Sunday, September 30, 2007

Today's letter - 254 signatures and 10 vetos

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

So far this year you have signed 254 bills into law, and vetoed just 10. I am pleased that you agree with the legislature on so many things.

I hope you also agree that all California couples deserve the same freedom to marry that you and Maria enjoy, and that you sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

Who can disagree about freedom?

Sincerely,

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Today's letter - Nature or Nurture, it's Love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I've only lived in California for eight years, and I love the state, but I believe it could be even better if same-sex couples had the same freedom to marry as everybody else.

Those who disagree with me have often said that they don't want to reward a behavior, begging the question: is homosexuality genetic or learned?

The answer to that question is that it doesn't matter. We used to have barriers to marriage that were based on race, and there are still churches that will not marry across faiths. In both cases our Government has had the wisdom to step out of the way of love.

It is time for Government to stop blocking same-sex couples who want to commit to marriage. Whether it's nature - like race - or nurture - like religion - it is the same love that everybody else has. It should be treated the same way.

Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, not out of pity, but out of respect for people's individual choices about who they love. That is the kind of state California is, and with your assent, can continue to be.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today's letter - Hate is shrinking your base

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As a voter of conscience, I don't understand how anybody could pop a chad for a Republican. Last night's slap at people of color piggybacked months of campaigns against Hispanic and Latino workers and years of attacks on lesbian and gay families.

Of these offenses, I don't think any are as pronounced or as harmful to the GOP as their campaign against the freedom to marry. While African-American and LGBT voters are each roughly 7% of the voting population, 91% of LGBT voters cast ballots in the last presidential election. But those are direct votes.

When your party says - in your party platform - that my California Domestic Partner and I shouldn't be allowed to get married because our genitals make us worse parents than Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, it alienates not only us, but also everybody who has ever met us. Currently, 75% of children are being raised in 'non-nuclear' families like ours - the kind you say are incapable of raising kids. 75% of families is a big base to permanently lose.

Just last week, former Republican congressman Jack Kemp told the Washington Post "What are we going to do -- meet in a country club in the suburbs one day? If we're going to be competitive with people of color, we've got to ask them for their vote."

Think you're above it all? Hardly. In 2004 you successfully lobbied the Attorney General to invalidate my marriage, in 2005 you vetoed AB 849 which would have let us wed, and now you're on the verge of vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

All my California Registered Domestic Partner and I want to do is raise our kids with the simplicity and security of marriage. You and your party have worked your hardest to prevent that fairness and freedom. It is something that me, my family, my friends, my coworkers and my church are going to remember when they vote.

Let me once again ask you to give us some options at the polls: please sign AB 43 into law instead of vetoing your party further down the sewer.

Sincerely,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Today's letter - Domestic Partnerships are bad for Heterosexuals too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I've written to you in the past about AB 43 which would allow same-sex couples to choose between marriage and Domestic Partnership, but today I want to write to you about a reciprocal bill - SB 11 - which would give all opposite-sex couples the option to choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage.

Heterosexuals couples over 62 years old can already choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage but SB 11 would remove the age restriction and let anybody who can get married get Domestic Partnered instead.

I actually agree with Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) and an infamous Opponent of Equality, who said “Awarding marriage rights to people who shack up but refuse to get married is completely ridiculous. Why get married if you can get all the legal rights and benefits of marriage without being committed? This bad bill severely weakens the institution of marriage and will motivate unwed parents to remain uncommitted.”

SB 11 is a reciprocal bill to AB 43, and the reciprocal truth applies: why ban people who are "shacking up" from the commitment of marriage? Why would you motivate (or force) unwed parents to remain uncommitted? Just as SB 11 weakens marriage, AB 43 strengthens it by allowing committed couples to commit to each other.

My California Domestic Partner and I have been "shacked up" and "uncommitted" for way too long. I wish you would let us access the safety and security of marriage just like everybody else: please sign AB 43.

Sincerely,

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Today's letter - Once again, Domestic Partnership is not the same as Marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I'm just a normal guy trying to be the best father I can. Something has to really upset me to get me to write a letter. You accomplished that when you said that Domestic Partnership is the same as marriage.

