Arnold Schwarzenegger's long list of past indiscretions -- including the recent revelation that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff -- shouldn't be any of our business. As long as he didn't break the law, nobody beyond his immediate family should be concerned with his private affairs. But is it too much to ask that Schwarzenegger, and other politicians who have found themselves caught up in messy family situations, extend to all Americans what they say they want for themselves: to not have others meddle in their private lives?
I am still angry at Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not because he hid a personal secret from the public and from his own family, but because he did so while working to deny thousands of California citizens the right to have legal families at all.
Sure, Schwarzenegger was not one of those politicians who regularly use inflammatory anti-gay rhetoric, but nobody in state office has done more to hold back marriage equality for more people. Despite Schwarzenegger's often gay-friendly tone, he is the only governor ever to have vetoed marriage equality legislation twice...twice! Now, Schwarzenegger wants to be known for his refusal to defend the discriminatory Proposition 8 in court. But while he was in office, he had the chance to do the right thing and failed...twice. This is what Americans should remember about Schwarzenegger's gay rights record. A friendly tone doesn't mean a thing when it's paired with hateful policies.
Schwarzenegger, despite his purported unwillingness to join the ranks of the fire breathing gay-bashing Right, has placed himself with the likes of John Ensign and Newt Gingrich on the long and growing list of GOP officials who accused gay people of ruining the institution of marriage while they themselves flouted their wedding vows.
No politician, however squeaky clean his or her personal record is, should be in the business of telling grown adults who they can love and marry, or demonizing people who are trying to achieve the financial and emotional security of marriage. But the people who make my blood boil are those who accuse gay people of harming the institutions of marriage and the family while causing real harm to their own marriages and families. These men expose the real hypocrisy behind efforts to stop gay equality. They insist that family is a personal matter and beg for privacy in their personal affairs. We should all expect -- no, demand -- that they extend that belief to their public policy when and where it really matters.
Follow Michael B. Keegan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/peoplefor