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Karen Ocamb

Karen Ocamb

Posted: April 19, 2008 11:34 AM

Gov. Schwarzenegger Opposes Antigay Marriage Initiative


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.

The 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.