You make me feel me frustrated because anybody with the sense God gave geese knows that they're different. Domestic Partnership isn't enough to satisfy the people who are forced into them, and it's too much to satisfy the Opponents of Equality. In the meantime taxpayers are forking out to maintain a separate set of laws governing relationships and everybody is confused because there is no simple definition of a relationship.

I have to admit that when my California Domestic Partner and I got Domestic Partnered over a photocopier in the Glendale Galleria, it was not the happiest moment in my life. It was more like a trip to the dentist. But when we were eloped in San Francisco in 2004, my mother cried because she couldn't make it in time to see her son get married. That's the power a word has.

Obviously, you wouldn't exclude people from marriage if you didn't think that Domestic Partnerships were equal. Even you know that would be wrong. I'm here to tell you that they are not equal, not even separate-but-equal. They are demeaning and humiliating by their very design - the verbal and political equivalent of South Africa's Townships and the pyramids of Abu Ghraib. When you say they are the same, you are wrong: not only technically incorrect but also ethically bankrupt.

You don't have to sign AB 43 to support the freedom to marry, but as long as you pretend that Domestic Partnerships are the same as marriage, you are doing yourself and the people of California a grave disservice.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's letter - The People cannot "vote to discriminate"

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As a pragmatist, I don't mind so much that you're planning to veto AB 43 for political reasons; however I was sad to hear you say that discrimination is somehow acceptable because "the people voted for it."

It is flat-out wrong to force people who would prefer to get married into Domestic Partnerships. You wouldn't like to be treated that way, and neither do they.

The People thought this Golden principle was important enough to put in the Constitution, which predates and, I think we can agree, overrides Proposition 22. They voted away their right to separate and oppress minorities, and they put it to you to intervene and stop injustices.

So even if the people did indeed vote to discriminate, it is not OK for you to let them. The people elected you above all else to make sure that nothing interferes with the freedom of adults make choices for themselves. I wish you would do that, if not by signing AB 43, then by at least speaking out against this special mistreatment of your fellow citizens. That you would do neither, and blame it on the people, is reprehensible.

Sincerely,

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today's letter - You are doing neither

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As a parent who wants to teach his kids about freedom and tolerance, it irritates me that you have so curtly promised to veto AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.
It's not the veto that saddens me; what offends me as an American is your refusal to acknowledge that it is fundamentally wrong to carve out and exclude a whole group of people from marriage based exclusively on who they love.

In signing AB 43, your hands might be tied, but in denouncing two sets of laws governing relationships in California, your mouth is still free. Won't you use that freedom so I can teach my kids about freedom and tolerance by example rather than by exception?

Sincerely,

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Today's letter - I'm writing because California needs AB 43

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I've been writing to you every day since July 12 to ask you to sign AB 43 because I believe that if you heard the stories of Californians who are affected by this every day, you would find a way to sign it.

From giving hope to LGBT youth who just want to grow up and have a family, to gay parents raising kids, there is no substitute for marriage. I've told you the story of my Registered Domestic Partner and our newborn twins, and how badly we want the security and simplicity of marriage. But your heart is still on the side of the Opponents of Equality.

I don't know what else I can do to get you to have the change of heart that you - and California - so desperately needs. So I will keep writing to you in the hope that some friend of yours finds these letters and makes you sit down to read them before it's too late.

And as a friend, I have to tell you, once you have that change of heart, you will be brutally embarrassed that you ever stood in the way of freedom. For the sake of California, the Republican Party, same-sex couples or just my family, read about these issues and sign AB 43.

Your friend,

Friday, September 21, 2007

Today's letter - You can spin it however you like

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I've been following your political assent since you replaced Governor Davis, and I have no doubt that "Arnold Strong" can do whatever he wants to do regarding AB 43 and same-sex marriage in this state.

Here is what you told the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce on September 17:

"Whenever the people vote on something — in this case, Proposition 22 — then it ought to be the people that should have a choice to vote on it again and to change their mind. But it would be wrong for the people to vote for something, and for me to then overturn it. I don’t do that, I will not do it. And so they can send that bill down as many times as they want, I won’t do it."

Now that's a strong statement. So is this:

"A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years. I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that's natural, and certainly it is true in my case."

That was San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders explaining his decision to support the freedom to marry this past Wednesday.

Everybody knows that you can spin this however you like. Whether you are overturning the supposed intent of mostly Republican voters seven years ago, or overturning the will of the people who elected the legislature knowing they would send you this bill, you are going to overturn the will of some people.

