Appearance scheduled as Schwarzenegger considers vetoing bill requiring gay history be added to textbooks
SAN FRANCISCO Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to headline a fundraiser for gay Republicans in Hollywood next week in what would be his first appearance in front of a gay audience since he took office, according to the event’s coordinators.
The Thursday fundraiser for Log Cabin Republicans comes as Schwarzenegger considers whether to veto a bill that would require chapters from gay history to be added to public school text books in California. The governor already has indicated he opposes the measure.
The governor’s stock has been down with gay rights groups since he vetoed a gay marriage bill in But the Log Cabin Republicans, a group for gay and lesbian GOP members that publicly parted company with President Bush after he supported a federal gay marriage ban, have stood by Schwarzenegger since they endorsed him to unseat Democrat Gray Davis during the 2003 recall.
The governor’s decision to be the keynote speaker at the $250-a-plate fundraiser is a way for him to return Log Cabin’s loyalty, said Patrick Guerrero, Log Cabin president.
“There is a better than 50-50 chance this man will be the governor of California for the next four years, and for the gay community to label somebody based on one veto is shortsighted,” Guerrero said. “We thought allowing him to address these issues in a friendly setting as well as giving him a chance to get another look at who gay and lesbian families are was important both for him and for us.”
Schwarzenegger campaign spokeswoman Julie Soderlund would not comment on the governor’s reasons for agreeing to headline the Log Cabin fundraiser, saying aides do not confirm aspects of Schwarzenegger’s schedule until the day before an event.
Although Schwarzenegger has said repeatedly that he does not have a moral objection to same-sex couples having the right to wed, he has been just as consistent that he thinks it is up to the courts or voters not lawmakers to bring about that change.
A state appeals court is set to hear oral arguments next month on a San Francisco judge’s decision striking down California’s one-man, one-woman marriage laws. Guerrero said he expects Schwarzenegger to get an earful on the topic during Log Cabin’s fundraising dinner.
“Clearly the event is one where he understands and the campaign understands this issue is not going away,” he said.
Log Cabin has not taken a position on the gay history curriculum bill on Schwarzenegger’s desk. Seth Kilbourn, political director of Equality California, the state’s largest gay rights lobbying group, said the organization still is pressing the governor to change his mind.
“We applaud the Log Cabin Republicans for working for change within the Republican Party and for the governor to speak to a gay group is a welcome thing,” Kilbourn said.
Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council, said Schwarzenegger is not at risk of losing conservative voters by speaking to a gay group if he follows through on his promise to sink the textbook bill.
“It’s no surprise with an upcoming general election Governor Schwarzenegger is looking for all the votes he can get,” Prentice said. “Any public official would be wise to listen to his constituents, but especially the majority, and I would say a family made up of a mom and a dad should have the final say on how moral issues are taught.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 23, 2006