Governor Schwarzenegger continues to mystify as he lurches from left to right and back again. He upset some social conservatives today by signing Senate Bill 1441 into law. In part the bill bans discrimination in state operated or funded programs on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
It instantly makes California the most progressive state in the country on the issue of sexual orientation discrimination -- and it comes from the pen of a Republican governor! The right is appalled. Here's the conservative Flash Report response, and the response from CNS. The heart of the issue may revolve around whether Christian colleges that discriminate against "out" gays and lesbians can allow students to use state-based financial aid to help with tuition.
I'm delighted the governor signed this bill. Those who want Caesar's money need to play by Caesar's rules. Sometimes Caesar uses his money the way you'd like to have him use it... sometimes not. Either way, it ill-behooves a Christian institution to insist on a right to state support even as it flouts the will of that state's elected representatives. Freedom of worship and of conscience does not equal an entitlement to funding.
In a state like California, it makes good political sense to infuriate both left and right regularly. It is a classic falsehood to suggest that the best and the wisest of our leaders occupy the moderate center, but in California, pretending to occupy that center wins you elections. By oscillating across the political landscape, pleasing and maddening both liberals and conservatives, Schwarzenegger is positioning himself to win in a rout this fall.