I wish you would support the people today instead of the Opponents of Equality and sign AB 43. That might take a change of heart, but it won't take a change of your principle and promise to uphold the will of the people.

Sincerely,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Today's letter - inspiring leadership

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I love hearing "change of heart" stories.

Yesterday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican like you, endorsed a resolution supporting the freedom to marry, reversing his previous position favoring Domestic Partnerships.

He said "For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night I could just not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation."

It is so nice to hear Republicans making statements like this instead of statements like Larry Craig's. And yours.

I wish you would ask your Attorney General for a new opinion on the legality of signing AB 43. I wish you would ask your Chief of Staff if she feels that her relationship is protected equally under the law. I wish you would meet with just one family that have had kids without access to the security of marriage. I wish you call Mayor Sanders (619-236-6330) to hear from his own mouth why he changed his decision.

Then I wish you would consider what is right and fair, and have a change of heart. I'll forgive you for reversing your promise to veto this; I won't forgive you - or the GOP - for ignoring my family over what seems like party politics without even the courtesy of listening.

Sincerely,

Attachment: Mayor Sanders' statement

"With me this afternoon is my wife, Rana.

"I am here this afternoon to announce that I will sign the resolution that the City Council passed yesterday directing the City Attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage.

"My plan, that has been reported publicly, was to veto the resolution, so I feel like I owe all San Diegans right now an explanation for this change of heart. During the campaign two years ago, I announced that I did not support gay marriage and instead supported civil unions and domestic partnerships.

"I have personally wrestled with that position ever since. My opinions on this issue has evolved significantly, as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have. In order to be consistent with the position I took during the mayoral election, I intended to veto the Council resolution. As late as yesterday afternoon, that was my position.

"The arrival of the resolution, to sign or veto, in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do. I have decided to lead with my heart, to do what I think is right, and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.

"For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, than anyone else -- simply because of their sexual orientation.

"A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years. I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that's natural, and certainly it is true in my case.

"Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a "separate but equal" institution is not something that I can support.

"I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today. All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right. I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa, as well as members of my personal staff. I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones, for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back, someone with whom they can grow old together and share life's experiences. And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships -- their very lives -- were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana. Thank you."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Today's letter - Everybody says you'll veto, but that's not your job

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Everybody is saying that you'll veto AB 43, but that doesn't make sense. Why would you veto a civil rights bill when your focus is on getting our budget in shape?

You ought to be rubber-stamping this bill, like you have with every other piece of minority-rights legislation, and pushing the responsibility to follow the will of the people back on the Legislature, where it belongs.

So I don't believe the people who called you all sorts of names at last night's rally. They were just bitter because they missed Power of Ten. I am confident that you will decide not to meddle with my family's freedom and sign AB 43.

Yours,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today's letter - Big Brother or March for Freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I would much rather stay home tonight to watch Dustin and Amber lash out at Dick and Daniele on Big Brother 8, but instead I'm going to be down at your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with hundreds of other people wondering why you insist on blocking civil rights legislation that the people have brought to you for the second time.

AB 43 would let me marry the person that I love, just like everybody else. It would let my Church perform the ceremony. It would save the taxpayers $24 million a year, and it would send the message that California welcomes its diverse residents with dignity and freedom.

All it needs is your signature. Please sign AB 43 so I can watch the new season of Survivor: China without getting a babysitter, and not miss an episode of Ugly Betty to plead for something that anybody with the brains God gave geese knows is the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

Letter to Attorney General "Jerry" Brown - tell the Governor to sign AB 43

Attorney General's Office
California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

September 18, 2007

Dear Attorney General Brown:

When you were Governor in 1977, you signed a law changing marriage in the State from "two persons" to "man and woman."

The current legislature has asked your friend Governor Schwarzenegger to correct that law and extend the freedom to marry to all California couples through AB 43.

The Governor is using Proposition 22, a seven-year-old states-rights initiative that did nothing to change same-sex marriage, as an excuse to veto the new bill. In the meantime, states like Maryland are suddenly ruling that the legislature (not the Constitution) has the final say on marriage. This is some Proposition, this Proposition 22!

