Friday, November 30, 2007

Today's letter - Death to the Infidels, the sick, the poor, the young and the different

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I think that we are all on the edge of our seats about the plight of Gillian Gibbons, the teacher who was arrested in Sudan after she let her class name a teddy bear “Mohammed.” Yesterday, 600 protesters poured out of mosques chanting “By soul, by blood, I will fight for the Prophet Mohammed" and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."

This seems so alien and so backwards to us, I think, because the punishment does not seem appropriate to the crime. Who would call for somebody’s death for trying to do good? Thank God this can’t happen here in America. Or can it?

Religion makes Americans do unspeakable things to each other, with the full sanction of the Government. How many people will die unnecessarily because we have blocked stem cell research for six years? How many people will get AIDS unnecessarily because we blocked needle exchange and access to condoms? How many women will die in childbirth because we blocked access to basic sex education? How many gay teens will commit suicide because we block their hope of marriage?

All these ridiculous laws cause great harm by punishing people who have done nothing wrong, in order to satisfy a few religious whiners who lack the tolerance and goodwill to respect the life and liberty of their neighbors. I’m sure we look as irrational and intolerant to outsiders as Sudan does to us.

I am proud of you for stepping up to do the right thing on many of these issues, such as supporting stem-cell research, signing AB 110 for state funding of needle exchange programs, and signing AB 629 for truthful sex education – a critical life skill.

I wish you would join the people and the legislature on one more issue: tearing down the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. This unjustifiable ban costs the state money, deprives citizens of their personal liberty, and punishes committed couples for doing nothing wrong. Really, you don’t even need to sign anything – just start talking about how the punishment of Domestic Partnership does not fit the crime of Love.

Yours,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Today's letter - Hate costs Dough

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I wrote to you in July as an angry taxpayer about the cost of limiting marriage to heterosexual couples as revealed by The Williams Institute at UCLA.

Their recent analysis for Maryland revealed that their 8,000 same-sex couples, if married, would attract about $100 million of spending and $14 million in tax revenue EACH YEAR.

By comparison, their 2004 analysis of California showed that the 1977 ban on marriage costs us $16 Billion in spending and $25 million in tax revenue EACH YEAR.

As a taxpayer, I sure could use a slice of that dough, but as a gay man I would rather have the freedom to get married.

Whether it is fiscal responsibility, or just the right thing to do, I wish you would end your support of the costly ban on gay marriage and instead support the freedom to marry for all Californians.

Yours,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Today's letter - Chinese are vilified, but not vile

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer David Pierson wrote a wonderful article about the “secret tunnels” in Fresno’s Chinatown in their November 26 edition. According to urban legend, the tunnels were created so the residents could crawl around without ever seeing daylight and people from the white side of the tracks could reach Chinatown speak-easies undetected. According to historians, though, the tunnels were actually fabricated by xenophobes in order to make the Chinese people seem less than human.

Phil Choy, past president of the Chinese Historical Society of America, explained that "The 19th century was an extremely racist climate. There had always been an attempt to remove the Chinese. You had this population of undesirables. The more mysterious they make us, the better."

I believe the historians have this one right. As a Californian relegated to a Domestic Partnership, I have seen firsthand how the Opponents of Equality use rumors and outright lies to push my community’s relationships underground and demonize us as people.

The damage imposed on same-sex families isn’t quite as bad as the atrocities performed against Chinese-Americans, but it is the same devious twist of logic that turns one group of people into cockroaches by creating a mysterious network of tunnels, that turns another group of people into sexual deviants by creating a strange ‘alternative’ to marriage.

I am very upset at you, Governor, for supporting the lies and rumors that are used to put people down, instead of supporting the freedom to marry that would bring them up.

Yours,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today's letter - Buying with Dignity and Fairness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The Human Rights Campaign released their annual Buying Guide for Equality last week. In addition to rankings for brands and stores, it has fun marketing facts, such as “77% of heterosexuals are likely to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits above one that does not” and “1 in 4 adults say they have switched products or service providers because they found a competing company that supports causes that benefit the GLBT community.”

