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The Governator dines with the Log Cabin Republicans

Arnold Schwarzenegger represents the poster child for the dilemma faced by gay-supportive Republican politicians (the few publicly out there).

I’m sure that he actually has no problem with SSM, but he cannot mention marriage without the holy rollers — the Randy Thomassons of the Golden State — coming in to destroy him. In their eyes he’s probably already suspect. He’s got polar opposite powerful groups to pander to, which is why he has a varying record on the issues.

* Last year he vetoed the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Protection Act.

* However, California has the strongest domestic partner law in the country and the right wing hates him for this.

With that in mind, he appeared at a Log Cabin event Thursday at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood and dodged the marriage question. He was heaped with praise from the LCRs, receiving the organization’s Ronald Reagan Award. Sigh. (LA Times):

In his first appearance before a gay rights group, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday acknowledged that he would continue to disagree with activists on critical issues but pledged to respect them and foster a spirit of “respect, equality and inclusion” in California.

“Whether you are gay or straight, everyone needs someone to love,” he told the crowd in Hollywood. “While we may not agree on every issue, we are united in the values of love, understanding and tolerance.”

…The governor actually spends more time during the week with two gay people — his chief of staff and his personal assistant — than with his wife, Maria Shriver. Her chief of staff, Daniel Zingale, also is gay. A former political director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, Zingale also is a close advisor to the governor.

…The speech Thursday came as the Republican governor attempted to burnish his politically moderate credentials leading up to his reelection campaign. But even with the marriage veto, Schwarzenegger is “slightly ahead of the curve” on gay rights issues compared with other politicians, including some Democratic governors, said Patrick Guerriero, national president of the Log Cabin Republicans.

“He has been very clear,” Guerriero said. “But it doesn’t mean we agree with him on everything.”

…When Schwarzenegger took the stand, the crowd chanted: “Four more years, four more years!”

Schwarzenegger told the group, which endorsed him in the 2003 recall election, “I can’t promise we will always be of the same mind, but I can promise you I will always have an open mind.”

The bible beating crowd had tried to make the Governator cancels this appearance, ratcheting up an e-mail and phone campaign, and blasted him for supporting Pride events in the state by signing a proclamation hailing them.

Campaign for Children and Families honcho Randy Thomasson was on the ready to opine about the Governator’s appearance:

“No Republican governor in California history has promoted transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality like Arnold Schwarzenegger has.”

When you think about it, gay Californians have much to be thankful for in terms of gay rights progress and its politicians (compared to gay folks in Red States), but idiots like Thomasson remind folks that there are still plenty of wingers to beat back on a regular basis.

And Schwarzenegger needs a slice of that conservative vote to win, so he tiptoes through a gay rights legislative and political mine field. His Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Phil Angelides, supports full marriage equality.

We’ll see what happens.

***

BTW, this one paragraph in the LAT article caught my eye:

The audience of about 350 people, who dined on grilled chicken and baby greens salad, couldn’t have looked more conservative: a sea of men, and some women, in blue suits. There were business owners, teachers, publicists and other professionals.

Women seem to be sparse in the LCR organization. I wonder if the powers that be have any clue why that is (or if they care). Just tossing that out there for you all to Blend about.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding