Assembly passed legislation legalizing gay marriage by a 41-35 vote after the same bill had passed the Senate a week earlier, 21-15.

Throughout the legislative process, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger straddled the fence, evidently hoping the bill would never reach his desk and force him to make a difficult decision. He had promised to accept gay marriage if voters and the courts embraced it.

Now that the ball's in his hands, however, the terminator has been forced -- almost -- to pass, punt or take a sack.

"In Governor Schwarzenegger's personal life and work in public service, he has considered no undertaking to be more noble than the cause of civil rights," press secretary Margita Thompson said in a statement e-mailed to reporters at 5:23 p.m., less than 24 hours after the bill won final approval in the Assembly.

"He believes that gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law and should not be discriminated against based upon their relationship. He is proud that California provides the most rigorous protections in the nation for domestic partners."

"The governor believes the matter should be determined not by legislative action - which would be unconstitutional - but by court decision or another vote of the people of our state," Thompson's statement said.

As Republicans are quick to remind anyone questioning the Electoral College procedure for selecting US presidents, we live in a "representative" democracy, not a "direct" democracy, so voters don't vote on every issue, they vote on representatives.

So, let's see here... the state governor, elected by the people in a special election, believes the advancement of civil rights is a noble cause and he would accept gay marriage if only it could be done legally; a state judge has ruled that Proposition 22 violates the equal-protection clause of the California constitution; the state legislature passed a gay marriage bill -- and the quarterback punts.

Asked by The New Orwellian Times* why he didn't have the courage to act on principle, rather than Republican expediency, and to rely on the courts to overturn the legislation if in the future it was found to be legally unsound, the terminator appeared insulted.

"I am not a girly man, if that is your insinuation," Ahnold chirped, flexing his biceps. "I am decisive in that I will not decide until someone else decides first -- and you can quote my press secretary's statement on that."

Certainly California's laws are already more supportive of gay and lesbian relationships than laws of most other states. The governor may even be on strong legal ground, and an argument could be made for going either way. Perhaps he simply isn't willing to lead on this one -- or maybe he enjoys going both ways.

Told that some native-born gays and lesbians resent a foreigner vetoing their right to equal protections, however, the governator flew into a post-steroidal rage:

"Nur Minner, die reichen oder berhmten Frauen heiraten, verdienen gleichen Verbindung Schutz in Kalifornien!" (Only males who marry rich or famous females deserve equal marriage protection in California!)

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