It is not shocking that there are so many companies with high ratings – all you have to do is treat all your employees with dignity and fairness regardless of their sexual orientation. What is surprising is that there are entertainment companies with less than perfect scores (Vivendi Universal scored 35) and that there still companies with zeros – like Exxon Mobil Corp.

Businesses understand that treating your employees with dignity and fairness is not only right, but also profitable. When is California going to learn this?

I wish you would end your support of special rights for heterosexuals and instead support a California that gives all of her citizens the same freedom, the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Today's letter - The Checkered Game of Life

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Milton Bradley created the Game of Life in 1860. The game has had many variations but has always included ‘marriage’ as a milestone signifying the addition of a member to the family and an occasion for ‘gifts’ from the other players.

While the game has no separate provision for “domestic partnership” it also has no restriction on the gender of the partners in the marriage. Players can choose for themselves to put in a pink or blue peg.

I don’t understand why something that was so simple to understand in 1860 is so difficult to comprehend today. I wish you, Governor, would end your support of special rights for some relationships and instead support the freedom to marry for all families. It is, after all, a milestone in the Game of Life.

Yours,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Today's letter - In-laws are people too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I’m sorry to hear that your mother-in-law, Eunice Schriver, is in the hospital.

I wish I could have a mother-in-law. The woman who fills that role is just as vibrant, just as delightful and just as much of a person as Eunice – but because of the ban on gay marriage that you support, she can’t be my mother-in-law.

I wish the best for Eunice and your family during this difficult time, and encourage you to relish this relationship that only the special right of marriage can provide.

Yours,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Today's letter - Same is not a shame

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Last night a friend of mine made an interesting observation. He pointed out that traditionally, marriage has been about ‘sameness.’ Same religion, same interests, same city, same house, same race, same bed.

Why would it be so strange to also have the same sex? Wearing each others’ clothes is no longer ‘weird’ but rather efficient. Being able to use the same locker room at the gym is quite practical. Not having to worry about putting the toilet seat down is quite a peacemaker too.

They say that the exception proves the rule. Just like there are exceptions to sameness, there are exceptions to differences. Please, support the freedom for same-sex couples to make the same commitment of marriage that same-religion, same-location, same-interests, same-house, same-bed, same-race couples can – and do – make every day. Please support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Friday, November 23, 2007

Today's letter - Lincoln vs. Douglas

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Abraham Lincoln constantly ranks among the three top U.S. presidents. Before he became president, though, he spent a lot of time arguing against a guy named Stephen A. Douglas.

Senator Douglas believed that in a democracy the people should have the right to decide whether or not to allow slavery in their territory, rather than have such a decision imposed on them by Congress. Each state would decide if they were a “free” state or a “slave” state.

Lincoln said about the act, “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it…enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites [and] causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because [it insists] that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

In his election bid for Senator, Lincoln identified the problem with giving states the right to discriminate: "'A house divided against itself cannot stand.'(Mark 3:25) I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other."

Lincoln won more popular votes, but Douglas won more seats and was elected to Congress.

Just so the metaphor is not lost on you, Governor, gay marriage is a battle just like slavery was 150 years ago. Whether through states rights or a Constitutional amendment, making some people more free than others only makes us all half-free. The only way to achieve freedom for all is to give all the freedom to marry.

That freedom must start at home. Please, make California a free state and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Today's letter - Thank God for Happiness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Happy Thanksgiving!

At the dinner table this afternoon my mother told me that her friend Harold had shown her pictures of his grandchildren for the first time last week. She said that he hadn’t wanted to show them because he felt bad that they would “never have grandkids of their own.”

If I had been less blessed, I would have never have found my 'soulmate,' been Domestic Partnered and pursued surrogacy, and they wouldn’t have grandkids. But life has been bountiful for me. My parents are grandparents, and now they are happy for Harold, Harold is happy for them, and I am happy that they are happy. Yeah happy!

On this day of giving thanks, I want to thank you for giving California an environment where lesbian and gay families can exist, and giving me the freedom to ask my government to get off of my back and let these couples wed. Please support the freedom to marry, and make more happy people.

Yours,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Today's letter - Girlie-men Against Equality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I’m pretty sick of these conservative whiners. We can’t do stem cell research, we can’t drink or gamble, we can’t give citizenship to immigrants, we can’t have sex out of wedlock, we can’t get married – or the terrorists will win, society will collapse, and the world will end.

Normally I just ignore people who pretend to speak for God, but when they use the Bible as a weapon and aim it at helpless innocents, I have to step up and say something.

We don’t know what God thinks of gay marriage, but I do know that my life would be profoundly better if I could wed. Not one person would be harmed in the process. The terrorists won’t win, society won’t collapse, and the world will go on – perhaps a little bit better without the whining from Girlie-men Against Equality.

Yours,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today's letter - Do Good Work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Like many Californians, I’m not profoundly religious, and the Bible is a big puzzle. So I rely on people of faith to help me interpret that book.

The Most Reverend Jefferts Schori, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, told a congregation confused about the role of homosexuality in scripture that "Jesus didn't say, 'Sit there and throw words at each other,' He said, 'Get out there and heal the sick and help the poor.' "

You know, she is right. You don’t get into heaven by punishing people here on earth. You get there by helping them.

I wish you and your Government would help couples like us get married, instead of punishing us for doing nothing wrong. Then you could focus on your budget and the churches could concentrate on helping people.

Yours,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today's letter - the people's behavior reflects their leader

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I was reading “this day in history” and I believe that today’s events can teach us a lot about how to achieve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In 1978 Jim Jones’ cult committed mass suicide; in 1969 Kennedy’s Apollo 12 landed on the moon, and in 1863, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address celebrating the end of the civil war and “a new birth of freedom.”

These three events would not have occurred without the participation of the people involved and the work of the leaders whose vision inspired them. Whether we are reaching for the stars, freedom for all, or something more sinister, the behavior of the people is simply a reflection of the leader.

If the people of California want to reward stable relationships with the stability of marriage, or if they want to punish lesbian and gay citizens by excluding them from matrimony, the choice is theirs. Which choice they make depends on the leader.

So my pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is in your hands, Governor. Are you going to play partisan politics with my relationship, or are you going to tell the people of California that freedom means freedom for everybody? History will not remember the people’s choice, but it could remember yours.

Yours,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Today's letter - Equal Freedom is the only Equality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A friend asked me why I say “freedom to marry” instead of “marriage equality.” I believe that the answer could help you be a better Governor, and maybe someday, Senator.

You see, when you talk to focus groups and they hear “equality” they think of the rights that married couples get and how gay people either don’t deserve the same rights or can get them other ways. But anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that people don’t choose marriage because of the rights – they choose it because they want to.

By instead talking about freedom, people realize that whatever they believe about the rights and responsibilities of marriage, people should have the freedom to choose it for themselves; whatever they believe the bible says about homosexual relationships, people should have the freedom to exercise their own religious beliefs; whatever you believe the law says about gay marriage, a higher law says you shouldn’t interfere with the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Equality talks about rights, but really the only right that matters is freedom. That you would deny some people equal rights is debatable; that you would deny them the freedom to make their own choices is reprehensible and anti-American.

Yours,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Today's letter - Make government a partner in my life

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

At your inauguration four years ago today, you said “I will not rest until the people of California come to see their government as a partner in their lives, not a roadblock to their dreams.”

My dream is to get married. That makes you a roadblock.

You demonstrated at your inauguration that you are a great speaker, and in your tenure that you are a strong leader. You don’t have to override the people on the issue of same-sex marriage, but you would be less of a business-as-usual partisan obstacle to freedom if you were to use your great oratory skills to lead the people to do what is right.

I believe in my heart that the only way to “achieve the dream that is California” is to bring the same freedoms to everybody.

Yours,

Friday, November 16, 2007

Today's letter - You don't have to override the people to lead them

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

You vetoed AB 43 because you didn't want to override the vote of the people. But you don't have to override the people to lead them.

You could do a lot of good by teaching people what they should have learned in kindergarten: it is not acceptable to treat some people as though they are less human, less a part of society, or less worthy of a relationship than others.

Freedom ought to mean freedom for everybody. Please consider supporting my freedom to marry.

