By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl failed last week in her effort to ban discrimination against public school students and employees on the basis of sexual orientation. On June 4, the Santa Monica Democrat's bill, AB 222, fell just one vote short of the 41 needed for passage. Holding one of those votes was none other than Assemblyman Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), who joined seven others Democrats to kill the measure.The Orange County Register reported the bill was "aimed at expanding the powers of homosexuals." Exsqueeze me? How does taking steps to ensure basic civil rights for all citizens expand one's powers? It makes you wonder if the Reg would have described the landmark civil-rights legislation of the 1960s as aimed at expanding the powers of blacks. But then you recall what a racist rag the paper was back then, and you hope it was characterized that tamely.
Speaking of the Reggie, the paper quoted the Reverend Lou Sheldon crowing, "When you look at the enormous pressure brought by the liberal Democratic leadership, this is a major defeat." The Right Reverend Lou knows of enormous pressure; his Traditional Values Coalition staged demonstrations outside Correa's office and lobbied Catholic churches within the legislator's heavily Hispanic district days before the vote. There was also that full-page, homophobic advertisement the Regeroo ran calling Correa out on the vote.
Sheldon was also quoted as saying the legislation "created a division between moderate Latino Democrats and the homosexual agenda." Actually, it is Sheldon who has successfully created a division between one Latino Democrat and the rest of his party.
Clockwork can only come to one conclusion: LOU CORREA IS LOU SHELDON'S BITCH!
Abortion? School prayer? Affirmative action? From this day forward, Sheldon can easily get Correa to do his bidding by simply running divisive ads—which papers like the Reg-dog will gladly accept (cha-ching!)—and recruiting a few scary-eyed Stepford wives to join him outside the assemblyman's Santa Ana office for a media tent revival.
It makes Clockwork wonder how all those OC Democrats feel after opening their wallets for Correa a few weeks back in South County. Hell, at least with Jim Morrissey, the Republican who occupied the seat before Correa, you knew what you were getting—and you didn't have to pay for the indignity. Correa, with Clintonesque precision, will smile, gladly snatch your contribution and then toe the line for your ideological opposites, which in this case is a clan of pious assholes who'd rather see a class of people expired than enabled.
Besides the nutty, fundie, heterosexuality-or-die arguments of the Sheldonites, the cracked reasoning against bills such as Kuehl's is that legal shields for gays and lesbians are unnecessary. There are already anti-discrimination statutes in the books, some will bellow (without even knowing where those books are). One need only look at recent events in the nation's capital to see how paper-thin those protections are. President Bill Clinton nominated San Francisco businessman James C. Hormel as the ambassador to Luxembourg in October 1997. Despite a 16-2 vote of approval by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in late 1997, Hormel's appointment has been held up by one man: Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi).
Why? Because unlike most closeted conservatives, Hormel is openly gay. Otherwise, the 66-year-old, an heir to the Hormel food fortune and a former dean at the University of Chicago law school, would seem to be a dream candidate for a Republican Party that deifies the rich and powerful. And, sure enough, Washington insiders believe Hormel would cruise to victory if the full Senate could vote on the nomination. But Lott, who carries holy water for the religious Right, has done everything to prevent such a vote. Clinton was forced to bypass Senate confirmation by installing Hormel during a congressional recess; he'll serve as the first openly gay ambassador in U.S. history through the end of the president's term.
To demonstrate the heights of their desperation, the ultra-right-wing Family Research Council issued a statement claiming that Clinton gave Hormel "a government-sanctioned platform" to "advance the gay agenda." Yeah, you don't know iron-fisted power until you've tussled with the ambassador to Luxembourg.
Say, perhaps after Sheldon is done having his way with Correa in California, he can send the assemblyman to Luxembourg to thwart that advancing gay agenda.