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Schwarzenegger Drops Gay-Foe Advisor


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Schwarzenegger Drops Gay-Foe Advisor

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

August 23, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(San Francisco, California) California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has fired a former lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition only days after tapping him to help Schwarzenegger sell his re-election bid to conservatives.

Ben Lopez promoted Traditional Values' opposition to a variety of LGBT issues and helped the organization in a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

His hiring last week by Schwarzenegger was hailed by conservatives and panned by GOP moderates and gays.

Equality California, the state's largest LGBT civil rights organization called the hiring a "blatant slap to California’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community."

“This is an affront, not just to the LGBT community, but to all fair-minded Californians who oppose the manipulative, underhanded machinations of Republicans like Carl Rove and George Bush who deliberately attack our community for their selfish political gain,” Equality California Executive Director, Geoff Kors told 365Gay.com on the weekend. (story)

The governor's office is saying little about Lopez's hasty departure and Republican Party officials are attempting to put a face saving spin on the situation.

California GOP spokesperson Patrick Dorinson says that Lopez was hired only to work during the party convention which wrapped up on Sunday - something that was not mentioned in party statements touting his hiring and not mentioned during the convention.

Party insiders say that Lopez had been brought in to counter conservative anger over the governor's hiring of LGBT activist hired Susan Kennedy as his chief of staff last year. (story)

To win re-election Schwarzenegger must maintain his position as a centrist and insiders said that Lopez could have endangered that.

The Republican governor came to office promoting himself as a moderate, signing several LGBT rights bills, and angering conservatives. But he lost gay support when he vetoed the marriage bill.

The veto prompted Equality California to launch a "payback" campaign which helped defeat Schwarzenegger's so-called government reform referenda in last year's election. (story)

Equality California has endorsed Democrat Phil Angelides for governor. Schwarzenegger enjoys a healthy lead in the race but that is expected to narrow in what is likely to be a nasty campaign.

©365Gay.com 2006

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