Yours,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today's letter - This joy remains tinged with sadness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Next week, three generations of our family will gather around the dinner table: us, our newborn twins, and all four of our parents. It is amazing to watch our parents glow in the pride of their grandchildren – the first on both sides of the family.

Yet, this joy remains tinged with sadness. Unlike our parents, my fiancée and I are blocked from marriage. I am upset at being excluded from the time-tested security the law provides married couples, but what really makes me sad is that it deprives our parents of the hope of seeing their children’s wedding. All of the gratitude, joy and unqualified support that will be in that room that day are not going to create a world where we are free to marry.

We will be the only unwed couple at the table - the ones who had our kids out of wedlock - and until we can wed, we will always be thinking there is a small sense of shame when we – despite all our hard work – are grouped with Anna Nicole and Larry Birkhead as our parents shake their heads and cluck their tongues about the fallout from their unwed escapades.

I have been finding ways to convert the shame into anger, and I was surprised at how easy it is: we simply blame the fact that we are treated as less than equal, less perfect and less human than other couples directly on you, Governor.

You could have signed AB 849 in 2005; you could have signed AB 43 this past October; you could have said that you think all Californians should have the same freedom to marry. But you did none of those things.

It will take a lot more than you to spoil our Thanksgiving, but I don’t think I’m being greedy to say that I wish your support could have been one more thing for which to be thankful, rather than one more thing over which to shake our heads and cluck our tongues.

Yours,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today's letter - A good team at bat, but one bad player put us way behind on human rights

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I knew California was the first state to end the ban on interracial marriages (1948) and I always assumed we would continue to be leaders and proponents for all civil rights. Imagine my surprise when I discovered California didn’t add sexual orientation to its protected classes until ten years after Wisconsin (1982). We were also out-scored by Massachusetts (1989), Connecticut (1991) and Hawaii (1991).

Likewise with marriage equivalency, we were behind the ball. Even Hawaii had domestic partnerships before we did (1997) and Vermont scored in 2000, Our Domestic-Partnership-is-the-same-as-marriage law didn’t get to home base until 2005, five years too late.

On marriage, we were poised to take the lead when love went to bat in San Francisco in the spring of 2004, and when our legislature became the first to channel that human need from the people to the governor. But Massachusetts won the World Series of civil rights when they approved marriage and you struck us out – becoming not part of the first state to end the ban on same-sex marriage, but the first governor to unilaterally block the people’s freedom to marry.

I am embarrassed that you took away our victory then, and embarrassed that you refuse to stand on the side of freedom and equality now. Please stop telling your friends, colleagues and neighbors that their relationships – and their humanity – is less important than yours, and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Today's letter - My Religious Belief

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I want to get married, but my quest is blocked by people quoting scripture and a Governor who appeases them. While the part of scripture they trumpet seems to admonish gay sex, another part of the bible tells a very different story about same-sex marriage.

The story of Ruth and Naomi, a same-sex couple, starts out with Naomi practically dead with grief and despair. Ruth resurrects her with a moving speech that includes the line you might have said at your own wedding: "till death do us part." By the end of the story, Ruth and her "beard" Boaz have a child while the women of Bethlehem really know what’s going on, declaring that "a son has been born to Naomi."

We can disagree about what the bible says about sex, but we cannot disagree about the message that God is sending us with the marriage of Ruth and Naomi: that love comes in many forms, and all loving couples deserve the freedom to marry. I wish you, as Governor, would get out of the way of my exercise of my beliefs and let me wed.

Yours,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today's letter - Unlicensed to Wed

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Our nanny’s friend was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and her car was impounded for thirty days because she was an unlicensed driver. This seems like a good law, because it gets the people who are ten times as likely to be involved in an accident off of our roads. But it also punishes people who cannot get a license no matter how good a driver they are - specifically illegal immigrants.

Los Angeles and some other communities think this is so awful that they have stopped enforcing the law while the Legislature tries to come up with a fair solution. From the perspective of somebody on the road, giving a license to those with the skills to drive regardless of their citizenship does seem like a better idea than just taking their car.