I wish you would talk to Governor Schwarzenegger and set him straight: he can and should sign AB 43 not only because the people (through the legislature) have asked him to do it, but because it’s the right thing to do.


Sincerely,

Monday, September 17, 2007

Today's letter - Not every Church hates the gays

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I am so proud of the Episcopal Church. In 2003, to underscore its belief that biblical teachings of tolerance and acceptance are paramount, they consecrated an openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Now, the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church may separate from the global Anglican community over the issue.

I am really touched that the Episcopal Church would risk so much for me when they don't have to; I am thoroughly embarrassed that my Governor won't lift a finger to protect me when it is arguably his Constitutional responsibility.

I think it is pathetic that you would use a seven-year-old law about states rights as an excuse to block my access to the same security and simplicity of marriage that you so blithely enjoy. Please sign AB 43 and show that you do in fact believe in the dignity and freedom of all Californians.

Sincerely,

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Today's letter - reasons to hope

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I know that you'll never sign AB 43, the bill that would let my family choose the safety and simplicity of marriage just like everybody else. But there are reasons that I can hope:

On one side, AB 43 was passed handily by a recently-elected legislature. It is supported by every major human rights group, most family professional groups and even a lot of religious groups. We have a new Attorney General who probably has a different opinion of conflicts with Proposition 22. And we have successful gay marriages in many other places.

On the other hand, Proposition 22 is seven years old and the Opponents of Equality haven't had enough support to bring a new petition initiative to the voters. AB 43's biggest supporter is the Republican party that most recently lost control of Congress with their "bomb and preach" politics.

You have expressed an interest in moving the GOP out of the morality battle. Here is your second opportunity. I wish you would choose the side of the people and sign AB 43.

Sincerely,

Friday, September 14, 2007

Today's letter - what will happen if you sign it?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I am told that if you sign AB 43, same-sex couples still won't be free to marry. They will have to wait for the State Supreme Court to approve their relationships.

In the meantime, the justices will have received a powerful message that the freedom to marry is the state's political consensus.

Please, don't veto my family. Sign AB 43 and ask the courts to join the people in bringing us the freedom to marry.

Many thanks,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today's letter - where we want to be

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The people, through their legislature, have asked you for a second time to sign AB 43 supporting the freedom to marry. I wish you would.

Whatever happens with marriage this year will face a petition initiative in 2008. Your support will help a critical number of people say no to discrimination at the polls.

Freedom to marry is important to me and my family. Please sign it AB 43 to put us in a better position in 2008.

Sincerely,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today's letter - Extraordinary behavior in the People's branch of government

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I don't know if your realize how extraordinary it is for California to ask for same-sex couples to have the freedom to marry through the legislative branch of government.

From Hawaii to Iowa, state after state has ordered marriage equality through the judicial branch. Yet California's legislature voted for marriage equality, was reelected by the people, and voted for it again.

Please don't stand in the way of the People's branch of government. Please sign AB 43 and let committed same-sex couples have the same access to the security of marriage that you and Maria enjoy.

Yours truly,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Today's letter - We must all unite to defend freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

As a gay American, I believe same-sex couples should be allowed to access the security and simplicity of marriage, just like everybody else.

On September 11, 2001, Mark Bingham helped liberate and protect an airplane. On another flight, parents Ronald Gamboa and Daniel Brandhorst perished along with their 3-year-old son, David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst. The co-pilot of the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon, David Charlebois, left behind Tom Hay, his partner of almost 13 years. On the ground, F.D.N.Y. chaplain Mychael Judge was the first official casualty of the attack. He was also gay.

These victims of terrorism perished that day, just like everybody else. If we are to triumph over these attacks on our freedom, we must unite. But how can we unite to defend freedom, when we deny it to ourselves?

We can bicker over gay rights, but we cannot afford to be divided over Freedom. The people of California, through our legislature, have asked you extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. I wish you would sign AB 43 and let freedom ring.

Sincerely,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Today's letter - The rebirth of the GOP begins with freedom to marry

As somebody who stopped voting for Republicans because of their moral hypocrisies, I was really refreshed by your statements at the State Party Convention.

You said that "If our party doesn't address the needs of the people ... the voters ... will look elsewhere for their political affiliation."

The legislature keeps asking you to support same-sex marriage, and they keep getting reelected. Perhaps you should sign AB 43 and show that the GOP listens to the needs of the people?

