Equality, Pure & Simple

We interrupt the mundane details of my life with historic news from Sacramento: The State Assembly passed, by zero margin, AB 849, which legalizes gay marriage in California. This marks the first time in North America that a legislature has granted equal marriage rights without a court order. Consistent with my view of California as The Greatest State in the Union, I have to consciously keep myself from jumping up and down in joy over this. The old adage is true: as California goes, so goes the rest of the country. This time we were beaten to the punch by Massachusetts, but that was a court-ordered scenario. I’m unspeakably proud of my Senator, Martha Escutia, and Assemblyman, Ron Calderon, both of whom voted ‘aye’ on the measure.

Do I think this is the final word? No. I know it’s not. Schwarzenegger, in keeping with his penchant to do both the wrong and the unpopular thing whenever possible, will probably veto it. And there’s the CA Supreme Court case that has yet to be decided, as well as two measures that are trying to get on the ballot to ban equal marriage rights.

But I do think this is the straw that will break the camel’s back. This will energize LGBT activists to do the same elsewhere, and intensify efforts here to keep the Legislature’s decision upheld. And I do think this will be the end of Schwarzenegger’s career. Why? He’s in a real catch-22 situation. If he signs the bill, his GOP support will evaporate and he’ll lose the Republican nomination for Governor next time around. If he vetos the bill, any and all support he still enjoys from Democrats (which ain’t much; his approval rating here is like 35%) will evaporate instantly, and he won’t be able to get anything done at all while he remains in office. Because in California, you need the Democrats on board, or at least not violently opposed, to get anything done. All our efforts will be poured into making his life hell. Let’s face it, he’s the lone Republican in statewide office in California. Lieutenant Governer Bermudez makes a living giving Arnie the finger. Attorney General Lockyer makes a living suing to prevent Arnie’s dreams from being realized. If he signs it or if he doesn’t, Schwarzenegger’s support evaporates, and he’s out of a job at the next election. The Republicans will be divided on who to support, and Democrats will be energized to get a Dem in office to spank the Republicans, and lo and behold, a Democrat sits in the Governor’s Mansion and signs the marriage equality bill when it passes the next sitting of the Legislature.

God Bless California

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