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The Governator will probably fulfill the prophecy of being unable to return home with his announcement today that he will veto the historic bill passed by the California Legislature last night legalizing gay marriage. The resultant fallout will enrage the liberal community, especially in Hollywood, where Arnold used to work:
Schwarzenegger said the legislation, given final approval Tuesday by lawmakers, would conflict with the intent of voters when they approved a ballot initiative five years ago. Proposition 22 prevents California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries.
"We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote," the governor's press secretary, Margita Thompson, said in a statement. "Out of respect for the will of the people, the governor will veto (the bill)."
Despite his promised veto, Schwarzenegger "believes gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law and should not be discriminated against based upon their relationship," the statement said.
"He is proud that California provides the most rigorous protections in the nation for domestic partners," it added.
The Republican governor had indicated previously that he would veto the bill, saying the debate over same-sex marriage should be decided by voters or the courts.
The veto will position Schwarzenegger between the voters and the Legislature, creating an unusual situation in the American three-part representative democracy structure. The Governor has to act in contravention of the so-called "people's branch" to defend their overwhelming desire to stop gender-neutral marriage. As I pointed out yesterday, five years ago California voters handily passed a family-law statute defining marriage as a legal status exclusive to one man and one woman. Now their representatives defied the grass-roots referendum that won by 23 points ... which demonstrates exactly how much fear and respect the electorate evokes with their elected legislators.
Small wonder that reapportionment scares them so much more than facing angry constituents.
I can understand the impulse to veto the bill; like it or not, that also qualifies as part of the democratic process. For Arnold, whose poll numbers slipped badly over the past year, this gives him a chance to champion the grass roots in California and protect people from their own representatives. His understanding of the political process leaves a lot to be desired, however, if he thinks that the question of gay marriage -- or anything else -- should get decided by the courts. That negates democracy altogether, and replaces it with a form of government that bears more resemblance to Iran than one envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
If Arnold wants to veto this bill because of his political stance on gay marriage, or a strategy to align himself closer to the voters, then he should simply say so. If he's vetoing the bill to permanently exile himself from the lunatics in Hollywood, it makes perfect sense. But if Arnold quashes the bill because he thinks that political decisions about society should get set by the judiciary, then the Governator needs to attend a few civics classes.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Arnold does the right thing, for the right reasons from Bookworm Room
I blogged yesterday about the fact that the California legislature -- ignoring the weight of human history, and the fact that, a mere 5 years ago voters sided with history -- blithely decided to legalize gay marriage in California. Arnold Schwarzeneg... [Read More]
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