I would vote for that kind of GOP.

Sincerely,

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Today's letter - an ode to the freedom to marry

When you try to justify
your veto in the people's eye
you will certainly try to say
the people wanted it this way.

That was seven years ago,
when the people didn't even know
the law protecting their state's rights
would be twisted to block Freedom's flight.

Twisted to prevent families
like "those" from having rights like "these"
by the opponents of equality
for their political opportunity.

The legislature has finally asked
you to join them in getting passed
a bill to bring the same equality
to families like yours and families like mees.

Your argument perhaps may pass
to the unsuspecting mass
but you know what must be done
to bring freedom to everyone.

If you veto 43,
you'll be costing you and me
sixteen billion it would appear
plus twenty-four million every year.

Professionals have unified to say
Marriage is the best and only way,
and all around the world they see
that full marriage is how freedom should be.

But most of all it means that my
partner and I won't have to try
to access marriage in some other way,
we can get married and have it stay!

You say that Proposition twenty-two
defending marriage from God knows who
shows that the people want to say
"same-sex couples go away."

But I believe the people know
it's hatred that has to go
so please sign the bill you soon will see
and bring full freedom to you and me.

Yours truly,
and Sincerely,

Friday, September 7, 2007

Letter to The Los Angeles Times - California needs and wants AB 43

Dear Los Angeles Times -

I'm getting tired of hearing the Governor use a seven-year old referendum about foreign marriage to justify a modern-day apartheid.

The polls put marriage one point ahead of banning it (46% to 45%) about double George W. Bush's approval. AB 43 passed the Senate with three more votes than last time through - legislators don't vote this way without their constituents' support. And Proposition 22 wasn't even about marriage in California! "Two persons" language was changed to carve out same-sex couples from marriage by the legislature in 1977 and signed by current-Attorney General-then-Governor Jerry Brown. What the legislature broke, the legislature can fix - it has nothing to do with 22.

LGBT families have worked hard to tell the truth about themselves and their community. They deserve better than a Governor that uses lies about Proposition 22 to unilaterally legislate who they can love and who they can marry.

P.S. I have written a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger every day since July 12; I post them online at http://signab43.blogspot.com and read them on YouTube.

Update: the State Senate passed AB 43

Just this morning, in a 22-15 vote, the Senate joined the Assembly in asking the Governor to provide same-sex couples with the same safety and security of marriage that opposite-sex couples have always had.

Those of you who have been following my letter-writing campaign know the issues: the Governor is using Proposition 22, a state-rights voter initiative passed in 2000, both as a measure of the intent of the voters and an excuse to veto these bills.

There is no legal conflict with Proposition 22, since the initiative did not affect California marriages one bit, legally or practically. AB 43 would actually reverse a 1977 law that the legislature passed and our current Attorney General signed when he was Governor.

Using Proposition 22 as a measure of the people's intent is suspect. Seven years after Proposition 22, polls here in California show the people actually support the freedom to marry by a small - but significant - margin. Voters reelected every Senator and Assemblymember who voted for marriage freedom last session, and we received three more votes in the Senate than last time.

There is no point in lobbying the Governor when he uses mischaracterizations of the law to shield himself from taking controversial actions. As soon as Mr. Schwarzenegger is out of office, we will have the freedom to marry. By signing this bill, he will extend his legacy, but with a veto, the Governor is using his pen as a weapon to meddle with freedom and divide California.

Today's letter - Whose side are you on?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I am writing to ask you to sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California. Have a look at the groups that support and oppose AB 43 and the freedom to marry, and you decide which group you would trust with your health decisions and the safety of your children. It is time to let the health and social professionals do their job by signing AB 43.

Groups that support AB 43 and the freedom to marry:

the American Academy of Pediatrics,

American Psychiatric Association,
American Psychological Association,
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (District IX),
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists,
American Psychoanalytic Association,
the National Association of Social Workers.
the NAACP California State Conference,
United Farm Workers,
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
Chinese for Affirmative Action,
California Teachers Association,
ACLU,
California Nurses Association,
Anti-Defamation League,
California National Organization for Women,
California Church Impact,
the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

AB 43 and the freedom to marry is opposed by:

the Campaign for California Families (CCF)
the Capitol Resource Institute

Who would you trust with your kids health and future? Who would you go to for relationship advice? Who is going to be out of business if you sign AB 43 and who is here to help? Whose platform is built on exclusion and whose on freedom?

