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Meg Whitman’s Slap

Jim Burroway

September 29th, 2009

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is seeking to become the GOP nominee for California governor. Hank Plante of KPIX/CBS 5 in San Francisco interviewed interviewed her about her opposition to marriage equality. She said:

“So as you know I am pro-civil union and not for gay marriage. And just for me, that term marriage, for me needs to be between a man and a woman…I do not feel it is a slap in the face [to millions of gay and lesbian Americans].”

Whatever Whitman may wish to believe, I think we can all agree that the recipient of a slap is in the best position to judge whether he or she was slapped or not.

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Timothy Kincaid
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

I am not a Whitman supporter. However:

Whitman’s position on same-sex couple recognition appears to be identical to that of President Obama’s.

And perhaps it provides context to note that she did not volunteer the “slap” comments but was, rather, responding to a direct question: “Do you feel like [your support for Prop 8] is a slap in the face for millions of LGBT people in the state?” (Whitman “supported” Prop 8, but did not campaign or engage in other supportive efforts)

Additionally (and perhaps inconsistently), Whitman supported recognizing the 18,000 or so same-sex couples who married before Prop 8.

Whitman is not a gay advocate. But I am disheartened by what appears to be an attempt by other gay sites (not BTB) to paint her as an enemy of our community. That is not an accurate reflection of her corporate policies or of her public statements and reeks, to me, of crass partisanship of the worst sort.

I am unlikely to advocate for Whitman’s election. But it should be noted that if she is elected, her position on same-sex couples would be, after Schwarzenegger, the second most supportive of any governor of the state to date of any party.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

But I am disheartened by what appears to be an attempt by other gay sites (not BTB) to paint her as an enemy of our community.

Timothy:

I think you have a good point, but I am not sure i completely agree with it. Here is why:

1. She supported Prop 8. Whether she campaigned or not for it, she expressed support for gay Californians to be taken away their right to marry. She might have expressed support for the ones who already marry, like: Well, since you already committed the offense, I’ll just let it pass this time and let you off on probation

2. She supports the separate but equal view that many people seem to find like a good compromise. I wonder how she would be viewed if she applied the same idea to her employees.

That is not an accurate reflection of her corporate policies or of her public statements and reeks, to me, of crass partisanship of the worst sort.

Now, are we talking about HER corporate policies or eBay’s? There is a difference. She might be the CEO of eBay, but it is the board who establishes policy. Besides, she knows that to be competitive eBay needs progressive policies and obviously the board has recognized this as well. Who was the one who actually established ebay’s corporate policies, was it her?

I do not want to give her less credit than she deserves; as the CEO, she does have the power to shepherd policies that she likes, but who shepherd this one?

Lastly, her public statements could be described as indifference towards the gay community and our rights. I find it difficult to describe any attacks as partisan of the worse sort, given the fact that she does no believe that I should have the same rights that she enjoys, and has publicly supported the removal of those rights by mob rule.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Lemme add one more point. I believe that anyone who says: well, I do not support you, I do not believe that you should have the same rights as you, I will support any initiative to take rights away from you; but I will still tolerate you is a hypocrite. I would rather see the intolerance of Pat Robertson because at least I know where he stands.

People like Whitman are not enemies and not supporters, which means that their indifference to my rights comes from a perspective that they are somehow better than me because they are heterosexual.

Saying that they do not believe that we should all enjoy the same rights and that therefore separate but equal is a good compromise is not being supportive. Anyone who expresses this believe could move to the other side of the fence at any moment and in turn support a constitutional amendment that will guarantee that the gay population is reminded of their special heterosexual status while at the same time giving us the privilege of eating the crumbs that fall from their table.

Sorry to be such a bitch, but I stopped apologizing for being gay and I do not play 2nd fiddle to anyone.

Dennis
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t know enough about Whitman to say if I will support her for Governor of California, but the slap I feel from her on the issue of full civil rights for gay Californians has the same sting as the one delivered by Schwartzenegger and by Obama on the National level.

I really don’t care about their ‘personal beliefs’ but I do care about the social justice policies they support.

The debate about gay marriage is about our standing in America. As long as the law identifies us as a separate group with different rights we do not have full standing. I don’t care about changing the attitudes of all Americans but I want full standing in this society

Timothy Kincaid
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Dennis,

Are you aware that Schwarzenegger supported the court’s decision to legalize marriage and opposed Proposition 8? Are you aware that he refused, as governor, to defend Prop 8 in the latest legal challenge?

Lindoro Almaviva
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Tim:

I’ll do you a better one:

Did you know that there was a bill legalizing same sex marriage sent to his desk at least once and he refused to sign it?

