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."