In what some activists are claiming is a nationwide first, a governor's support for the rights of same-sex couples is being highlighted in a TV commercial being aired throughout California as one of the main reasons voters should support him. The ad, sponsored by Gov. Gray Davis's campaign against the recall, begins with a voice stating, "Under a Democratic governor, we've passed domestic-partnership legislation," as the words domestic partnership appear on the screen. The commercial, which goes on to list several other issues supported by the governor, has been in heavy rotation since it was first aired on September 26. Davis signed a sweeping domestic-partnership bill on September 19, which affords gay and lesbian couples most of the state-level rights and protections of marriage.
"By airing this commercial throughout the state in an election open to all registered voters, Governor Davis has again demonstrated his leadership and his commitment to advancing civil rights for the LGBT community," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director for Equality California, a statewide gay rights group. "This ad sends a message that support of LGBT civil rights is something the governor is proud of. That alone will have a positive impact on public opinion toward equality for same-sex couples. In comparison, the key figure supporting the recall from day one is opposed to all of the gains we have made over the past five years."
"The fact that the No on Recall Campaign selected domestic partnership as the issue to open the ad demonstrates that the campaign has determined that a large percentage of California voters consider support of LGBT rights to be a key factor in their decision to support or oppose a candidate," Kors continued. "When looking at that issue, voters need to remember that there is not a governor in history, anywhere in the country, who has signed more LGBT civil rights legislation than Governor Davis."