Friday, June 13, 2008

Today's letter - an opportunty to reaffirm justice and freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

With the upcoming Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage, I think we are missing a great opportunity. Everybody is framing this as a risk that voters will “take away marriage” and cause “legal chaos for same-sex couples across the country,” or in your case, just plain “unnecessary.”

We should be looking at this as an historic opportunity for the people to reaffirm what the Supreme Court said: using the Constitution to take an entire class of people and treat them differently because of how they were born or what they believe is fundamentally wrong.

Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country. Please urge the people of California to uphold the constitution, and vow to vote no on Amendments to Limit freedom and liberty.

Sincerely,



Today’s stamp: Silver Surfer, from the Marvel Comics “Super Heroes” collection. Mr. Surfer took the threat of the destruction of his home planet and turned it into an opportunity to do good.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Today's letter - the Christian thing to do

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I know that you aren’t supposed to be mixing religion and government, but since this whole “Limit on Marriage” thing comes out of a strange interpretation of the bible and a government-sponsored intolerance for religious beliefs, I wish you would consider how the church is embracing this decision as it relates to your public policy. It is, as Rev. Mark Hallahan pointed out, “the most important issue to face the church since slavery.”

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, issued this unequivocal statement:

Today's Supreme Court decision on same-gender relationships is important because it reflects our baptismal vow to "strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being" and our commitment to justice and mercy for all people.

I celebrate and give thanks for this decision of the court and look forward with joy and excitement to a future of justice and mercy for all people in the State of California and the Episcopal Church.

To paraphrase St. Paul, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord.

J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of Los Angeles


Far from forcing churches to perform ceremonies, this decision lets churches that believe in the dignity of every human being exercise their religious freedom and perform the ceremonies. In a brilliant example of “practice what you preach” All Saints’ Pasadena is opening their doors to marriage and will perform their first same-sex wedding on June 18.

I wish you had signed AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, when it was on your desk. I hope now you understand why the courts are forcing you to do the American and Christian thing, and support the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,


Today's stamp: "Iron Man" from the Marvel Comics Super Heroes Collection. Iron Man used an accident as an opportunity to don an impenetrable shell of iron and change from advocating injustice into a knight fighting against it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today's letter - governors Wallace and Schwarzenegger

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

It was 1963 – just 45 years ago today – that Governor George Wallace stood in a campus doorway while attempting to exclude two black students from the University of Alabama.

Telling people that they’re too dumb to attend school, then standing in the doorway while they are trying to do it, is just stupid. Excluding even one person from fully participating in our economy and society hurts us all.

Now 45 years later, the same people who were opposed to racial integration are trying to block same-sex marriage. They say that homosexuals are not capable or worthy of forming long-term stable relationships, then slam the door on those who simply seek that stability. It’s the same argument, and it’s still stupid.

Every bone in my body knows that all of our fundamental freedoms depend on equal legal protections. It is un-American and un-Christian to stand in the way of people who are just trying to do the right thing.

I thank God that you aren’t the kind of governor George Wallace was, and that you’re willing to fight with us to change “separate but equal” into “equal,” even against the policy of your political party.

Sincerely,



Today's stamp: "Toward equality in our schools" celebrating the Mendez v. Westminster decision to integrate our schools. That was 1947 - who argues for segregation now?

Another Letter to TiVo president Tom Rogers about Focus on the Family sweepstakes

Tom Rogers, President
TiVo Inc.
150 East 52nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022

June 11, 2008


Dear Mr. Rogers:

I wrote to you last week about your partnership with Focus on the Family on the "SuperDad" promotion at http://www.family.org/fathersday.

Since I first wrote, I learned that in addition to myself, more than thirty individuals in my gay parenting group have posted entries to this competition, and Focus on the Family has discarded every one of those entries.

I feel kind of badly that my family can’t participate in this promotion just because my kids have two dads. But I feel really lousy every time I pick up my TiVo remote, knowing that my favorite thing in the house is linked to the anti-American and anti-Christian behavior practiced by Focus on the Family. You wouldn’t like it if you couldn’t enter a contest because of your race, religion, or gender; yet TiVo seems to condone this behavior.

I understand that you also operate an affiliate program called “KidZone.” While those affiliates include the PTA, YWCA, After School Alliance, Smart Television Alliance, Common Sense Media, Parents Choice Foundation, National Education Association and others, Focus on the Family stands alone in teaching children that homosexuality is a disease that needs to be “cured,” and that people who are gay are less capable or worthy of raising children in a stable caring relationship than their straight counterparts. Such untruthful hateful policies are responsible for marginalizing our families and raising the rate of attempted suicide among lesbian and gay teens to more than four times that of heterosexual youth.

If TiVo is truly interested in creating a safe-space for children, then Focus on the Family needs to be excluded from that place.

Your terms and conditions say “TiVo reserves the right to reject affiliate sites with objectionable content at its full discretion.” Your logo and copyright rules assert that you have full control over their use. There are many organizations that do not teach kids to hate their neighbors, and I wish TiVo would partner with them instead of Focus on the Family.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today's letter - everybody loves a wedding

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

People are asking me, and probably still asking you, why the gays can’t just get Domestic Partnered instead of married.

