Proposition 71 pits actor / governor Arnold Schwarzenegger against actor / director Mel Gibson. If voters approve the measure on Tuesday it would allow state money to be used in stem cell research. Both men are Roman Catholics. The governor’s support of the measure also puts him odds with the Republican Party and George W. Bush.
Brad Pitt, for those wondering, supports the measure.
Only in California would the positions of actors make a difference on an issue with scientific, theological, and economic considerations.
"Proposition 71 authorizes tax-free bonds that will provide $300 per year over 10 years to support stem cell research at Californian medical schools, hospitals, and other research facilities," according the supporters.
A coalition of faith groups support the measure, but there is also deep opposition from some religious voters to all forms of stem cell research.
The United Church of Christ supports stem cell research in general (though I have found no information suggesting the church has endorsed this measure). Much of the dispute about the measure relates to the bonds. California is already borrowing their way out of a financial mess and some voters are concerned the state cannot afford to become involved in stem cell research.
One thing is clear: we do need the research. Hopefully, a new administration in Washington will take office in January that supports new federal spending in this field. I’d vote for this measure if I lived in California, but the federal government should be taking the lead on this and not the states.