Monday, December 31, 2007

Today's letter - Freedom Interrupted

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Tomorrow Oregon was set to allow same-sex couples to enter into a better-than-nothing civil union structure like California, New Hampshire, Vermont and some other states. More than 500 couples planned to take their vows on New Year’s Day.

Just two days ago, a federal judge overrode the state law, saying that the needs of these couples to make a commitment to each other should take a back seat to the bitter desire of a few to keep them apart. Now 528 couples are waiting in limbo while their relationships are put on trial.

Would you like it if your wedding was canceled with just three days notice, Governor? I’m guessing not. Please help swing the mood in California so that what happened in Oregon can’t happen here (again).

You don’t have to break the law to say that you believe committed couples should have the freedom to choose marriage. You just have to break your silence.

Yours,

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Today's letter - Get Government out of our Living Rooms

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Anybody familiar with the syndicated cartoon The Lockhorns, the TV show “Married with Children,” the political travails of Larry Craig or the new film The Kite Runner knows there is a profound difference between sex and marriage.

Across all media, the message is the same: regardless of what happens in bedrooms, bathrooms and alleys, the partnership of marriage is a unique identifier for two people who are special to each other on a much higher level. Sex takes place in the bedroom; marriage happens in the living room.

There are people who say that gay couples are just taking their relationships into the living room. I believe that real relationships start in the living room. Whether they or I am right, Government should not be meddling in the intimate affairs of either room.

We got Government out of our bedrooms. It is time to get it out of our living rooms as well. Regardless of what you believe about same-sex relationships, I wish you would explain to the people and your fellow Republicans that a government that leaves the issue of sex to the individuals involved ought to leave the issue of marriage to individuals as well.

Yours,

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today's letter - stranger things have happened

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

When people tell me that Lesbian and Gay couples will never get married in California, I tell them that “never is a long time.”

Who would have thought that two gay men could have children? Who knew that there would be gay marriages in Spain? Never did we think Larry Craig would be gay and Richard Simmons would be straight – or that the California legislature would pass a gay marriage all the way to the Governor’s desk. Who could have imagined that that we would have an openly gay bishop confirmed by a major religion – or that we would have a major Presidential candidate from a church that believes in gay marriage?

If we want all Californians to be able to fully participate in our economy and society, we need you, Governor, to tell Californians that everybody deserves the freedom to marry. That could never happen – but stranger things have.

Yours,

Friday, December 28, 2007

Today's letter - Stories from the Trenches

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Here is a little story from a May 2006 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County that shows a sampling of what’s going on “in the trenches” of the GOP.

Author Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson was the speaker for the evening. He explained that more black Americans would enter into marriages if there were a constitutional amendment redefining it as between only one man and one woman.

A member of the audience stood up to ask why, if marriage creates stability in society and is good for children, that a whole group of Americans should be denied the opportunity to marry. The Reverend responded by explaining that Christian beliefs are very important to black Americans and capped it off with a quote from Leviticus.

Another audience member then stood up and asked if the Reverend supported slavery, since, after all, it is in the Bible, too.

The Chairman of the meeting interrupted the discourse to call for tolerance from party members, a call that was honored by the objectors but not by Reverend Peterson, who continued to fabricate reasons for excluding lesbian and gay Americans from the party and from society.

You wonder why Republicans can’t get elected in this state – well look no further than your local chapter meetings, where tolerance of hatred alienates any voter of conscience.

You could change this, Governor, by telling your party that whatever they think of gay marriage, “freedom” means that all Californians should have the freedom to choose who they marry.

Yours,

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Today's letter - smokers have more liberty for less public good

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I don't understand why Government supports the freedom of people to smoke, but not the freedom of people to marry.

In the economics of exchanging liberty "for the public good", an outright ban on cigarettes would clearly tip to the public good. Yet your sense of justice tells you denying people even the freedom to poison others is wrong.