That does not diminish his support for full equality that the governator has given us, but it will be the stain in his shirt that will not go away. Gay CA residents could have had full marriage equality 1-2 years before they were granted it by the courts and the governator did not have the balls to sign the bill.

occono
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Well that was in violation of Prop 22., Lindoro. The California Constitution states that Statutes that are passed by Ballot Initiative can’t be overridden or nullified by the Legislature unless the Statute allows them to, which 22 didn’t.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

No it wasn’t because the legislature sent him a bill for marriage equality before the Supreme court established marriage equality and way before prop H8.

His reasoning for vetoing the bill was because he wanted the courts to decide the case; and then came Prop H8.

Ken in Riverside
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

The statement is the best we could expect from a serious GOP candidate. What a pity. I suppose even supporting the status-quo (opposite marriage + domestic partnerships) is an advancement in their platform.

After reading this article, her position seems to be pro-equality. One might characterize it as “government shouldn’t be in the marriage business; domestic partnerships for all.” Which, as a thought experiment, is all fine and good. But since that’s politically off the table, how is it not immediately obvious to her that separate-but-kind-of-equal is a slap in the face?

henri lemonnier
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

I know that Meg Whitman is an intelligent woman, but it seems that she has trouble separating the concept of religious marriage from civil marriage. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion that a religious marriage should be between one man and one woman. But asserting the same for civil marriage is advocating discrimination since it implies that same sex couples are not entitled to the same benefits as opposite sex couples.

Burr
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

That’s just an utterly mentally stunted statement. Like Jim said, it’s not her call. She shouldn’t have said that. It’s just arrogant to dictate our feelings to us.

I’m so tired of the “defend the term” argument. It’s a stupid one. Gays are going to call each other married whether its in the law or now, and the word will be “degraded” in meaning all the same. Government’s role is to protect TANGIBLE RIGHTS, not contemporary definitions of words.

occono
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Linoro, I’m not talking about Prop 8 in that post, I was talking about Prop 22. The Marriage Equality Bill he vetoed would have been unconstitutional because of 22., which the legislature wasn’t constitutionally allowed to override.

Timothy Kincaid
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Did you know that there was a bill legalizing same sex marriage sent to his desk at least once and he refused to sign it?

Yes, I do. And I know why

Gay CA residents could have had full marriage equality 1-2 years before they were granted it by the courts and the governator did not have the balls to sign the bill.

No, that isn’t correct. And this is not a matter of opinion or speculation.

Schwarzenegger vetoed the legislation because he believed it was in conflict with Prop 22. He said the road to marriage was through the courts but that he could not sign legislation that was unconstitutional by being a legislative attempt to overturn citizen initiated law.

Some gay leaders claimed that he was wrong and that the bills did not violate Prop 22 because it applied only to out-of-state marriages. However, had he signed the bills, they would have immediately been challenged and stayed until the court decided.

And the court did decide.

As part of In Re Marriages, the courts found that the ban on marriage was unconstitutional. However, they also found that the legislature’s marriage bills would have been in violation of 2000′s ballot initiative Prop 22.

As already noted, it is clear that section 300 in itself limits marriages performed in California to opposite-sex couples, but the proper interpretation of section 308.5 nonetheless is quite significant because, unlike section 300, section 308.5 is an initiative statute — a measure that, under the provisions of article II, section 10, subdivision (c) of the California Constitution, cannot be modified by the Legislature without submitting the proposed modification to a vote of the people.

For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that in light of both the language and the purpose of section 308.5, this provision reasonably must be interpreted to apply both to marriages performed in California and those performed in other jurisdictions.

In other words, Schwarzenegger was right on both counts and there would not have been marriage one day sooner had he signed rather than vetoed.

(Nevertheless, in retrospect I wish he had signed as a symbol of support even if legally it was irrelevant).

Timothy Kincaid
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Ken

The statement is the best we could expect from a serious GOP candidate. What a pity.

One might suppose so but in this case we could expect much better.

Tom Campbell is also a Republican candidate for governor. A week before the election he wrote an editorial in Reason Online in which he argued that Republicans should reject Prop 8.

Campbell seems to be doing about as well in the polls as either Whitman or Poizner, or at least the ones I could find. As the 2000 Republican Senate Nominee against Diane Feinstein he has some name recognition.

Dennis
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Of course Arnold did not challenge the court decision and at the last minute, did support Prop 8. The game changed when the elected Democrat State Attorney General Jerry Brown got out in front and made his/California’s position very clear. Arnold was not stupid enough to fight that one in the public forum. What he did not do was speak out early and often in support of our Equal Rights. He is no supporter.

Ben in Oakland
September 29th, 2009 | LINK

Arnold promised to campaign against prop 8, but did nothing of the sort. In fact, the week before the election, he managed to be out of the state.

There is not a single republican I can think of that I could vote for, with hte possible exception of Tom Campbell and Jerry Sanders– and that would be only in case the democrat was a total douche.

Unfortunately, I can think of very few dems that I could give my whole-hearted support to, either.

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