As my fiancée and I prepare for our wedding next Tuesday, in terms of personal life milestones, it is not a Big Deal. We have already looked each other in the eyes and made our promises to each other. This license and ceremony doesn’t hold much meaning for us. It won’t change our legal rights, and it won’t change our relationship. So we’re getting married in the courthouse on the first day that we can.

But as somebody who has “jumped the broom” and domestic partnered, let me tell you that there is a world of difference in the way other people treat a marriage. A wedding is a Big Deal. Friends and family are getting upset that we hadn’t invited them; the in-laws are griping that we’re doing this in Orange County instead of closer to them; the rector at our church told us that she is upset that we aren’t allowing her to perform the ceremony; and my fiancée is out buying new tuxes and rings.

Nobody was this interested when we were getting Domestic Partnered. So when people ask you not to call it marriage, think back to your own wedding to Maria. Who would have come to a “domestic partnership?”

Whether people want to get married in the Central Library or a quiet courtroom, the Golden Rule still says “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Now, finally, you can do that.

Sincerely,


Today’s stamp: “wedding heart.” They don’t make “civil union” heart stamps.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Today's letter - driving for change

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

On this day in 1909, Alice Huyler Ramsey arrived in San Francisco to become the first woman to drive the 3,800 miles across the United States from coast to coast, showing the people of the time what was obvious but not taught: that there are no limits inherent to gender.

The twenty-one-year-old Vassar graduate, accompanied by two sisters and a female friend, took fifty-nine days to cross in a green Maxwell 30. She later became a successful author and the first woman inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

At the time of her crossing, it was a “big deal” because it undermined those who were teaching that women were less capable than men and less worthy of making individual decisions simply because of what was between their legs.

Now, 99 years later, we are still having problems understanding that both women and men can be both mothers and fathers. Thank God we have finally understood that there are no limits to marriage.

Sincerely,



Today’s stamp: “Vintage Mahogany Speedboat” The 1915 craft pictured could reach speeds of 30 miles per hour whether driven by a woman or a man.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Today's letter - celebrate with us

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today was the annual Pride parade through West Hollywood. Why weren’t you there?

California was celebrating a huge victory: the end of tyranny over the personal lives and individual decisions of their people.

175,000 people turned out including just about every elected official up to (but not including) you.

The Unitarians and Episcopalians were there in force – both will be performing same-sex weddings in their churches next week. The parents were there with huge contingents from PFLAG and Pop-luck. The businesses were there, with Time Warner Cable broadcasting the parade and WaMu sponsoring the main entertainment stage with Gelson’s, SAAB, Pepsi and Bud Light rounding out the participation. And celebrities were there and too many to mention.

"I think there's a renewed energy in the community about gay marriage," said Sheriff's Capt. Buddy Goldman, who runs the department's West Hollywood station. "There really is an upbeat feeling."

I wish you and your Republican could celebrate with us, about individuals being able to make individual decisions about themselves and their families without being second-guessed by their government and their governor.

Sincerely,

Today's stamp: "Celebrate"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Today's letter - doing his duty for eighteen years

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I would like to point out a saint in your midst.

For 18 years, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and State Clerks Association President Stephen Weir has been in charge of the county’s office that hands out marriage licenses, even though he has been unable to get a license himself because the love of his life happens to be a man.

On June 17th, Weir and his fiancée John Hemm will approach the counter Weir runs to get a license for themselves; shortly after that, they will go to exchange vows in the conference room that Weir himself had converted into a wedding chapel – but could never use.

Weir says "I've waited all of this time to be able to walk into my own office and stand in line and pay $85 to buy a license and have a ceremony. It's a big deal."

Governor, is there an award that we can give Stephen Weir for patiently doing his duty all these years while his “customers” would, every day, receive something he could not? What do you give somebody who did his job, even though knew that limiting love based on people’s gender or religion was wrong?

When you hear stories of clerk-recorders from other counties who won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court ruling (and basic human decency,) you realize how, truly, Stephen Weir is a citizen among citizens and a saint among saints.

Sincerely,

Today's stamp: "Jury Duty"

Friday, June 6, 2008

Today's letter - hate lost, now it's time to do good

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As you know, the California Supreme Court has decided that same-sex marriages will proceed, consistent with its ruling and the State Constitution.

In trying to convince the court to postpone the marriages until after a vote in November, the Opponents of Equality, specifically the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Campaign for California Families, claimed that “legal chaos” would result if marriage licenses were issued for six months and then blocked by a constitutional amendment. They might be right.

Well, the marriages are proceeding, and they are at risk of being overturned. If the Opponents of Equality truly want to avoid a nightmare scenario of national “legal chaos,” then it is their turn to give a little.

I think it would be sportsman-like and morally right for the Opponents of Equality to end their war against their neighbors and friends by taking the $10 million earmarked for divisive hate politics and contribute it towards healing the sick or feeding the poor. Or perhaps they could focus on the parental notification initiative that might bring a surprising number of allies from the lesbian and gay community.