In the case of my marriage, Government has taken away my liberty "for the public good." But there is no good that has come of it. The “secondhand marriage” that I’m thrust into costs taxpayers more money to administer, limits my participation in the economy, and sends the poisonous message that government can punish people not for what they do, but for their individual beliefs or immutable characteristics.

If there is no public good, why am I forced to surrender my liberty? Would you please explain to the people and your fellow Republicans that Government should not have eminent domain on individual freedom.

Yours,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Today's letter - How do they know it's Christmas without Family?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas.

My Christmas was magical: my husband and I opened presents with our 9 ½ month old kids, including a book that we put together chronicling their first year on Earth. Our parents came over and we enjoyed each others company through a wonderful family dinner. Life has been bountiful, and we were blessed to be able to celebrate that together.

My Christmas bliss was disturbed by the recognition that so many people are celebrating without family. Children whose parents have disowned them because they are gay; parents who have lost children through gay-related suicide; marriages broken because they were formed for the wrong reasons; and even siblings who were turned away because they were unwilling to accept their kin for who they are.

I really don’t know how you can enjoy your holidays knowing that domestic apartheid will flourish as long as you advocate civil unions for some and marriage for others. Please start working now so by next Christmas we can all enjoy the gifts of liberty and freedom.

Yours,

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Today's letter - Merry Christmas

[We sent The Governor our Christmas card, which shows me and my financee holding our two kids in front of the snow-covered castle at Disneyland. The kids are dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Claus in red jackets with white trim and matching hats.]

Governor Schwarzenegger -

Wherever you are, may you have a white Christmas and a joyous 2008.

[handwritten] Thank you for signing the bills last year that protect and nurture our family, and please help us to get the freedom to marry in 2008.

[signed].

Monday, December 24, 2007

Today's letter - Republicans deserve their reputation

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

A particular critical parody of Republicans has been floating around the Internet for a few years. It starts:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
not a critic was stirring, for stirring was banned.
A thousand brown prisoners, snug in their cells,
all held without charges or tinsel or bells;
Did you ever wonder how Republicans, for all the wonderful things they do, get such a bad rap on personal freedom? Maybe it is because the GOP is the only party that believes gay people do not deserve the freedom to get married, get domestic partnered or even raise children. (Yes, Virginia, it’s right there in your party platform.)

When you can meddle with the most intimate thing in a man’s life – his private relationships – it scares anybody with a sense of justice. And it should. Republicans used to be about separating Government from individual people’s decisions. Now that is all upside-down.

I hope Santa brings you some common sense for Christmas, and you evolve to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Today's letter - Leviticus bans Sex, not Love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Bible Week continues with a clarification of Leviticus. The old-testament passage says “[a man] shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” On the surface, this seems pretty damming, but anybody who reads the bible with more care than they give the Recycler knows that this is nothing about gay marriage or same-sex relationships, and certainly not an appropriate guide for public policy.

As a gay dad, I differ from the biblical scholars who dwell on issues of context and applications to temple prostitution and pagan ritual. Instead, I recognize that to “lie with” anybody – man or woman – the way it is said in Leviticus is wrong. That’s adultery, prostitution, promiscuity and a bunch of other things.

God begins Leviticus 18 saying “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you.” and then goes on to list other “abominations” practiced by the Canaanites, such as eating pork (11:7) or seafood (11:9), planting mingled seeds (19:19) or wearing polycotton blends (19:19).

Nowhere – and conspicuously nowhere – does He endorse heterosexual relationships or ban homosexual ones.

This is consistent with Genesis and the rest of the bible where we are taught that God created partnerships for the purposes of companionship, not to exclude gay people.

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

As long as man can debate what the Old Testament says about homosexuality, we need to use a higher standard for deciding public policy, such as freedom and liberty. Please reconsider your admonishment of same-sex relationships and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Today's letter - Condemn the correct sin

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Your public policy on gay marriage hinges on a condemnation of gay sex, which of course comes from the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The story goes that God destroyed the two cities because of the immoralities of the residents, and because the writings of some Dark Ages monks, “the sin of Sodomy” has become synonymous with any sexual liaison that is not stick+hole=baby.

