Prince Gomolvilas joins us from QueerSighted:

The gay community is outraged that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 43, a bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry in California. Indeed, small protests in opposition to Schwarzenegger's decision were held in different parts of the state earlier this week--including in my own home, where I subjected myself to nude self-flagellation like that albino monk in The Da Vinci Code movie.

But after noticing how some conservatives and the religious right are covering the story, I think we would be remiss if we didn't recognize and applaud the legislative strides that were made last week in California. Progress is sometimes best measured by how upset the opposition is. And it's about time I put my whips away and my robe back on.

While CitzenLink (an offshoot of the ultra-right Focus on Family organization), for example, notes on its website that Schwarzenegger's veto is "a victory for traditional marriage," the group denounces the governor for passing "several bills detrimental to California families."

Mona Passignano, a spokesperson for Focus on the Family Action (another branch of Focus on Family), said that those other bills "will likely have a devastating impact on churches and Christian families in the state for years to come." This sentiment is echoed on similarly themed websites on the Internet.

The governor actually signed seven LGBT-friendly bills into law last week, after they were all passed by the Legislature:

SB 777, the Student Civil Rights Act, is one of three youth bills that the governor signed. This legislation calls on public school administrators and teachers to fully understand their responsibilities in protecting students from harassment and bullying.

AB 394, the Safe Place to Learn Act, provides guidance to school districts on how to properly enforce existing safety standards in regard to harassment and discrimination.

AB 14, the Civil Rights Act of 2007, bans discrimination in government services based on sexual orientation and gender identity. According to Equality California, "Combined with three other nondiscrimination bills that were signed into law during the past four years, the Civil Rights Act of 2007 gives Californians the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation."

AB 102, the Name Equality Act, allows California's domestic partners to choose a common family name when they register their partnership.

SB 105, the Joint Income Tax Filing Implementation Bill, streamlines the process for domestic partners filing their 2007 state income tax returns.

SB 559, the Fair and Equal Taxation for Surviving Partners Act, according to Equality California, "reverses discriminatory tax increases for domestic partners whose partner died before a 2006 law went into effect protecting them against unfair property reassessments."

Additionally, a call to Governor Schwarzenegger's office yesterday confirmed that he did sign SB 518, the Juveniles: Youth Bill of Rights Act--legislation that aims to protect LGBT youth in juvenile justice facilities. (Early reports, including the one by Equality California, were published before the governor had taken action on that particular bill.)

Not convinced of the impact that the signed bills will have on society? Just witness the horror--the horror!--of the right.

Aside from Focus on Family and its affiliates, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) has its panties in a bunch. The group claims that SB 777 "could radically favor homosexuality in schools" and will require "all California public schools to positively portray homosexuality to children as young as kindergarten."

The site says that Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, has speculated on what could happen because of this bill. "Textbooks could be forbidden from portraying marriage as only between a man and a woman; textbooks could be required to present homosexual historical figures; and sex-specific Homecoming King and Queen contests could be forced to change," the CNA warns. "The legislation might even mandate unisex restrooms."

WorldNetDaily quotes Thomasson as saying, "This means children as young as five years old will be mentally molested in school classrooms."

"Now that SB777 is law," says Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute, "schools will in fact become indoctrination centers for sexual experimentation." expresses concern as well. "California Governor Schwarzenegger Veto of Gay 'Marriage' Made Meaningless by Other Bills," screams a headline. The site claims that AB 14 "requires more California businesses, as well as some churches and nonprofit organizations, to support and promote transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality. AB 14 prohibits state funding for any program that does not support transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality. This means state-funded social services operated by churches and other houses of faith, which provide essential services to children and adults, could dry up."

And in an ironic statement to end all ironic statements, Thomasson declares, "It's the height of intolerance to punish individuals, organizations, businesses, and churches that have moral standards on sexual conduct and sexual lifestyles. This is another insensitive law that violates people's moral boundaries."

That statement requires no snarky commentary from me. And despite the governor's gay-marriage veto, I kind of feel like he deserves a cigar anyway. And after all this self-flagellation, I kind of need one too.

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