Governor, please tell the Opponents of Equality – and your Republican colleagues – that fighting against the law of the land, and against California’s families, is unacceptable. Please ask them to end their support of the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage.

Sincerely,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Today's letter - Republicans are not acting republican

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I voted Tuesday in my last election as a registered Republican. It is sad for me to resign my membership in the Republican party, but the party has strayed too far from a principle that individuals are empowered to make individual decisions.

In particular, as a gay dad, I was lucky enough to find somebody who I like and love, and who loves me in return. We finally won the freedom to make the intimate decision to commit to marriage. But the Republicans, with you as the exception, continue to fight to take that away.

Your party platform glibly informs that “it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman” and “we oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.” – teachings that are designed deny me my freedom to choose who I marry and make individual decisions about how I live my life.

A moral compass that lets one claim individual freedom, yet ostracize ones neighbors is neither American nor Christian, and I want no part of it.

I urge you, for the future of the Republican party, to help the GOP and California State Republican Assembly overcome their hatred and bias in order to open the tent to all individuals who want to make California a better place.

Sadly,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Today's letter - a modern dividing line


Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The Mason-Dixon line was used to separate slave states from free states. We have managed to divide our country once again, this time with the battle lines that limit marriage.

Ten states – not even our neighbors – are asking California’s Supreme Court not to lift the special ban on same-sex marriages.

The Opponents of Equality are arguing that they might have to recognize our marriages in their own states, in case the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and their own states’ Constitutional Amendments are somehow struck down.

While these states may or may not have the right to exclude their fellow Americans from fully participating in their economy and society, that is up to them. Trying to punish Californians for their bigoted intolerance is reprehensible.

What is particularly sad is that they don’t even want to block California marriages altogether – they just want them to go away until November, when a Constitutional Amendment (that has not even qualified for the ballot) might stop them.

Please, Governor, join your Attorney General Jerry Brown in opposing these unfortunate attempts to second guess the California Supreme Court and undermine basic human rights in your state.

Sincerely,

Letter to TiVo president Tom Rogers about Focus on the Family sweepstakes

Tom Rogers, President
TiVo Inc.
150 East 52nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022

June 4, 2008

I noticed that you are partnering with Focus on the Family "SuperDad" promotion at family.org/fathersday.

What were you thinking? As a gay man, Focus on the Family is like the Ku Klux Clan to me. They are spending $11 million this year to block committed couples in California from making the commitment of marriage. They operate "ex-gay" programs, such as the one that just concluded in Orlando, that teach kids who think they might be gay that their only options are celibacy or suicide. They proclaim on their home page that "God created humans in His image, intentionally male and female, each bringing unique and complementary qualities to sexuality and relationships." And that kind of talk gets people like me beaten, harassed and killed just for who we are.

While I believe these positions and ministries are un-American and un-Christian, I can't fault Focus on the Family for believing them. However your sponsorship of these wicked activities gives them credibility. If TiVo believes what Focus on the Family is preaching, God help you. Otherwise, I wish you would reconsider the "SuperDad" promotion and the message that it is sending.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Today's letter - what is up with Oklahoma?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

What is up with Oklahoma? As individual politicians incite what can only be described as xenophobia, guardians of equality remain silent.

Seventeen House Republicans refused to accept a goodwill copy of the Quran from the Ethnic American Advisory Council, based on the (incorrect) assumption that "Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology." The political fallout? None.

One law, HB1804, makes it illegal to provide education or health care to undocumented immigrants, including infants; requires police to check the immigration status of anyone "suspected" of being in this country illegally; makes it a felony to give an illegal immigrant a ride; forbids the issuance of birth certificates to a child if one parent was an illegal alien; and confiscates the property of anyone caught violating HB1804. There was not even a rally against this one – supporters are cowering in legitimate fear.

Then to ice the cake, Republican Rep. Sally Kern focused on gays and lesbians, calling them more of a threat “than terrorism or Islam,” and calling them – us – a “cancer.”

Kern did not apologize – she instead got a standing ovation shortly after her comments were made public. Kern explained "I told the people when I was running for this office that I was a Christian candidate and that I believed we were in a cultural war for the very existence of our Judeo-Christian values." Values that killed Matt Shepherd. Nice values.

I am so happy to work and live in California, where all of our citizens are welcomed to fully participate in our economy and society. Thank you, Governor, for making and keeping it that way.

Sincerely,

Today's stamp: "Oklahoma" plus a three-cent "USA" makeup stamp.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Today's letter - beyond California

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Now that it appears that we might finally have removed the barriers to the freedom to marry here in California, it is time to begin to turn our attention to letting Californians travel to other parts of the country and participate in the federal rights and responsibilities of marriage our state pays into and her citizens deserve.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the short title of a federal law of the United States passed on September 21, 1996 as Public Law No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419. Its provisions are codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C. The law has two effects:

1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.

