Schwarzenegger’s Log Cabin Republicans Speech: A Lesson In Avoiding the Gays

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Last night was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s much touted speech in front of the Log Cabin Republicans — heretofor referred to as “the first time he spoke to a gay audience since taking office.” From the cheers of “Four more years!” it was clear some in the $250-per-plate audience were big fans. But that didn’t mean he didn’t face any detractors, and for good reason: while the LGR’s site Schwarzenegger’s record on GLBT issues as “extraordinary,” the truth is Arnold has voted against gay marriage and vetoed a bill to include gay and lesbian history in classroom textbooks. So what’d Schwarzenegger do? Brushed around the issue, saying very little about gay rights, except:

“In our society, we need a higher level of understanding, not a lower one. And we need an understanding of tolerance that is stronger, not weaker,” the governor said. He never mentioned his veto of the same-sex marriage bill beyond saying that he and the group might not always agree, but they share the same values.

The California Log Cabin Republicans — who call Schwarzenegger’s record on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues “extraordinary” — say the governor’s appearance shows they have made gains within California’s Republican Party seen in few other states.

“For a Republican governor to include speaking to gays and lesbians as part of a strategy for winning, that’s a historic paradigm shift,” said Jeff Bissiri, director of the Log Cabin Republicans, which hosted the $250-per-plate dinner for 350 people.

And for a gay and lesbian group of voters to open their arms to a governor who’s on the record as battling their civil rights cause is also a historic paradigm shift — against progress in gay rights.

Governor thanks gay GOP group for backing [SF Chronicle]