Unfortunately for that policy, anybody who reads the Bible with more attention than they pay to the Sudoku puzzle in their Sunday paper knows that God’s destruction of the city (Genesis 18:20) has nothing to do with the part where the men attempt to rape the angels (Genesis 19:9), which was merely an act of barbaric punishment by rape – not homosexuality.

Ezekiel 16 lists the many sins of these people – and homosexuality is not one of them.

“"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49 (American Standard)

In 2003 the United States Supreme Court invalidated Sodomy laws as being an unconstitutional violation of privacy. In 2005 and 2007 the California Legislature sought to invalidate the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage as an unconstitutional violation of religious tolerance, privacy and freedom. You sided with the sodophyles and vetoed those bills.

When you have abundant food and careless ease, the least you could do is help same-sex couples achieve the access to same laws and opportunities as everybody else. It is too late for you to sign AB 43, but it is not too late for you to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Friday, December 21, 2007

Today's letter - Adam should not be alone

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Your public policy on gay marriage seems to have all started with Adam and Eve. This original couple started out clinging together and was later told by God that they were married and to “go forth and multiply.”

This relationship has been carried to an extreme in order to specially exclude homosexual couples from society and, in particular, marriage. This has gone on for so long that those opposed to my marriage carry signs that say “God made Adam and Eve - Not Adam and Steve!” The reasoning is twofold: first, Adam and Eve were created to procreate, and second, since God didn’t make a gay couple, God forbids gay relationships. Of course, anybody who actually reads Genesis with more care than they read a t-shirt gets a different view.

For the first point, God’s first stated reason for marriage was companionship, not procreation. God said:

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

Thus He created Eve for Adam. Procreation was bonus, since at the time they didn’t have sperm banks or in vitro clinics.

The second point, just because God happened to made a man and a woman first doesn’t mean anything about couples after that. Adam and Eve didn’t make grandparents or bellybuttons, but I don’t see bumper stickers about that. What really makes this argument folly is that God did make at least one gay couple – me and my partner – and thus the argument of God’s Perfect Template falls apart.

So the next time you get a letter from a constituent saying Adam and Steve should be kept apart, remember Adam and Eve, and God’s message of companionship and commitment. Then support the freedom to marry for all God’s children.

Yours,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Today's letter - either the Church or Galileo is wrong

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Since the public policy banning my marriage is based on the teachings of the Catholic Church, it would be prudent to take a moment to examine the credentials of the teacher.

In 1633, The Vatican said that the sun (and everything else) orbits the Earth. Galileo Galilei claimed that the Earth orbited the sun. Observation v. Bible went on trial, and Galileo was found guilty of contradicting God’s word. He was forced to renounce his findings, excommunicated and placed under house arrest until his death.

It took centuries for fact to overtake fiction, and in 1993, Pope John Paul II finally conceded that Galileo was right: the Earth really did orbit the sun, and the Church was wrong.

I was astonished to learn that the current pope, Benedict XVI, is on a tear to once again condemn Galileo for daring to use facts to question the authority of the Church. This kind of blatant disregard for the brains God gave us makes me question all of the Church’s teachings; when you start to unravel them, it’s not a pretty sight.

I was taught that the universe revolves around God, not Mr. XVI. I was taught to treat others as I like to be treated myself. I was taught to pursue truth and not power. If anything I’ve been taught is true, the Catholic Church is dangerously far from God, and their treatment of Galileo – and me – proves that.

Please, Governor, use the brains God gave you and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Today's letter - Saving marriage for the Spears

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today’s headlines announced that 26-year-old Britney Spears is getting married for the third time, and that her 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant – out of wedlock – with a guy she met at Church.