2. The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

As you represent California to the rest of the country and the rest of the world, please don’t forget to ask, on behalf of the Citizens who support you, that other places extend the same dignity and respect to California’s citizens that California will always provide to them.

Sincerely,



Today’s stamp: “California Poppy,” representing California to the country and the world.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Today's letter - happy pride!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Happy Gay Pride Month! June was declared Gay Pride Month by President Clinton in 2000, partially in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, and partially in reconciliation for the Defense of Marriage Act that he signed during his first term.

“With each passing year the American people become more receptive to diversity and more open to those who are different from themselves. Our Nation is at last realizing that gays and lesbians must no longer be "strangers among friends," as the civil rights pioneer David Mixner once noted. Rather, we must finally recognize these Americans for what they are: our colleagues and neighbors, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, friends and partners.”

I look forward to a day when we don’t need to have a special month, but all Americans can just simply live as “colleagues and neighbors, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, friends and partners.” Please, Governor, continue your work to bring the Freedom to Marry to California as soon as possible, and to defeat the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage so we can keep this victory over intolerance on our own soil.

Sincerely,



Today’s stamp: “Towards Diversity in our Schools” celebrating the 1947 decision making Americans more open to those who are different from themselves.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Today's letter - take a memo

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The Governor of New York, Gov. David Paterson, issued a memo to State agencies last week, including those governing insurance and health care, saying they must immediately change policies and regulations to make sure "spouse," "husband" and "wife" are clearly understood to include gay couples. “New York has a tradition of recognizing marriages performed elsewhere. This is not new law, but a simple extension of that policy.”

Would you do the same for us in California? Such a memo might be targeted, for instance, at our state EDD who currently “redefines” marriage as HUSBAND/WIFE rather than deferring to the Family Code for the definition of Spouse. It might help the many county clerks offices who are resisting compliance with the law. And it would help underscore what you have said, that the Executive branch is fully committed to supporting the legislative and judicial branches in swatting out unfair treatment of California’s citizens.

Yours,


Today’s stamp: The Incredible Hulk from the Marvel Comics Super Heroes collection. What the EDD is doing should make you angry. Be my superhero again: terminate the hate that lingers in your government!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Today's letter - Germany's apology

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

"Germany wants to honor the persecuted and murdered victims, to keep alive the memory of the injustice they suffered," and provide "a lasting symbol against intolerance and hostility towards gays and lesbians and against their alienation." Those words (or in German, probably one really long word) are on a plaque on a new monument in Berlin.

Nazi Germany's campaign against homosexuals began in 1933 and by 1945 more than 50,000 men were convicted and separated from their liberty and property. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 of them were sent to concentration camps. Gay men (and those perceived to be gay) were forced to wear pink triangles and were sometimes used as medical guinea pigs.

Unlike other groups of Nazi victims, the persecution of the gay community continued under the same law, with more than 50,000 convictions before a 2002 government pardoned them and finally abolished the legislation.

Here in America, we like to think that we are better than the Third Reich, yet in 2008 we still convicting our own citizens of being gay, forcing them to wear “domestic partnerships” and separating them from the financial and social stability that only the time-tested law of marriage can provide.

It is urgent that this ostracism, bullying and unequal treatment end. Please continue to support the freedom to marry and the downfall of the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage.

Yours,

Today’s stamp: Wolverine from X-Men. Little is known of Wolverine’s past, but we do know “those who forget their past are doomed to relive it.” Wolverine uses his skills to help protect a world that hates and fears mutants like himself.

Letter to Focus on the Family about unisex bathrooms and fear-mongering

Gary Schneeberger
Vice President for Media Relations
Focus on the Family
8605 Explorer Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80995

May 30, 2008

Dear Mr. Schneeberger:

In his May 30, 2008 press release “Dr. Dobson Decries Ritter's Signing of SB200,” Dr. Dobson explains that because of this Colorado law removing the requirement for businesses to maintain separate restrooms for men and women, that "Henceforth, every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence.”

While I can understand Dr. Dobson’s concern about how this law might affect personal safety and decency, I would like to ask for a broader explanation from Dr. Dobson how a “bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual” poses a threat that women and little girls should fear more than Dr. Dobson walking in himself.

Would it be possible to arrange for Dr. Dobson to explain to me how teaching women to fear those who are simply honest about their sexual attractions serves to advance his stated goals of personal safety or gender-specific restrooms?

Sincerely,

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today's letter - the cost of freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Two million dollars a week for the next ten weeks. That is what the two sides in the gay marriage fight will be spending to either stop, or keep gay marriage in California.

Imagine how much good we could do with $20 million. My church, All Saints Beverly Hills, hosts 100 homeless people every Monday, sends children to visit their incarcerated parents on Mother’s day, rotates eight people through New Orleans, and operates ravenous family, mercy and justice ministries. Their entire 2008 budget would be gone in a week. Every penny raised by the Los Angeles AIDS Walk would be spent in two weeks. The entire annual budget of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) would only last nine weeks.

