'Recall Gray Davis' campaign gains enough signatures, supporters say
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)--The effort to remove California Gov. Gray Davis from office passed a hurdle July 7 when recall supporters announced they were ending their petition drive and had more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Officials with Rescue California said they had more than 1.2 million signatures and that when all the signatures come in, the total could reach 1.4 million, the Associated Press reported. The effort needs some 900,000 signatures to force a vote on Davis, a Democrat who is considered by social conservatives one of the more socially liberal and pro-homosexual rights governors in the country.
If enough signatures are validated, Californians will go to the polls -- perhaps as early as this fall -- to vote either to keep Davis or to boot him. The same ballot also will have a list of possible replacements, and the top vote-getter, regardless of percentage, will become the new governor if Davis loses. If Davis wins, he will remain in office.
Although recall drives have been tried before, this would be the first one to succeed by making it to the ballot.
Much of the criticism of Davis has focused on the state's financial woes. Others have pointed to his strong ties with homosexual activists. The Campaign for California Families, which backs the recall effort, lists on its website more than 15 pro-homosexual bills Davis has signed.
"I know everybody's ranting and raving about the money [problems]," said Rob Zinn, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, Calif., and first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. "I understand that. [But] my concern is the moral issue."
Zinn, who said he would vote against Davis if the recall effort makes it to the ballot, said he is very "concerned over the homosexual agenda that's getting pushed in California." Zinn added that he and his congregation have "prayed for him, pleaded with him, written to him, and it doesn't seem to bother [Davis] at all."
Zinn said he fears that the radical homosexual agenda in California will eventually filter down to the rest of the country.
"Whatever starts in California, it's coming your way," he said.
Davis has yet to take a public position on a bill currently in the state legislature that would award homosexual partners all the rights under state law accorded married couples. It has already passed the Democratic-controlled California State Assembly.
Since Davis was first elected, he has signed bills that established a statewide registry for homosexual partners and protected transsexual public school teachers from being fired, according to the Campaign for California Families. In addition, he signed a bill in 2000 that requires public school students be taught to "appreciate" "sexual orientation," according to the organization.
"Gray Davis has been a nightmare for California families," said Randy Thomasson, executive director of Campaign for California Families. "He is the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality governor in California history. Because of him, parents and persons of faith have less rights than a homosexual activist in California."
Davis' approval rating is only 21 percent, and the latest Los Angeles Times poll shows that 51 percent of Californians would vote to remove Davis, while 49 percent would vote to keep him. However, the same poll showed that voters opposed the recall effort when told of the recall effort's possible cost ($25 million). They also opposed the effort if no other Democrats were on the ballot.
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican who has bankrolled much of the recall effort, is the only declared major party candidate. Other possible Republican candidates are former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.