BORN THAT WAY?
THIS IS A GUY WHO LIKES TO DRESS AS A WOMAN. COULD PROPER "SPIRITUAL
COUNSELING" STRAIGHTEN HIM OUT?
CALIFORNIA SOON MAY BATTLE
OVER LAWS THAT DEAL WITH
Look what's going on in the democracy "laboratories"!
By CHUCK McFADDEN
Someone once called Americas 50 states laboratories of democracy, the idea being that new ideas could be tried out in the states before going national.
New ideas. Good Lord. If what passes for new ideas in the states becomes more widespread, were in for it. Arizona has just passed its be Hispanic, go to jail bill and Virginias governor recently issued a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month, talking about the Souths proud heritage without, somehow, mentioning the slavery part of the Souths proud heritage. When all hell broke loose, he muttered something about intending to encourage tourism. Mississippis governor wondered out loud what all the fuss was about.
My home laboratory of democracy, California, has never settled for the back seat in matters involving the bizarre. Im not talking about our penchant for electing actors as governor. Were on to new adventures. This year, for instance, Californias Legislature is wresting with the issue of whether being gay is a matter of choice, or something youre born with.
The whoopla results from the discovery that current California law directs the State Department of Mental Health to conduct research into the causes and cures of homosexuality. Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, a Democrat from Long Beach, has introduced a bill (AB 2199) to repeal the law. It recently passed the California Assembly with only one dissenting vote.
The right-wing, religious fundamentalist Traditional Values Coalition is outraged. The Coalition believes that homosexuality is a learned behavior, apparently something people do just because they are anti-establishment, or just plain perverse. With proper spiritual counseling, the Coalition argues, gays can become straight -- maybe even join the Boy Scouts. Lesbians can learn to like guys, even if guys belch and leave the seat up.
The Coalition is telling its members:
AB 2199 would forever strike from the Welfare and Institutions code the requirement that the State Department of Mental Health conduct research on the causes and cures of homosexuality. Right now, this is required in the law. But homosexual advocates do not want the state to study ways to help people leave the homosexual lifestyle. They want the world to think that people are born gay.
In taking its snap out of it stance, the Traditional Values Coalition is at odds with the nations psychiatrists, who some years ago removed homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders. But what do psychiatrists know, compared with right-thinking Christians? And anyway, its a lifestyle, not a condition.
Lowenthals bill now heads for the California Senate. Despite the lopsided Assembly vote, advocates for gay rights say they are bracing for a battle over the issue. The Traditional Values Coalition wants its members to inundate the state senators with letters, telephone calls and emails informing them that homosexuals can be made to see the error of their ways.
(By the way, the Coalition is also distressed over the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA.)
(Children will be trapped in classes taught by men who dress as women and students will be indoctrinated to affirm that this is normal behavior, the Coalition fumes.)
As if the populace hasnt enough to worry about what with male teachers being measured for their frocks, the candidates for governor are adding to the din. Meg Whitman, the former CEO of EBay, is spending tens of millions on her campaign for the Republican nomination. Her opponent is Steve Poizner, the current insurance commissioner. Whitman has so far spent upwards of $30 million on her campaign, keeping every radio station in the state rejoicing. She is stomping Poizner flat. The poor guy is something like 30 points behind in the polls, and Whitman has just announced she is adding another $20 million to her campaign. And this is just in the primary.
On the Democratic side, we have Jerry Brown, who has already been governor. He served two terms, back in the 70s. Now he wants his old job back. No one quite knows why, since the states budget is a few tens of billions short. People say Brown really ought to know better. He faces no significant opposition in the primary, so as of now, it looks like a Brown-Whitman face-off in November.
Everyone, especially Jerry Brown, is wondering how much Whitman is prepared to spend in the general. After all, with $50 million to spread around in the primary, she may be prepared to spend some real money in the big circus.
Whitman could singlehandedly send the children of radio people to college and make newspaper publishers dream happy dreams about beachfront condos in Hawaii. Television anchors could dream of moving up from beachfront condos in Hawaii with three master suites to condos with five master suites and a putting green.
Are gays real gays or just pretending? Will Whitman manage it? Will she have buyers remorse? Will the Traditional Values Coalition endorse Whitman? Will Brown seek to legalize marijuana? Will Arnold go back to making movies? Will they be any good? Will California politics ever become sensible?
Lets hope not. Where else but in our biggest laboratory of democracy could you get so much free entertainment?
©2010 by Charles M. McFadden. The McFadden caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. This column first posted May 3, 2010.
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