My finance and I are blocked from getting a marriage license because we are a same-sex couple. Like illegal immigrants, we are not blocked because of our skill, but because of something outside of our control. Unlike illegal immigrants, we are citizens paying taxes and casting votes. From the perspective of somebody in a relationship, giving people a license to wed regardless of their gender does seem like a better idea than fabricating some elaborate untested “domestic partnership” structure to impound their relationship. .

San Francisco and some other communities think this punishment is so awful they have stopped enforcing the bad law and issued marriage licenses anyway, but you blocked them from continuing. The legislature even came up with a fair solution, but you vetoed it without even a reading.

Really, Governor, why do you tolerate it when places like Los Angeles evade the law punishing illegal immigrants, while you slam down with all your might at places like San Francisco who evade a law that is punishing your citizens and neighbors? I wish you would consider joining the people and the Legislature in supporting the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today's letter - a right or a privilege

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Is marriage a right or a privilege?

If it is a right, why do I not have it?

If it is a privilege, what do I have to do to earn it?

Really, please Governor, why won't you just let me get married?

Yours truly,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Today's letter - Tear down this last wall

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall. Apparently you can only keep people living with freedom apart from those without for so long.

Just like the Wall divided Westerners and Easterners in Germany, the wall restricting access to marriage divides heterosexual and same-sex couples in the United States. Like Berlin, they are neighbors; like Berlin, they are ‘equal’ but not the same.

People on one side have access to a time-tested and socially acceptable structure that everybody understands, while those on the other side are deprived the dignity of even making their own choices about commitment.

So, Governor, this barrier to freedom has to go; I wish you would say that you support the freedom to marry and tear down this last great wall.

Yours,

Friday, November 9, 2007

Today's letter - Separating sex and marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I just want to get married like everybody else. I believe that those who are opposed to giving me that freedom are confused about what I would do with it. Some groups claim that gays want to get married so they can get "special rights" and others so we can molest children.

I know that you come from a background where bodybuilders are often called stupid and homosexual, and you have spent your whole career correcting those assumptions. You must know how frustrating it can be to know the truth, yet have people perpetuate lies.

Parents want to do what's best for their children, but anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that blocking my marriage does not protect kids from their "celebrate" parish priest and that punishing me when I have done nothing wrong does not stop wicked Uncle Ernie. If parents really wanted to do the best thing for their kids, they would not let pedophiles hide behind the smokescreen of heterosexuality, and they would not teach their kids that stereotyping a disliked group is OK - be it bodybuilders or homosexuals.

I wish you would work with fair-minded Californians to dispel the myths about same-sex marriage and support the freedom to marry for me and for all Californians.

Yours,

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Today's letter - not all Republicans hate gay people

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I started out writing this letter intending to point out that there were a lot of Republicans who would let me get married to my partner of ten years.

We all know about Vice President Dick Cheney saying ''freedom means freedom for everyone,'' John McCain stating that "The constitutional amendment [banning gay marriage] strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans," and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders who refused “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."

But then the trail ran dry. With all of the Congressmen and Governors who trust their careers to lesbian and gay staffers; all who attend official ceremonies where gay couples are treated as married people; all who talk about compassion, freedom and the value of the family – with all those people, I would think there would be more than three that support the freedom to marry over the oppression of a minority’s basic human rights.

I guess the kind of people that truly believe “freedom means freedom for everyone” either don’t become Republicans, or conveniently forget about their personal convictions when they step onto the campaign trail.

I wish that you would remember why you became a Republican - “free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military” - and like Mr. Cheney, Mr. McCain and Mr. Sanders, let me get married.

Yours,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Today's letter - What's Wrong with San Francisco?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As a Californian who is proud of his state, I am embarrassed by what happened in Kentucky. In a last-ditch effort to get their candidate re-elected, The Republican Party paid Pat Boone to record a warning that if the Democrat nominee is elected Governor, the state will become an awful place, "like San Francisco."

Of course, Kentucky could be so lucky as to have the thriving economy, tourism and world-class reputation of San Francisco, but Ernie Fletcher's reelection campaign makes it sound otherwise.

