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The Golden State's gay-friendly governator

August 26, 2010 |  9:57 am

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

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