Schwarzenegger accused of acting inconsistently with gay rights legislation

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Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is being accused of acting inconsistently when legislating gay rights.

Equality California, the gay rights group, hailed the passage of 14 bills in 2005-06, as “breaking the record for the most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights bills ever passed by a state legislature in our nation’s history.”

When Mr Schwarzenegger signed a bill adding “sexual orientation” as a non-discrimination statute, “pro-family” groups opposing efforts to expand gay rights redoubled their efforts to flood Schwarzenegger’s office with emails and phone calls seeking vetoes of other bills.

Even though provisions requiring positive views of LGBT persons to be presented were removed, Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill this week on the grounds that it “attempts to offer vague protection when current law already provides clear protection against discrimination in our schools based on sexual orientation…”

Gay rights groups were vocally dismayed.. “Yet again, this governor has shown that he will play politics with our lives when a few extremists yell loud enough,” the executive director of Equality California told the Daily Press .

However, pro-family campaigners opposing the bills were equally unappreciative. “What about the two other sexual indoctrination bills…” said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families.

Of the seven gay rights bills still awaiting Schwarzenegger’s acceptance or rejection, the most controversial is one requiring the superintendant of state schools to develop an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination programme based on sexual orientation, and withhold state funding for schools failing to fully enforce it.

The other bills causing concern include those to create a pilot program which would encourage tolerance of those “individuals and groups that have been, and continue to be, systematically and historically marginalised;” and creating a new survey of bullying and harassment based on “race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation”. The bill would also allow domestic partners to file joint state income tax returns.

Mr Schwarzenegger appears to lean against gay rights measures involving school children, but toward those that bar discrimination or enhance equality – short of marriage – for LGBT Californians.