Gavin Newsom "is a terrific mayor," said Arnold Schwarzenegger on Meet the Press yesterday as he tried to minimize the homosexual marriage flap in San Francisco.
It is no wonder Newsom can say that he feels "no anxiety" about his blatant violation of California law. In an interview with the Associated Press, Newsom revealed that some of the politicians condemning his issuance of marriage certificates to homosexuals are privately rooting for him. They "are telling me one thing and saying another publicly," he said.
To the extent that Newsom is criticized, it is not for a legal or moral transgression, just a political one. The Barney Franks and Barbara Boxers want to ease the American people into homosexual marriage a little bit more slowly. So for now they have to feign concern about Newsom's move, lest bad publicity push back their timetable for homosexual marriage. But if Boxer or Dianne Feinstein were asked -- so you are henceforth opposed to homosexual marriage as a matter of principle? -- they would punt, just as Schwarzenegger did when Tim Russert asked him if he would veto homosexual marriage legislation in Sacramento.
But has Newsom even made a political mistake? If he can openly break the law and still be called a "terrific mayor" by the governor, it would appear that he is more in political control of the issue than the state. What would have once landed Newsom in jail now lands him on front pages as a champion of "constitutional rights."
For San Francisco politicians, breaking the law is always a good career move. Recent San Francisco district attorney (until last year) Terence Hallinan is a former felon. The California State Bar didn't even want him to become a lawyer, but relented after Willie Brown and cronies vouched for his "good moral character." Hallinan had racked up various crimes as a Haight-Ashbury hooligan -- beating up Coast guardsmen, slugging a Sierra ski-lodge owner, protesting the police -- but it didn't matter in San Francisco. Hallinan won election to the city's chief law enforcement post on an anti-cop, pro-criminal platform. He disparaged his opponent in the DA's race for having "an approach to the criminal justice system [of] trying [criminals], convicting them, and sending them to prison." Then shortly after entering office, DA Hallinan got into a fight with a real estate developer at a steak n' chops restaurant in the Marina District. "Blow-by-Blow Description of DA's Tussle," said the local paper.
San Francisco is liberalism in its most vivid form. It takes liberalism and unfolds it to all of its logical conclusions. Consequently, it makes Democrats, always trying to pass off radical liberal policies as "moderate," uncomfortable. They don't want Americans to see too clearly the real character of liberalism as lawlessness writ large.
IT IS FASHIONABLE AMONGST both Democrats and some Republicans to oppose homosexual marriage while loudly supporting "civil unions." As if that would solve the controversy. It hasn't solved the controversy in California. Under Gray Davis, California instituted sweeping domestic partnership legislation. Did that lessen calls for homosexual marriage? No, it strengthened them. Civil unions will not make the drive for homosexual marriage grind to a halt; they will accelerate it. San Francisco is proof that domestic partnerships lead to homosexual marriage, and that the movement is not fundamentally about benefits but about an agitation for cultural approval which will not rest until it is total.
By driving the debate so far to the left, activists like Gavin Newsom pull the "moderate" position toward them. This year's moderate position looks like last year's radical one.
The politicians publicly criticizing Newsom while privately patting him on the back understand that civil unions lead to homosexual marriage. But they can't say that out loud yet. Nancy Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein are simply saying they oppose homosexual marriage…for now. But if they can get Californians comfortable with civil unions, and get the polls to turn in favor of homosexual marriage, it will suddenly become the "moderate" position.
Carole Migden, a recent member of the state assembly who engineered much of the domestic partnership legislation centrist Democrats assured Californians wouldn't lead to homosexual marriage, had Newsom preside at her homosexual wedding last week. California Democratic leader John Burton, who is their President Pro Tem in the state Senate, showed up for the wedding.
So much for the Democrats opposing Newsom's lawbreaking. "If I didn't support him, I wouldn't be here," Burton said to a reporter. "I never have seen the big deal."
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