I sometimes wonder if the gays would get more media by just taking the money sending it all to New Orleans. But then I think of the 50,000 domestic partners in California and how much less stress and worry they will have with the irreplaceable time-tested stability of marriage. And all California’s children, who will discover that their government supports their freedom to grow up and be who they are, and if they are lucky enough to find love, they can pursue it instead of celibacy, suicide or a vampire-like Larry Craig lifestyle.

Clearly, every penny we spend defending the freedom to marry is well spent.

Yours,



Today’s Stamp: “Mickey Mouse” from “The Art Of Disney: Magic” postage stamp series.
$20 million is 1/10th the annual budget of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America.
$20 million is $1.25 from every visitor to Disneyland in Anaheim.
$20 million would fund the war in Iraq for two hours. .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Today's letter - everybody knows that it is time

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

A Field Poll of 1,052 registered California voters asked “Do you approve or disapprove of California allowing homosexuals to marry members of their own sex?” and for the first time since 1977 – when California’s law was changed to ban the unions – a majority answered that yes, they do support same-sex marriage.

As my Aunt wrote after she saw our story in the Chicago Tribune, “It’s about time.” The Wall Street Journal described it on their May 24 Opinion page, “Court Allows Gay Marriage: Tyranny or Its End?” And my Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa said “It's time for us to bring every American out of the shadows and into the light, and this decision does that here in California.

Personally, I’m hoping to marry my fiancée of eleven years in a couple of weeks, and my friends, family and church are on the edge of their seats.

Please, Governor, keep supporting the freedom to marry in our great state. Keep fighting against the amendment. And most of all, please do whatever you can to make sure marriages start as soon as possible and continue after November.

Yours,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today's letter - freedom, authorized

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I read today that the California Office of Vital Records told the head of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, Stephen Weir, that clerks would be authorized to hand out marriage licenses to all couples – not just heterosexual ones - as soon as Saturday, June 14! That works well for our plans.

The following Tuesday, June 17, would be the eleven year anniversary of when my fiancée Frank and I first met. We have already looked each other in the eyes and promised each other, our families and God that we would share our lives together forever, but this recent ruling allows us to have that event witnessed, blessed and recorded by our government.

We would like to get married on June 17, and if you are available, would like to invite you to perform the ceremony. You have been a pivotal individual in this quest for marriage, having chilled the San Francisco weddings and vetoed our two previous legislative attempts. We would want to have the event here in the Los Angeles area so our older parents and infant children won’t have to travel, but we could also come to Sacramento.

Getting married will make us and our entire extended family happy. Having you perform the ceremony would be icing on the cake. Please let us know your intentions as soon as possible since we don’t have much time to make plans.

Sincerely,

Monday, May 26, 2008

Today's letter - in support of Harvey Milk

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I am writing in support of the bill to create Harvey Milk Day in California in honor of the slain member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Just like the recent Supreme Court decision that removed the ban on gay marriage gave hope to every American who is “different,” Harvey Milk’s message and legacy gave hope to the disenfranchised, humiliated and beaten-down youth minorities of his day.

"I ask for the movement to continue because my election gave young people out there hope. You gotta give 'em hope," he said shortly before his assassination.

Thank you for supporting Harvey Milk Day and keeping alive a legacy that every person can hope to have their dreams come true.

Yours,

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Today's letter - form letter is chilling

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

A short time ago, I wrote to you in support of the California Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. Yesterday I received a form letter response from your office that was very nicely written, however factually inaccurate and intellectually offensive to California families, including mine.

You wrote that “Proposition 22 … stated that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized on California,” but you choose to leave out an important detail: Proposition 22 was added to Section 308.5 of the Family Code. I have attached a copy of the Family Code; Section 308.5 has nothing to do with marriages performed in California.

Section 300 (a) (also highlighted) was actually changed by the legislature in 1977 and signed by then-governor Attorney General Jerry Brown, something the legislation was specifically designed to address, something I pointed out to you almost a year ago, and a fact that the recent Supreme Court decision mentions explicitly.

So when you write that you vetoed the legislative efforts to amend the marriage laws because of the sanctity of voter initiatives, you are not being honest. You could have signed the bills and responded to the legal challenge with the same argument about Section 308.5 and the unclear intent of the voters.

But the worst part of your response to the Supreme Court Ruling is that you will merely “abide by the rulings of the state’s highest court.” It sounds to me like you are a sore loser. I wish you would join the people in celebrating the end of government tyranny in individuals’ personal and private lives.

1. Urge that same-sex marriages commence with all due haste.
2. Prod citizens to contribute to humanitarian efforts instead of limits on marriage.
3. Ask the Republican party to remove offensive language from the party platform.
4. Say all good citizens should vote against the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage.

Sincerely yours,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Today's letter - justification for taking away rights

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

When can the Constitution take away the rights of individuals to participate in our economy and society? That was a question that the 9th circuit court decided in the case of Maj. Margaret Witt, an Air Force nurse who cared for injured patients on military flights and in operating rooms for nearly 20 years until she was discharged on the grounds that she had a six-year relationship with another woman, a civilian.