In the recorded message, sent to registered Republicans by telephone, Mr. Boone explains that "Ernie Fletcher is a typical Kentuckian, he's worked long and hard for the state, its people, and its traditions ... and now he faces a man who wants his job who has consistently supported every homosexual cause: same-sex marriage, gay adoption, special rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual, even transgender individuals. ... you [don't] want a governor who'd like Kentucky to be like another San Francisco. Please reelect Ernie Fletcher."

I don't know why, in 2007, people still seem to think that personal liberty is a bad thing, or that equal rights are special rights, but San Francisco deserves better.

As a fellow Governor and Republican, could you have a chat with Ernie Fletcher? Maybe you could explain if he didn't bash minorities and focused on what he could do for the people instead of against the people, he would not have lost by a landslide. In contrast, Ernie's apparent nemesis, Mayor Gavin Newsom, even survived a major scandal and was reelected.

Perhaps the next time your Republican Party consultants want you to go negative on the homosexuals, you might remind them of what happens when people go anti-gay. We wouldn't want San Francisco to become a Kentucky.

Faithfully Yours,

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Today's letter - Changing Forms Costs Money so Reap what you Sow

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I wrote to you in July to ask for your help in getting the EDD to change form DE1 to reference Domestic Partnerships on par with HUS/WIFE, and you were able to steer us to the right place to get that change rolling. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Thank you.

Today I am attaching a communication that I have started with the State Controller’s Office and the Los Angeles Treasurer and Tax Collector asking for accommodation of my same-sex domestic partnership on the cover letter for the form for “Excess Proceeds from Sale of Tax Defaulted Property.” This is just one example of the scores of forms that offensively violate the constitutional ban on discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. I need your help to make sure that the form gets fixed.

The letter should be revised to read “This includes California Registered Domestic Partners, husbands, wives and all joint tenants.”

At a time when you are trying to cut state agency’s budgets by 10% it seems to me that extending the freedom to marry to all committed couples would have been the fiscally conservative thing to do. But until I can get married, I would like to ask you to ask the State Controller to change these forms to conform with the Constitution and the need all of us has to have my government respect my basic dignity.

Thank you for your help,

Monday, November 5, 2007

Today's letter - it was we the people, not heterosexual males, who formed the union

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

It has been 135 years since Susan B. Anthony voted in the 1872 presidential election. She was arrested barely two weeks later because it was illegal at the time for women to vote.

In her defense, she argued that the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution said that all "persons" born in the US are citizens who can’t be denied the privileges of citizenship – then she pointed out if she were male, her behavior would have never been questioned.

"It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people - women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government: the ballot."
It took almost fifty years, but Susan B. Anthony managed to “redefine” voting laws to end the exclusion of women.

When you vetoed the Religious Tolerance and Civil Marriage Protection Act you said it was because of Proposition 22, a voter initiative that did not change either the Constitution of this State or this Country. You said I should be happy to enjoy the blessings of Domestic Partnership, and blocked me from making the commitment of marriage just because of the gender of the person I love.

I respectfully ask you to join us in the spirit of Susan B. Anthony and help us to “redefine marriage” so that all committed couples can make the commitment of marriage.

Yours,

Letter to Dianne Feinstein - Leslie Southwick was confirmed on your watch

Senator Dianne Feinstein
11111 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025

November 5, 2007

RE: Senate Judiciary Committee Endorsement of Leslie Southwick

Dear Senator Feinstein:

I wrote to you in August about the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the 5th Circuit and your role on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Thank you for your kind reply. In it you wrote that a candidate “should be able to demonstrate a commitment to applying the law fairly and impartially” and mentioned his volunteer tour in Iraq.

Tell me what application of law lets a judge “fairly and impartially” take away
a woman’s 8-year-old boy just because she is - as Judge Southwick put it - a“homosexual.”

People who do not differentiate between sex and parenting are applying their intellect and analytical skills to politics and not judgment, as Judge Southwick demonstrated. You squandered your responsibility as a senior member of the committee and as a human being by passing along this demonstrated bigot to the senate.

As I told you then and I tell you now, if you cannot keep the power that California voters have given you through long tenure, then we will be more than happy to take it back and invest in somebody else.

