California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered his first speech to the gay community last night since promising to veto teaching gay history in the State’s schools.
He addressed a fundraising dinner for gay political group, the Log Cabin Republicans, at the Renaissance Hotel where he promised to “have an open mind” about the gay community.
Mr Schwarzenegger told the crowd: “In politics, I believe we need to address problems rather than attacking people.
“Whether you’re gay or straight, everyone needs someone to love.
“California is diverse, but it must never be divided.
“Tonight I want you to know that I am proud to be on the same team with you. I can’t promise you that I will always be of the same mind, but I can promise you that I will always have an open mind.”
Log Cabin national president Patrick Guerriero said: “When he took the oath of office, Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would be governor of all the people-and he reinforced that inclusive message in his first-ever address to a gay and lesbian organisation.
“Governor Schwarzenegger has been reaching out to all Californians from all walks of life in every corner of the state. He has a record of supporting inclusive civil rights legislation and broadening the Republican big tent to include all Californians.
He has previously supported bills on anti discrimination based on sexual orientation, and state pension laws for partners of workers.
However he attracted criticism by vetoing a same sex marriage bill and threatening to abandon a gay education law.
Equality California executive director Geoffrey Kors said: “Equality California is very supportive of the Log Cabin Republicans’ efforts to end the dominance of the ultra-conservative wing within the Republican Party and I am attending this event to demonstrate that support.
“While the governor has signed several bills sponsored by Equality California, he has used his veto open to deny LGBT Californians the rights, benefits and responsibilities they need to achieve the California dream that he and his family enjoy.”