The court did not vacate “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the policy that was used to oust Witt, but observed that the government may only "intrude upon the personal and private lives of homosexuals" to "advance an important governmental interest," such as maintaining troop readiness or improving morale – and Witt, in fact, did the opposite.

"Wounded people never asked me about my sexual orientation," Witt said in a statement. "They were just glad to see me there."

In response to California’s Supreme Court decision, I wish you would do more than merely “abide” but instead celebrate the end of government tyranny in individuals’ personal and private lives.

1. urge that same-sex marriages commence with all due haste.
2. urge citizens to contribute to humanitarian efforts instead of limits on marriage.
3. ask the Republican party to remove offensive language from the party platform.
4. ask all good citizens to vote in November, but vote against the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage.

Sincerely,

Friday, May 23, 2008

Today's letter - bigot begone!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Eddie Walker, the principal of Irmo High School in Columbia, S.C., announced he will resign from his post after the district approved a gay-straight alliance that supposedly conflicts with his religious beliefs. "Allowing the formation of this club on our campus conflicts with my professional beliefs and religious convictions," Walker wrote in his resignation.

The club provides support for gay, lesbian and straight students from an often hostile school environment. Reports show that in 2007, 31 percent of gay students were threatened or injured and 18 percent were physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation. The Lexington-Richmond School District could not stop the club from forming because of federal law prohibiting a club from being banned because of religious bias.

"We truly believe it is unfortunate that this principal cannot see the immense harm that is caused when a social climate of rejection, condemnation and violence is justified with misguided religious belief," said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith in America.

California law now bans prohibiting individuals from getting married because of religious bias. There will undoubtedly be some people who will resign from the County Clerks offices because they are unwilling to uphold the law. When that happens, we must simply remember what President Eisenhower said when he considered ending the traditional segregation of the blood supply into “Colored,” “White–Hebrew,” and “White-Christian” in 1950. The Red Cross told him that the South wouldn’t accept “mixed blood.” Eisenhower replied “then the South will not get any blood!” and issued an executive order ending the practice.

If Eddie Walker doesn’t want a gay-straight alliance at his school, then he is free to leave. “Those who deny freedoms to others deserve them not for themselves.”

Sincerely,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Today's letter - marriages will be overturned

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I want to give you a window into the constant “buzz” of hatred that pervades my daily life.

A YouTube user named "Danielstwin" commented on one of my YouTube videos saying

“we will see lololo [California’s fag marriages] will be overturned... no fags”

to which I immediately replied

“According to your profile, you are a fan of Ron Paul and his philosophy of libertarianism, and you talk about freedom for everybody. But you won't let the gays get married. Instead you run around the internet calling people 'fag' when they haven't done anything to you. Abraham Lincoln said "those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves." If you really want your own freedom - Ron Paul fan - you are obliged to give it to others. You'll be surprised [by what happens when you give freedom.]
“Danielstwin” followed up with a personal message:

i have many gay friends and mother was a lesbian for years....i have no problem and think fag may have been a little over board. i just get tired of hearing liberals cry over all there bullshit. i am athiust and beleive that only woman and men should be married.. if there was a private island for gays to live and be wed great but there is not and i do not want my kids asking me growing up why are those men kissing. give me a break what is this country teaching are children... you know the facts are the facts a top DNA expert of the usa has said blacks are not as smart as whites and are more barbaric. they cant help it its in there animalistic being.,and he said he can prove it... so why hide this were did this guy go??????? we have been enslaved they freed slaves and endlaved all of us..... well sorry if i offended you but no gay weddings... if men were suppost to be together a man could get pregnant. if you can pull that off i will agree lolol daniel

I was obliged to respond, as I am prone to do.

Greetings, Daniel. If you have many lesbian and gay friends (and close relatives) then you know that they just want to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anybody else.

My husband and I have been together through two of Britney Spears' marriages. We looked each other in the eyes and made the same promises that every married couple does on Valentine's Day 2004. We had two kids through a process called gestational surrogacy that was developed to help infertile couples have children. We both did our part as men, and we were just as pregnant as any man can ever be. Our kids were baptized in our Episcopal church and they're just learning to walk.

Our family knows we are married, our friends know we are married, our church knows we are married, and now finally even our state acknowledges that we are married.

I am probably more tired of liberals crying over their bullshit than even you! I don't care about rubbing my sexuality into other people's faces. But I am also tired of seeing my neighbors - and good people like yourself - running around saying that people like me - who happens to believe marriage is about more than sex - are not entitled to their beliefs, or their freedom.

I hope that when your kids see two men kissing, you can teach them that while you might not like it, this is a free country and that those men must love each other a whole lot - just like your parents love each other. Loving somebody doesn't make somebody less human; in fact, doesn't it make them more?

What is better, teaching your kids the difference between love and sex, or that it's OK to run around calling anybody they disagree with a 'fag?'


Same-sex marriage doesn't hurt anybody. And let's face it - if America sent all of her gays to an island, everybody would want to visit!

