Log Cabins strategize to combat voter initiatives
Gay Republican organization seeks alliance with legislators opposed to constitutional amendments
Published Thursday, 29-Sep-2005 in issue 927
The marriage equality bill and looming ballot initiatives were the hot topics at the San Diego Log Cabin Republicans meeting Monday night, where the club outlined strategies to combat proposed ballot initiatives that aim to ban same-sex marriage and eliminate domestic partnerships in California.
The local Log Cabin chapter is a member of Equality for All, a coalition of GLBT and GLBT-friendly organizations, which aims to educate San Diegans about the impact of marriage discrimination before the anti-gay initiatives make it onto the ballot as early as next June.
Chapter President Garrick Wilhelm said that because Gov. Schwarzenegger has said he will veto the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, AB 849, which arrived on his desk last Friday, the club needs to focus on the wording Schwarzenegger uses when vetoing the bill.
“We need to make sure that it is clear that his veto of the marriage equality bill is not seen as an endorsement of those initiatives [seeking to ban same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships],” Wilhelm said.
The state Log Cabin Republicans are forming an alliance comprised of members of the Republican Party who will go on record against the proposed constitutional amendments. Log Cabin is working to get Gov. Schwarzenegger to serve as chair of the alliance, and to lend his signature to the summary language opposing the initiatives on the ballot.
The chapter’s goal in the coming year is to create a dialogue with as many Republican legislators, voters and clubs as possible about the impact the amendments would have on same-sex couples and families, Wilhelm said. He added that San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister, a Republican, plans to come out against the amendments, but said the club also needs to get Republican officials like District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblymember Shirley Horton, R-Bonita, on board, who can in turn help persuade other legislators to take the same position.
“We need to be 100-percent engaged in defeating these amendments and preserve the rights we’ve gained over 30 years,” Wilhelm said.
Club members discussed the timing of the marriage equality bill’s introduction into the Legislature, and weighed the pros and cons of its historic passage through both the Senate and the Assembly. On one hand, the media blitz over the same-sex marriage debate in the last two years has helped bring the issue to the table and forced voters to consider the needs of same-sex families, and recent polling has shown that support for same-sex marriage has increased to roughly 46 percent in California. On the other hand, the passage of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and the issuance of gender-neutral marriage licenses in San Francisco and elsewhere galvanized voters in 11 states to pass constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage last November.
If Schwarzenegger were to sign AB 849 into law, it could prompt same-sex marriage opponents to flock to the polls next June to vote for the constitutional amendments and invalidate that legislation, members said. If the governor vetoes the marriage equality bill, the GLBT community may pour their efforts into defeating the proposed amendments.
Though Log Cabin Republicans officially endorse same-sex marriage, some members in the statewide organization say the passage of AB 849 earlier this month is bad timing.
“If Log Cabin was driving the bus, the marriage equality bill would not have come up this year,” Wilhelm said.
The San Diego chapter voted unanimously at the meeting to endorse Jerry Sanders for San Diego mayor in the Nov. 8 special election. Though Sanders supports civil unions over same-sex marriage and supports the Boy Scouts preferential land lease in Balboa Park, his responses to the club’s candidate questionnaire and subsequent meeting with members was positive, and earned him their endorsement. Donna Frye has not attended a Log Cabin meeting during her campaign.
Polling of 528 likely voters, conducted Aug. 27-29 by SurveyUSA for KGTV-TV, indicates Sanders leads Frye by 10 percentage points in the mayoral runoff. The survey’s margin of error is 4.3 percent.