The response from the Campaign for California Families is an amped-up effort to “save marriage” from lesbian and gay couples.

Now I don’t know about you, Governor, but it seems to me that we should be “saving marriage” for committed couples like me and my partner of ten-and-a-half years, instead of people like the Spears who seem to have a problem with commitment.

I want my kids to have positive role models. I think society would want to promote that. Instead, your office is resonating the message that marriage is for something other than committed couples.

I wish you would use your position of power and leadership to explain to the people of California that all committed couples should have the freedom to marry – and perhaps we might be able to really and truly “save marriage.”

Yours,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's letter - Unworthy of Jury Duty

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

According to you, the people of California have determined that I am either incapable or unworthy of marrying my partner of ten-and-a-half years. That’s why you annulled my marriage in 2004 and vetoed AB 43 in 2007.

Since I am apparently less of a person, I was wondering if I could get out of Jury Duty. Who would want a gay dad on their jury anyway? Could you write me a note?

It’s not that I don’t mind serving – it’s just that I would rather not waste my time going down there to be rejected because of who I love. I get enough rejection from you.

Yours,

Monday, December 17, 2007

Today's letter - Paul was against everything, except Commitment

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Since the Bible is the foundation everybody turns to when they try to justify the special ban on same-sex marriages, it would be a good idea for you to know what the Bible actually says about homosexuality, and in particular, same-sex relationships.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:26-27 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet,"

The usual argument to this is that Paul was against everything. For instance, he wrote in Timothy 2:9, that women should "adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." I’m sure your wife Maria would take issue with this admonition if it were to become public policy.

Others point out that Paul was commenting not on homosexual couples but the pagan practice of “fertilizing” castrated galli priests as surrogates of the fertility goddess, a weird way of worshiping a false idol, which actually was one of those ten commandment thingies.

As a gay dad, I have a different take on this. I like and love my life partner. We are a couple. Paul wasn’t talking about us, he was talking about people like Larry Craig and Ted Haggart, who turned away from their partners to pursue lust towards others.

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

As long as man can debate what the Bible says about homosexuality, we need to use a higher standard for deciding public policy, such as freedom and liberty, or even the ten commandments. Please reconsider your admonishment of same-sex relationships and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Friday, December 7, 2007

Today's letter - lying is worse than homosexuality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I’m just trying to be the best husband and father that I can. That’s why I want to thank you for passing SB 777 to teach the truth in our schools.

I remember when I had my first sex-ed class (in a private Catholic school). I was in sixth grade. The principal and the male faculty took all the boys into the library, while the female faculty took all the girls to a classroom in the other end of the building. Being in the library, while the principal was trying to explain the reproductive system, we were looking up obscene words in the unabridged dictionary. That’s when I discovered to my dismay that a “navel” was several inches above where I thought it was. It was, in retrospect, very educational – but not because of the reasons that the faculty had intended.

Americans have developed a bad habit of confronting situations that challenge their beliefs by praying for contrary evidence to go away, then persecuting anybody who resists. Just like evolution and heliocentrism (a word from that unabridged dictionary) got this treatment in the past, homosexuals are getting it now.

As a gay man who believes in God and His country, raising children in a committed same-sex relationship, I’m a pretty damming piece of evidence that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

But in an attempt to make people like me “go away,” the Boy Scouts say that I don’t believe in God, Mormons say I am unpatriotic, Catholics say that I can’t get into heaven, and Republicans say I can’t raise children.

Just lying doesn’t make people like me go away – it just keeps me from fully participating in our economy and society. And that hurts everybody.

It doesn’t matter what somebody’s religious beliefs are, they are never an excuse for teaching lies to our children. Thank you for taking a stand for families by signing SB 777.

Yours,

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Today's letter - Only Lies Separate Gays from God

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I’m just a guy who is trying to be the best husband and father that I can, and I’m willing to work hard for a better world. As a gay man who believes in God and the tradition of getting married, I’m really getting beaten up today, and although I already have God on my side, I could sure use your help too.

Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, expressed his organization’s religious beliefs: “Since we were founded, we believe that open homosexuality would be inconsistent with the values that we want to communicate with our leaders.”

Mr. Shields explained a bit more though, saying “A belief in God is also mentioned in the Scout oath. We believe that those values are important. Tradition is important. Our mission is to instill those values in scouts and help them make good choices over their lifetimes.”

It is no accident that Mr. Shields links homosexuals to people who don’t believe in God and don’t follow tradition. It is probably what he was taught. But anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that this is a lie.

I am living proof that homosexuals can and do believe in God and want to follow tradition, perhaps more than anybody – I not only want to carry on my family’s tradition by getting married and sending my kids to Scout Camp, but I also want to achieve that without lying about myself or my family. That’s what the Scout oath is really about.

When Mr. Shields uses lies to separate my family from God, he is also separating my family from Freedom. Mitt Romney pointed out today that "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

I just don’t have the same muscle as The Boy Scouts, The Mormon Church or The State of California. That’s why I need your help to set things straight. I wish you would support the freedom of families like mine to follow their beliefs and traditions. I wish you would support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Today's letter - Pete Knight: In his own words

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

When you vetoed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (and my freedom to marry), you cited “Proposition 22” as last word on same-sex marriage in California. I think it is important to look at what those words are – and what words you support – when you support Proposition 22.

Proposition 22’s author Pete Knight said:

"The man-woman family is the best possible family unit… The woman brings certain characteristics, and the man brings certain characteristics. Homosexuals who want to marry are asking the state to legalize and promote a family unit that is different from the best."

"They talk about equal rights, but there is no right to marriage. ... There is no civil right that says that you should be allowed to marry a man and a man."

"As far as domestic partners are concerned, I think I can accept, and I would be willing to support, domestic partners with limited rights, limited state's rights. …they should have the ability to designate whoever they want to come in and visit with them in a hospital. Those kinds of things are kind of basic, and they don't even need to register as domestic partners to have that happen. There are legal documents, there are legal means, by which they can accomplish that. They can have a will and leave whatever they have to whomever they want. So that's not something that's being denied them. They can have those kinds of things."

"I think, sooner or later, the government is going to have to step in and say, now wait a minute. You can't have a marriage here and not be accepted here. We had a patchwork one time with slavery, and we had to correct it."

"The state would have to teach that this is an acceptable family unit. The state should not be sponsoring or promoting a second-class unit."

This guy sure was good. He was able to convince an entire state of Americans to turn against their principles and say that not all of us are created equal. His success forces me to take time I could be spending with my kids in order to beg for every little scrap that "first-class" units like Britney Spears can get in under an hour. He has managed to redefine marriage as a weapon, and aimed it straight at me.

I wish you, Governor, would do more to thwart this man's injustices, and less to propagate them.

Yours,

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Today's letter - Uruguay has more freedom than America

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I used to get excited when a new country announced recognition of same-sex couples. For example, Uruguay is about to provide equivalent social security, pension, inheritance, and parenting rights to both heterosexual and homosexual couples through a “civil union” structure. I used to see it as a tipping point in the way people saw – and treated – their lesbian and gay brethren.

But with Civil Unions or marriage available throughout almost forty countries representing every continent except Antarctica, I’m starting to instead see it as a countdown until the United States is the last country on earth that fails to allow her lesbian and gay citizens to fully participate in the economy and community.

How can we say America is the “land of the free” when people in Uruguay get social security, pension, inheritance, and parenting rights, while my partner of ten years and I become legal strangers as soon as we step out of our home state? Uruguay!!!!!!

It is truly a global embarrassment that you, Governor, tolerate the negative and divisive bullying tactics that the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) and other opponents of equality are using to carve out and marginalize an entire group of people based on who they happen to love.