Sincerely,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Today's letter - Looking for answers

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I'm just an ordinary guy who is a little naive about how politics works. I'm hoping you could help us resolve a bet. My friend Sharla and I are trying to figure out why you would deprive your constituents the freedom to marry. Sharla says it's because you personally don't want the gays to get married - because of your church and stuff - but I say it's because you don't want to lose the money and votes that the Religiously Righteous keep giving you.

Either way you have to have some good selfish reason for spending $24 million of taxpayer money each year to block committed couples from making the commitment of marriage, and blocking churches from performing the ceremonies.

So, Governor, just between us, why are you blocking the political will of the people; why are you against the freedom to marry?

Yours,

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Today's letter - "yours"

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

You might be wondering why I sign my letters “Yours.”

You asked the Attorney General to annul my marriage in 2004. You blocked my freedom to choose marriage when you vetoed AB 849 two years ago and AB 43 last month. You refuse to stand with me in support of freedom and equality, and you insist that I endure as a second-class citizen until a seven-year-old referendum winds its way through the courts.

You control my family’s ability to access the security and stability that marriage provides, and you keep meddling with my human rights by doing things to me that you wouldn’t do to Britney Spears. You treat me like I am, actually,

Yours,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Today's letter - nobody wants to be a 'test case'

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The story of the Utah couple who took in their niece's four children broke my heart. Gregg Valdez and his partner Mike Oberg offered their familiar home so the kids could stay at the same school and stay close to their mother while she was in rehab. But Gregg and Mike were unable to get married, hence they would be violating a state law that forbids unmarried couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents, and on Monday the children were ordered moved an hour away to live with their grandmother.

"We all came to the same conclusion -- we didn't want to get involved in a big court battle, and we wanted to keep the kids together," Valdez explained. "I could have fought it, but I didn't think it would be in the best interest of the kids. It'll be hard at first, but I know they'll be taken care of."

Thank God California doesn't ban "cohabitation," but we're almost as bad for forbidding marriage. As long as couples are "unmarried" they are going to be treated as less than equal. This one bad law - the one you could have ended with AB 43 - puts couples into uncharted legal territory anytime anything unusual happens. They face a "big court battle" over every little thing. It punishes committed couples just for being gay - and their kids suffer.

Only marriage guarantees access to a time-tested legal framework. Only marriage keeps what happened to Gregg and Mike and their four cousins from happening in our state, or to our kids.

I wish you would support the freedom to marry, especially when the alternative is letting hate and intolerance divide families.

Yours,

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Today's letter - Catholic Schools Teach Hate

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I just read a wonderful article in the Los Angeles Times titled Many Catholic schools fight to survive where the author, Carla Rivera, attributes the 40% decline in enrollment at Catholic schools to families leaving the urban core. As a recent dad, I think the real reason why enrollment is plummeting is that parents don't want to send their kids to places that teach intolerance.

Anybody who has driven to Santa Monica lately knows that the area is not suffering from a lack of people. Over the last seven years, more than half of the population has not left the West Side. I do know one thing that happened seven years ago: the Catholic Church started attacking lesbian and gay families, starting with Proposition 22 and an attempted Constitutional Amendment, then following up with the 2004 "Defense of Marriage" acts now spanning 27 states.

The Boy Scouts have suffered a 35% decline in enrollment since 1977, and they too blamed it on urban shifts and the rise of alternative programs. But the Girl Scouts have the same external pressures and their enrollment actually rose 3% in the same time. The difference? The Boy Scouts fought for and won the right to exclude gay kids and leaders, while the Girl Scouts welcome everybody equally.

Polls conducted by the Barna Group show that in 2004, 52% of Christians aged 16-29 described Christianity as "hypocritical — saying one thing doing another," and 80% of Christians polled picked "anti-homosexual" as a negative adjective describing Christianity.

As a parent, I think it would be irresponsible to send my kids to a place that taught that some families are better than others, or that their place in heaven depends on who they punish here on earth. A couple of years ago I might have thought differently, but looking in their eyes now I realize that hate is taught, and it is worth every penny to send them someplace where they will learn God's love instead of the Catholic Church's hate.

I wish their hate didn't extend to my government. It's too late for you to sign AB 43, but it is time to say that it is wrong to block the Freedom to Marry.

Yours,

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