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The Golden State's gay-friendly governator

Who could have called it in 2003: Arnold Schwarzenegger, the body-building terminator who originally showcased his brutish masculinity as a campaign centerpiece and once called Democrats “girlie men,” could go down in history as California's most gay-friendly governor to date. Sure, Schwarzenegger's done more for gay men and women when he's done nothing: Though he vetoed then-Assemblyman Mark Leno's bill to legalize same-sex marriage in 2005 (legislation that was almost certainly illegal under Proposition 22), he and Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown have refused to defend Proposition 8 in federal court.

What Schwarzenegger can do next is probably the easiest call he'll have to make on equality for gays and lesbians: signing a bill that removes from the books California's official policy of, yes, "curing" homosexuals. From GLTNewsNow.com: 

With the courts still reverberating from the fallout of his gay marriage veto, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now has a chance to bind old wounds by signing a law that strips a 60-year-old piece of homophobia from state law.

“Until we change the books, California law still says the government needs to cure homosexuality,” said Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, author of the bill to repeal the law. “Can you imagine how ridiculous that is?”

The Assembly on Wednesday voted to send Lowenthal’s measure to the governor.

Assembly Bill 2199 deals with Welfare and Institutions Code Section 8050, which was written in 1950 in response to the molestation murder of 6-year-old Linda Joyce Glucoft. The old law lumped homosexuals in with child molesters and called on mental health officials to “find the causes and cures of homosexuality.”

Sure, the policy is as ignored as it is unenforceable, but Schwarzenegger should sign Lowenthal's bill. Aside from the symbolic value, California doesn't want to have the embarrassing distinction of recognizing marriages its laws say are rooted in a psychosis.

-- Paul Thornton


Comments () | Archives (7)

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SC Guy

It's time for Arnold to go. When he first came into office, he was a definite breath of fresh air after the ludicrous failings of Gray Davis and his ilk. But now Arnold is the epitome of everything that is wrong with politics. Sorry Arnold but you failed miserably and it's time to let someone else try to fix your messes.

Marco Luxe

The Governator vetoed a marriage equality bill TWICE. What a fraidy girlie man politically!!

Mitchell Young

Why the surprise? There has always been a strong body-building subculture among homosexuals. And there has always been a lot of homo-eroticism amongst body builders. Like the old Rocky Horror song goes: "If you want something visual that's not too abysmal, we can take in an old Steve Reeves movie."


He vetoed marriage equality legislation not once, but twice.

He is no 'hero' to the lgbt community.

But he is smart enough to see what is happening with marriage equality right now, and he simply does not want his legacy to be that of a George Wallace or Anita Bryant or any of the others who history now looks at unkindly.


Arnold has been around gay men for decades starting w/his mentor Joe Gold, founder of Gold's Gym. He is perfectly comfortable around gay men having been 'sponsored' by several during his early bodybuilding days.



Comfortable is not enough. The "I used to have a gay friend" defense doesn't go far these days. What the others are saying above is that we gays and lesbians will remember his cowardice while others praise him as a glbt hero. He isn't.

Arnold had his chance to show leadership and backbone in the past - and he blew it. Now he is running scared with his tail between his legs because he knows that 100 years from now, nobody will remember his name as a bodybuilder or a second-rate actor, they will remember the name Schwarzenegger as the man who advocated injustice.


More like The Golden State's Fair Weather Gay-Friendly Governator.

He presided over the state while other people did the hard work. Give him a potted plant.



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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