Honest Abel

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent trip to Asia was an opportunity for Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who is running to fill the office he was appointed to and currently holds, to take a turn in the big seat as interim governor. Unfortunately, it meant he was in charge when the gas pipeline in San Bruno, Calif., exploded. Maldonado handled the crisis admirably.

His short tenure as boss also meant that he could become the focus in a wild scheme—supported by the Capitol Resource Institute, a right-wing “family values” group—to do an end-run around the governor’s principled decision not to defend Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 under federal law. The ballot initiative has already been found unconstitutional.

CRI urged Maldonado to intervene before the September 15 deadline and, as acting governor, take a legal position that Californians would be injured by allowing the exercise of marriage equality. In fact, the press materials suggested that conservative voters might be more likely to “forgive” Maldonado for some of his budget votes as a legislator if he’d only disrespect the man who appointed him by intervening in the case.

Fortunately, Maldonado has more class than that. It’s too bad some of the Prop. 8 proponents don’t.