Notes From The Banana Republic

Turns out that declining student enrollment, administration mismanagement or severe education spending cuts out of Sacramento aren't the causes of Santa Ana Unified's $29.8 million budget deficit after all. It's queers!

On March 23, the school board voted 4-1 on a three-year contract with teachers that will supposedly help stave off massive layoffs in the beleaguered district. One of the few progressive points in the deal—which calls for a four-percent pay cut and the reduction of the school year by two days—is the extension of benefits to domestic partners, a first in Orange County.

The decision came after a nine-hour board meeting marked by such uproarious gay-bashing that one teacher said the gathering seemed to have taken place inside Calvary Chapel. She wasn't too far off. Calvary's head pastor Chuck Smith reportedly alerted parishioners about the domestic-benefits provision and urged them to speak out. And speak out they did: more than 50 people lambasted domestic-partner benefits. Some teachers, such as Madison Elementary's Denise Esparza and Santa Ana High's Ernie Salgado and Emil Barnham, blamed the offering of domestic benefits for cutbacks in the district's art programs.

It was like the Scopes Monkey Trial, but without the erudition. There was scripture-quoting, actual Bible-thumping, crying, reflections on how Jesus saves lives—even a plug for The Passion of the Christ. Following is an extremely truncated synopsis of the night's finest fag-fearing quotes from several speakers:

Levi Strauss in San Francisco, about three or four years back, gave same-sex benefits to their employees, and I think it was six months ago—maybe a year ago—that they had to move all their operations overseas. I think that [domestic-partner benefits] was the straw that broke the camel's back. . . . One of the main results that could happen as a result is that gays and lesbians are going to flock to Santa Ana from all over the place. They're going to come here and be over your kids. They have an agenda, in case you don't know, and that is to indoctrinate your kids with their lifestyle and their values, and they will do it. They're going to be telling your kids that it's okay to be gay, that it's cool. . . . Matthew 18:6, Leviticus 20:13 . . . extreme wickedness . . . Peter 2:24 . . . I ask you to think of our little ones. Where are Sodom and Gomorrah? . . . Thank you, board members and [Superintendent Al] Mijares, my Christian friend, for allowing me to speak. . . . I'm here to speak about the hiring of gay teachers, which I oppose. I was born Catholic but dropped out of it. Now I'm a born-again Christian. My pastor, Chuck Smith, he informed me that you were voting on this. I don't want my children to be subject to that. And I'd like to close with John 3:16. . . . You need to repent. . . . You don't see two birds taking off, two male birds taking off to a nest. You don't see two female birds taking off to a nest. You see a male and female bird taking off to nest. If you allow this, it will lead to the devastation of our civilization. . . . Romans 2:26-27 . . . Do not allow this to pass, or we will have more homosexuals come to Santa Ana. . . . I have some facts from the Orange County health department regarding some deaths from suicides, murder and the gays, the AIDS. . . . I'm here on behalf of an authority that's higher than anyone in this room, my God Jesus Christ. All things to the King. . . . God knows how he made our bodies to function—like I wouldn't look into an Oldsmobile manual to work on a Chevy. God has a manual, and it's called the Bible. . . . If we have domestic partners, we'll have AIDS and everything else. . . . I pray that you're doing the right things, because don't let these kids go downhill. . . . One day you will be in front of Jesus, and he will ask you what you did. You better do the right thing tonight. . . . I believe that homosexuals and lesbians don't know how to read—but they should read the Bible, which teaches that God is against that. . . . I don't want my money to be taken out of my salary to benefit the gays and lesbians. . . . I'm very thankful of my pastor, who's here to support me. . . . God has destroyed two cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, along those same lines [of supporting fags]. Take that into consideration. . . . This contract does not honor God. He is looking to bless this district, and I do not believe that this district has been blessed because we do not look to God for our direction, and if we do not start making Him the center of our lives and our decisions, then we are doomed to make the same mistake over and over again. . . . A domestic partnership is like smoking—it's not good for you. . . . I wouldn't like it if my daughters see this bad example [of gay and lesbian teachers], and that in a while my daughter would marry with another woman! How sad! And then God would ask me to explain my actions. . . . Domestic partnership is a sin, and we need to see that. . . . If you want to find out how much God loves you, watch The Passion. And if you've seen the movie, read the book. . . . Nations have fallen because they've allowed homosexuals—they're not gays, they're homosexuals—and lesbians to take over. . . . Don't let Hollyweird come into Santa Ana. . . . Another gentleman spoke about the importance of love. Yes, as long as it's not love between man and man and woman and woman. . . . [Domestic benefits] will bring in more homosexual teachers for the benefits. And these teachers are going to be inflicting on my son their homosexual lifestyles—that it's okay for him to be a homosexual. And he has a brother. And if they go and they say it's okay and they get taught these feelings, that's going to rob me from being a grandfather!

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