Governor, I am proud to live in a country where people can express their beliefs and ideas freely without fear of retribution. I am blessed that God gave me the means, wisdom and opportunity to speak back. When I do, I have the power to change hearts and minds; but every time I do, I wonder what citizenship we have been teaching our children that they can claim their freedom to speak, believe and marry, yet stop short of allowing those freedoms to others.

The Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage before voters this fall is the test of that citizenship. I pray that California will past the test by defeating the measure, and leave no American behind.

Sincerely,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today's letter - landmark leadership and movement milestones

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Some argue that social change takes time, but the reality is that it can happen quite suddenly when individuals in positions of power take action to stomp out ridiculous “traditions.”

When President Eisenhower considered ending the traditional segregation of the blood supply into “Colored,” “White–Hebrew,” and “White-Christian” in 1950, the Red Cross told him that the South wouldn’t accept “mixed blood.” Eisenhower replied “then the South will not get any blood!” and issued an executive order ending the practice.

You had a chance to stamp out the traditional practice of segregating marriage into “heterosexual” and “homosexual” varieties with AB 849 in 2005 and again with AB 43 in 2007. Instead of stepping up, you forced the people to ask the Supreme Court to get rid of the practice. They said what we all know: “An individual’s sexual orientation … does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.” You have been spared the political embarrassment of doing the right thing, and the Supreme Court gets history’s nod for making the change that will improve life for so many Californians, including me.

Won’t you at least see that the court’s decision is respected and implemented as soon as possible? Change has arrived. Embrace it or move aside.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Today's letter - I expect our government to follow the law

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I discovered something terrible. Our own state Economic Development Department (EDD) has an entire tax unit and legal status called “HUS/WIFE.” The California Business and Professions Code Section 17913 (b) (4) even seems to authorize this, listing options describing the nature of the business as

(i) "an individual,"
(ii) "a general partnership,"
(iii) "a limited partnership,"
(iv) "a limited liability company,"
(v) "an unincorporated association other than a partnership,"
(vi) "a corporation,"
(vii) "a trust,"
(viii) "copartners,"
(ix) "husband and wife,"
(x) "joint venture,"
(xi) "state or local registered domestic
partners," or
(xii) "a limited liability partnership."

I don’t know why our EDD doesn’t just use the term “married couple” instead of “husband and wife.” Article 1 Section 8 of our State Constitution says “A person may not be disqualified from entering or pursuing a business, profession, vocation, or employment because of sex, race, creed, color, or national or ethnic origin.” Our 2005 Domestic Partnership legislation ordered this gender specific language to be changed, and it seems as though our State Supreme Court agrees.

The EDD ought to defer to the Family Code for the definition of marriage instead of making up their own. The EDD expects me to follow the law; I expect no less from the EDD.

Sincerely,

Monday, May 19, 2008

Today's letter - divided a little less

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I am so happy that the State Supreme Court made an enlightened ruling guided by Republican judges that cannot be overturned except by changing our very Constitution to specifically Limit Marriage.

Our forefathers thought that religious and personal freedom was important enough to put into the Constitution, and taking it out doesn't seem like something that would help anybody.

But the nation is horribly divided. One side says that their religion doesn’t allow for my gay marriage; the other says that the Constitution doesn’t allow one group of people to be plucked out and treated differently just because of what they think or believe.

A divided house is particularly precarious. Divided, we will fall. Abraham Lincoln said “I do not expect this house to fall, but I do expect it to cease to be divided.” That is what the Supreme Court did – they forced us to unite.

Aldous Huxley wrote in “Antic Hay” back in 1923 "Liberty? Why it doesn't exist. There is no liberty in this world, just gilded cages." The Supreme Court made my cage a lot prettier; the upcoming Amendment reminds me that it is merely a cage.

Thank you, Governor, for fighting against this amendment. It makes the cage of liberty a little bit bigger, and that is a good thing for us and for America.

Sincerely,

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today's letter - McCain and Hagee are still married

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Your friend Senator John McCain spent a whole year wooing an endorsement from San Antonio televangelist John Hagee. As a person of faith myself, I find it nice that Senator McCain would reach out to all kinds of people.

The problem is that Senator McCain’s new friend is my old enemy. Hagee told NPR in 2006 – long before McCain started courting him – that New Orleans had suffered "the judgment of God" because of its "level of sin," referring to a conspiracy theory that God wiped out scores of disenfranchised Americans to punish the gays.

Hagee also calls the Catholic Church – your church, Governor – “the great whore" and "a false cult system." And all without any retribution from Senator McCain.

One might use the word that Senator McCain used to criticize his likely opponent Senator Obama for reaching out to our enemies: appeasement. Yes, Senator McCain has done nothing but appease John Hagee.

Two famous sayings come to mind. “You are judged by the company you keep” and “you can’t govern people that you hate.” If Senator McCain wants my vote, he is going to have to renounce John Hagee; until he does, he is an enemy of liberty.

