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COMMENTARY: Proud to vote no on Proposition 23

As San Diego Pride approaches, we deserve to both celebrate and take stock of all that we do for our own equality and for the whole globe.

As I pointed out in a SDGLN, polls show that the LGBT community leads the nation in Green awareness, and our ethics embody the desire to save both nature and humanity from the rapidly growing dangers of a very real warming of the Earth’s climate.

We also lead in other, painful ways, as we are all too familiar with the danger from ballot attacks funded by out -of -state interests with lots of cash, as Prop. 8 demonstrated.

Even as BP’s errors and evasions are destroying self-reliant communities and creatures in the Gulf states, Texas oil companies Valero and Tesaro have the audacity to drill down into our community in an effort to win votes and kill an existing California Green law.

We have all seen this movie before. Scene 1: Mix a murky, toxic formula of fear, deception and millions of dollars. Scene 2: Get on the ballot in California, stop progress and maintain the status quo. Scene 3: Keep America addicted to oil, regardless of the consequences.

Proposition 23 will be on our November ballot, and it’s crucial that we stand together on this issue as an LGBT community. We must defend our innovative state and the planet, and reject Prop 23.

Why? Four years ago, with support from businesses, labor, environmental and health organizations, California passed a clean air law – AB 32 – that holds polluters accountable and requires them to reduce air pollution that threatens human health and contributes to global climate change.

This law, building on decades of state clean energy policies, has launched our state to the forefront of the clean technology industry – sparking innovation and clean energy businesses that are creating hundreds of thousands of new California jobs.

A clean California economy and our equality are at stake

The Texas oil companies’ initiative will allow polluters to avoid our state’s clean energy standards, kill competition and jobs from California's clean technology companies, and keep us addicted to dirty fossil fuels.

Many new clean tech jobs and inclusive companies are being created in San Diego’s clean tech hub right now because of the existing bipartisan clean energy law that Texas oil wants to light a match to.

The Texas carpetbaggers have some allies in California, such as billionaire Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for governor, who has said she would roll back clean air (and clean tech efforts) as a top priority if she is elected. However, a statewide coalition, StopDirtyEnergy, public interest groups Courage Campaign, California Bright Spot and others have entered the arena to defeat Prop 23.

Like all Californians, the San Diego LGBT community obviously needs new Green jobs, clean air, and a new clean energy standard. But we also need to send a loud, proud and unequivocal message:

Conservative Texas power trippers, don’t mess with our state or the LGBT community again!

For if Prop. 23 succeeds, external anti-gay forces will certainly be emboldened to try and parachute back into the Golden State and further diminish our rights. This summer Pride season, San Diego can start to show Texas oil what real power is all about by committing to reject this heinous proposition in the fall.

Kathleen Connell is a sustainability strategy consultant in San Diego and blogs about Green and the LGBT community at www.equalitygreen.blogspot.com. She is a member of the San Diego AB 32 Task Force, and a board member of The Sustainability Alliance of Southern California.