Change begins at home. The next year will be pivotal in the fight between the opponents of equality and fair-minded Californians. I need you to do more than stay silent: please support the freedom to marry so the United States might someday join the world community in treating all of her citizens with dignity and respect.

Yours,

Monday, December 3, 2007

Today's letter - Silently tolerating nonsense

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I like you because you’re a non-nonsense kind of guy. You drive a hummer and smoke cigars regardless of what people say. And just as effectively as you enjoy your own freedoms, you usually defend those of Californians. I would have even voted for you – except for one strange thing: you consistently and mysteriously block same-sex couples from having the freedom to marry.

There were many occasions when you could have stepped up and said something in support of this freedom. Way back when Proposition 22 was just a gleam in Pete Knight’s eye, you could have said “people should be able to do what they want” in the context of gay marriage instead of gay sex. When I was married in San Francisco in 2004 you could have said “we ought to change things so these people can get married legally” instead of just smacking down with the law. When the people and legislature asked you to sign AB 849 in 2005 and AB 43 in 2007, you could have said “I regret having to veto the bill.” Instead you gleefully sent it – and my freedom – back to ground zero.

Thousands of same-sex couples are just trying to make the same commitment of marriage you and Maria were free to make. Why do you tolerate the nonsense of domestic apartheid? Why do you stand silent while freedoms are being trampled?

I really expected more from you.

Yours,

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Today's letter - Sons, daughters and legacy

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Like you, I’m a dad who wants the best for his kids – both now, and in their adult lives. While my kids are no less likely to be gay because they have gay parents, the well-publicized research of Psychologist Anthony Bogaert indicates that your son Christopher is twice as likely to be gay as your son Patrick. As a public figure, do you plan to let your childrens’ private sexual orientation affect your public decision making?

I have written before about Dick Cheney who said that he believes “Freedom means Freedom for Everybody,” and Mayor Jerry Sanders who said he cannot tell people they are “less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation."

Critics have said that both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Cheney let their personal lives influence their decision-making because they have children who are gay. But to see what happens when public figures make decisions in spite of their family, look no further than your late friends Representative Sonny Bono and State Senator Pete Knight.

Despite co-authorship of DOMA from one and the notorious Proposition 22 from the other, their children are just as gay as the Cheney’s. Mr. Knight’s son even married his love Joe Lazzaro in San Francisco – a marriage later annulled by his own father’s law. These kids are living full lives, yet not able to participate fully in our economy and community because of who they love and their fathers’ legacy.

Nothing any of these men said would have stopped their kids from becoming who they are. But on the way two of these men did things to make the world better for their kids, and two worked to make it worse. Yes, perhaps Mr. Sanders and Mr. Cheney let their decisions be influenced by their personal lives instead of political directives, but the world is better for it.

I want my kids to have the freedom to marry the person that they like and love – regardless of their religion, race or gender. I would hope you would want the same. I invite you to speak out about how important it is for our kids to have the freedom to marry regardless of their sexual orientation. Who knows? It might be in your personal best interest too.

Yours,

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Today's letter - Salvation Army Undermines World AIDS Effort

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today is World AIDS Day. It’s an awful disease. Government is not doing enough, and the religious are doing even less.

The US branch of the Salvation Army ignores this day to ring bells in suburbia. They divert money from direct aid in order to block the only things that are shown to stop the disease: needle exchange, condoms, and commitments like same-sex marriage. They use the excuse of religion to pick and choose who they help – reserving food baskets and employee health care for people who meet their myopic definition of family.

Money can not “do the most good” when it is dispensed with an agenda influenced not by compassion but by judgment. Nobody can help people when they hate them.

I wish you would say something this holiday season about how the Salvation Army is undermining the fight against AIDS with its old-testament evangelical superstitiously-based policies. The Salvation Army may be entitled to their beliefs, but Californians deserve to know what beliefs they are funding.

Yours,

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