Thursday, September 28, 2006

Taking Advantage of our Gay-Friendly Governor

Governor Schwarzenegger announced today that he signed AB 1207 to add to the Code of Fair Campaign Practices a provision that would demand that candidates not appeal to negative prejudice of sexual orientation. The bill was authored by Assemblyman Yee and sponsored by Equality California after an almost identical piece of legislation was vetoed by Schwarzenegger last year.

While this bill certainly isn't at all a bad thing for the Gay community, don't expect it to help us. The Code of Fair Campaign Practices is a voluntary pledge that candidates may choose to sign. This pledge is a fuzzy, feel-good measure that asks candidates to remain positive and to avoid appealing to racism, sexism, and now homophobia. However, there is no provision to enforce the code. In fact, it would likely be impossible to enforce the code as many of the provisions are so very vague it would be impossible to fairly determine whether a candidate is in violation or not.

The only method of enforcement on the Code of Fair Campaign Practices can be found in the media. If a candidate appeals strongly to racism, sexism, or homophobia, regardless of whether he or she signed the pledge, the media would blast the candidate. A recent example of this is the man who once had his eye on the White House.

In short, AB 1207 won't be helping any Gay people any time soon. In fact, I really think that our friends at Equality California only sponsored the bill to put the Governor is a tough spot. If he had vetoed the bill he would have allowed Equality California the ability to claim he was a homophobic bigot. By signing the bill, he has further alienated a part of the Republican base of Christian Conservatives that Arnie needs to secure his reelection.


Gay Intern said...

Don't forget the Migen bill that he just signed which allows domestic partners to file joint state tax returns.

CaliforniaGrown said...

You are TOTALLY right. At the time when I wrote the post, though, the bill hadn't been signed yet.

I plan to write a post this weekend looking specifically at Migden's bill.