Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsLaw

Law and Order--and Justice

April 18, 1985

The marshal and a minister had a showdown this week over the preservation of American values. In most scripts the minister is on the side of compassion and the marshal is the strong, silent type. In this one the marshal, state Sen. Ed Davis (R-Chatsworth), former Los Angeles police chief, fortunately was not silent but was strongly on the side of both law and compassion in a dustup with the Rev. Tim LaHaye over whether politicians should accept campaign support from homosexual groups.

At issue was a request from the American Coalition for Traditional Values, which is chaired by LaHaye, that candidates for California's U.S. Senate seat in the 1986 election refuse support from homosexuals. Davis, who voted for a gay-rights measure two years ago, promptly objected. When he was police chief, Davis clashed often with homosexual groups because of his enforcement policies in gay bars. He was "the marshal of Dodge City," he explains now, "and you had to obey the law." And the law allows, and at least in the form of income-tax deductions encourages, all citizens to contribute to candidates for political office.

"Among other things," Davis replied to the letter, "your request . . . is downright un- American. Dr. LaHaye, I can only interpret your letter as an attempt to deprive some of our citizens of one of our most fundamental and cherished rights--the right to participate in the electoral process."

That right is especially vital to groups still fighting for fair treatment in the workplace, as homosexuals are doing. Ignorance and fear are barriers to understanding, but they must not also be allowed to become barriers to the exercise of basic democratic freedoms.

The issue of gay rights will not go away, nor should it until those rights are properly protected. Assemblyman Art Agnos (D-San Francisco) has reintroduced his legislation to protect homosexuals from job discrimination. Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed a similar bill last year, saying that he saw no "compelling need" for it.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is just as wrong as that based on race, sex or marital status. Agnos' bill, again known as AB 1, is just starting through the legislative process in Sacramento. If the dust on the horizon is a clue, the winds of resistance will be strong again. So, too, it now appears, will be those who are willing to stand up for what's right--and hang the political consequences.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|