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Schwarzenegger Clarifies His Thinking on Marriage Decision

Timothy Kincaid

May 20th, 2008

about_arnold_img-2.jpg We have become accustomed to hearing our elected officials speak a specific language, one utilized by bureaucrats and designed to have no specific meaning. This allows them to sound authoritative (or compassionate or informed) without being held accountable for their positions.

So it can be refreshing when a politician says something directely, clearly, and in language we all speak and understand. I believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger did just that in explaining his response to the California Supreme Court decision to invalidate state law that restricts marriage to opposite sex couples.

From the San Francisco Chronicle

“First, I have always said that for me, marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.

Then he added: “But I don’t want to make everyone else go in that direction.”

Schwarzenegger said he vetoed same-sex marriage legislation because he felt the Legislature shouldn’t override voter-approved Proposition 22, which had defined marriage as between a man and a woman and was nullified by the high court on Thursday.

However, the governor said he doesn’t necessarily feel the same when it comes to the Supreme Court overturning a statute enacted by a voter initiative.

“When the people vote, people are not legal experts, constitutional experts or any of that,” he said. “I think that’s why we have the courts. People may vote with good intentions, but then the court says, ‘This is not constitutional.’

“It’s not that the court interferes with the will of the people,” he added. “But the court says, ‘You voted for something, but it’s not constitutionally right, so let’s rework this.’ That’s really the idea.”

Oddly enough, that makes sense to me.

Perhaps this is not the most elequent statement, but it is a statement that I think can appeal to the average Californian. And I’m glad to hear it from our governor.



Emily K
May 20th, 2008 | LINK

Huzzah for the Governator.

May 20th, 2008 | LINK

Good statement about the court’s place in making decisions on legislated or majority opinions.

I hope Arnold will still stand by his statement that he’s opposed to a constitutional amendment, though.

L. Junius Brutus
May 20th, 2008 | LINK

I’ve always liked Arnold. He was right to veto the marriage bills IMO, the legislature trying to overrule a vote of the people would have sparked a backlash. And he signed many bills that improved the lives of gays in California. He did what he could to help us, which is more than we can say of someone like John McCain.

May 20th, 2008 | LINK

I think the Governor’s reasoning is sound. I grudgingly agree that he did the right thing when he vetoed the legislature’s two attempts to overrule Prop 22.

I also believe that the CA Supreme Court did the right thing and explained itself well in the concurring opinions.

Hopefully the Governator will take more than a passing roll in the campaign to kill this amendment.

Arnold’s legacy is being established right now. He can go down as a hero of fairness, justice and equality in the line of Kennedy and Johnson or he can be remembered (in spite of all the GLBT supportive laws that he signed) as of a George Wallace, standing in the doorway blocking the inevitable progress of minority rights based on his two vetoes.

The slate is now clean for him.

He holds the tools to write his own legacy. I hope he realizes this and takes full advantage of it.

If he works to successfully beat this amendment he may be shunned by the far right of the Republican Party for a few years but he will FOREVER be remembered as a civil rights hero in the history books.

I bet George Wallace would give anything to have another chance at writing his legacy.

Emily K
May 20th, 2008 | LINK

I have to say, he’s my favorite republican. More republicans should be like him. He actually seems to care about republican values – the kind Lincoln cared about.

Jason D
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

wow. Normally I find myself very unimpressed with Ahnold. He was the one who said, “Don’t be economic girlie-men!” However, I agree with the other posters, this is very simple, straightforward, and supportive.

“First, I have always said that for me, marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.

Then he added: “But I don’t want to make everyone else go in that direction.”

Wow, someone who understands that two ideas about marriage can co-exist?! A Republican who’s not personally offended by the existence of gay couples to the point of fearing for an evolving institution?! The sky is falling!

In all seriousness, I hope these words get repeated over and over again, because he’s the sort of charismatic person who can change minds. After all, if The Terminator, the dude who fought the Predator, Conan the Barbarian, if that guy doesn’t have a problem with gays —then perhaps his fan base will follow suit.

Perry Hoffman
May 21st, 2008 | LINK

Thank you for getting the information out !

May 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Good for Schwarzenegger for his reasonable statement here. It’s a shame that so many people don’t seem to grasp the basic structure of our system of government (or the details of the CA Supreme Court’s ruling) as well as he does.

I can’t help mentioning that I’m put off by the generic attack on “beaurocrats” [sic] at the head of the piece. It doesn’t really add anything to this post (other than to remind us yet again of Timothy’s cranky conservative bona fides, I guess) and it contributes to a slightly condescending tone of “it’s got to be simple for the simple folk to get it” that just isn’t very appealing. Isn’t it possible to praise a politician for speaking sensibly and clearly without an irrelevant and unsupported attack on a boogeyman?

Timothy Kincaid
May 22nd, 2008 | LINK


This cranky conservative thanks you for the spelling correction :)

But my posting had two points: that Schwarzenegger spoke plainly and in a way that makes sense, and that such speaking is rare and refreshing.

It’s not about being simple for the simple folk. It’s about setting aside the double-speak, the ambiguous terms, that words that can have a different meaning if the political winds change.

Arnold is not by any definition eloquent. And I am absolutely sure that many many other people could have said the same thing, with the same clarity, but using elegant phrasing and cultured tones.

But my point is that they didn’t. And they don’t.

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