Pragmatically,

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Today's letter - tell the truth about Proposition 22

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As somebody who has read your various statements about gay marriage in California over the years, I believe that you would sign AB 43 (the bill ending the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage) if it was the will of the people. The problem is that you continue to use Proposition 22 as not only a gauge of will, but also as a legal excuse for vetoing this legislation.

We can disagree about the intent of voters when they passed Proposition 22, but the intent of the law was to block foreign marriages from becoming recognized in California.

It would seem from recent polling data and the behavior of the legislature that the people are not opposed to extending the freedom to marry to their fellow citizens.

It would make me really sad if you obstructed the will of the people based on a bad guess of their intentions. The people do not oppose freedom - please support them by signing AB 43.

Hopefully,

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Today's letter - back to basics

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I was lucky enough to find somebody that I love, who loves me back. We have been together ten years, two months and twenty-one days, and our two kids are celebrating their first half-birthday today.

We want to get married just like you and Maria, and everybody else. The people, the legislature and our church all support our choice - why don't you?

Please sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Today's letter - Since 2005, a lot has changed

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

A lot has changed since 2005, when you vetoed AB 849 saying that you want the people to decide who can access marriage in California.

  • More than 9,000 marriages have taken place in Massachusetts (and rather than the sky falling down, they won the World Series.)
  • A Republican-controlled congress failed a second attempt to amend the Constitution (and lost control of congress.)
  • California elected a new Assembly (and every member who voted for AB 849 was re-elected plus one.)
  • The parade of states passing DOMA amendments ground to a halt when Arizona voters rejected a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage.
  • More Californians support gay marriage (48%) than oppose it (46%). (That means gay marriage has double the support of President Bush (24%).)
Clearly, the people are increasingly supportive of the freedom to marry, and the excuses for opposing it are running out. The moment you leave office gay couples in California will be able to choose marriage just like everybody else. As a lame-duck Governor who needs to weigh his legacy against his political aspirations, do you want to be on the side of freedom, or support the opponents of equality?

Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, this year so my family can choose the security and simplicity of marriage just like yours. The people have evolved – have you?

Moving forward,

Monday, September 3, 2007

Today's letter - Fair work and fair pay for a labor of love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

On this Labor Day, I want to share a story of success for California's Domestic Partnerships.

You might have heard of Longshore union worker William Swenor, who had died suddenly in March 2005, leaving his partner of 51 years, Marvin Burrows, unable to claim his partner's pension because their contracts only acknowledge ‘married spouses.’

After two years of talks, the Industrial Employers and Distributors Association and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 6 was persuaded to renegotiate its contract to provide registered domestic partners with the same pension benefits as spouses. They made the change retroactive because "it was the right thing to do."

Not everybody is as brave Mr. Burrows, who spoke up for his rights in an environment often toxic to gay people; not everybody is resourceful enough to get the National Center for Lesbian Rights to represent them; not every organization is as fair-minded as the ILWU.

That is why California needs AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, so all California couples will have the same freedom to choose the stability and security of marriage.

The alternative, as Mr. Burrows discovered, is to get your employer to recognize your 'domestic partnership' as the equivalent of marriage, which, in this labor of love, was finally the case.

Sincerely,

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Today's letter - whatever it takes

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I see from today's paper that you are teaming up with the Democrats and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez in order to "do whatever it takes" to overhaul our healthcare system.

I wish you would "do whatever it takes" to bring the freedom to marry to all Californians.

Like healthcare, freedom to marry will allow universal access to important services inside of a secure, time-tested framework that everybody understands. Unlike healthcare, nobody is being forced to get married or even perform the ceremonies, and California taxpayers will actually save $24 million a year. It provides personal choice and freedom to Californians at a bargain price - something worth fighting for.

"Whatever it takes" includes signing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. The legislature was clever enough to design it so it wouldn't conflict with Proposition 22, and now that “universal access” is in your vocabulary, signing it isn’t even politically risky: it’s just the least you can do.

So please consider signing AB 43 and bringing to California’s same-sex couples the same freedom to marry that you have.

Sincerely,

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