Sincerely,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Today's letter - the end of tyranny

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The Opponents of Equality claim that the Supreme Court doesn’t have the authority to interpret the Constitution because “it should be the people who decide.” But then they advocate a measure to change the Constitution! One cannot have it both ways.

Either our Constitution means something and our highest court can interpret it, or our Constitution means nothing, in which case there is no need to change it.

I can understand how some people might stand up and oppose equality for whatever reason; I cannot understand how they can oppose equality, oppose the rule of law, and oppose their neighbor’s freedom and still call themselves American.

Proudly,

Friday, May 16, 2008

Today's letter - struggling with patriotism

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I have been struggling to find the right words to express what I was feeling yesterday after the Supreme Court ended California’s ban on marriage.

It was an emotion I hadn’t felt in a long time, and it took me a while to recognize it. A reporter was leaving the house and he asked me if I had specially put up the American Flag that was out in front that day. I explained that we commonly and proudly fly it. Then it struck me. The decision that said “liberty and justice for all” inspired simple, visceral “Patriotism.”

If we can accept lesbian and gay people as part of America, then we can accept anybody. But if we can block these people simply because of what they think or what they believe, then we can block anybody. And that is a sad prospect for us all.

The Opponents of Equality talk about the Tradition of Marriage. We have a 232-year-old Tradition of Liberty. Neither tradition is static, but each grows along with our collective wisdom.

I was proud of my country yesterday and the liberties she indulged in. I was proud of the couples who used their liberty to ask for more. I was proud to stand behind my elected officials as they stood up for me. I was proud to be an American.

Sincerely,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today's letter - you have been terminated!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today was a great day. The State Supreme Court overruled you to say that same-sex couples must be given the "respect and dignity" of marriage because the constitutional protections for race and gender also apply to sexual orientation.

The Los Angeles Times quoted me saying "I think this is the beginning of the end of ostracism, bullying, and all the things that used to make people feel less human than others."

The Los Angeles Times also quoted you – in the paragraph after me, ha ha - saying that you “will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling." Thank you for that. Thank you thank you thank you. But it is a little late for you to be surrendering your authority over my relationships, after that authority was removed.

Because of the Domestic Partnership legislation that you signed and the Federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” my family is honestly not directly affected by this decision at a legal level. But people don’t get married for the rights: they get married for the social acceptance. This decision – and your support of it – sends the clear message that ALL California couples are welcome to commit to marriage and fully participate in our economy and our society.

The real victory is not for us, it is for every struggling teen who thinks they are different, by bringing them the comfort that there is a way to live their life without celibacy or suicide, and their government – and Governor – will support them.

Today was a great day because the State Supreme Court said “freedom means freedom for EVERYBODY,” and my Governor will (finally) fight to make sure that happens.

No longer Yours,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Today's letter - it's a small world

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

With the recent disasters in Myanmar and Sichuan province, we are reminded that we are a large and diverse world.

The traditional, conservative South Pacific island paradise of Tahiti has a social custom that we might think is strange: parents will raise their eldest son as a girl. This is a great honor for both the parents and the child, because the “Mahu,” as they are called, have the most enviable characteristics of both the male and female.

“I am proud of being a Mahu because in Polynesia we belong and we are recognized in this society,” says Coco, a Mahu. “We belong in everyday life.”

Who has the authority to decide if and whom these people should marry in California? Is it you, Governor? Is it society? Or should it be the people who want to get married?

In California, you have made it your job to decide who can marry whom. Now that is a weird custom.

Yours,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today's letter - 158 year-old tradition of tolerance

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I’ve written to you before about the struggle I’ve been having with explaining the special ban on same-sex marriages to my kids, and especially how the Opponents of Equality come to California to throw money, time and mindshare at preventing certain people they have never met, who cause absolutely no harm, from making the fundamental decision of who they marry.

What does one say? “There are some people who hate your daddies so much that they come from across the country to keep them from getting married?” Or perhaps “There are some people who don’t want to share. Remember what we learned about sharing?” Clearly, neither truth would be responsible parenting.

After a 158 year tradition of liberty and tolerance ensconced in the California Constitution, it sure would be a shame to lose that all in a heated moment of intolerance.

Dan Hawes, an organizer with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, explains "There is a real sense of hope and possibility here because of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling. The fact that [hard-won freedom] could be taken away in five months is really painful for people who want to marry."

Please, for my kids and all Californians, give us some moral guidance. Explain to the people that the only right thing to do is to uphold our Constitution that says that nobody should be picked out and treated differently because of what they think or what they believe. That is a tradition of neighborly love, not neighborly hate. That is something I can explain to my kids.

Yours,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Today's letter - sad peoplehaters

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I have a sad tale to share with you from my mail bag, sad because it shows a glimpse of the worst of people. A “foamer” (a.k.a. a rabid irrational Opponent of Equality) wrote to me about my explanation of how Ruth and Naomi provide the best example of love in all of the Old Testament, perhaps a quote you paraphrased at your own wedding: "And Ruth said [to Naomi], Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: …Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." Ruth 1:16-17

YouTuber “LenaLena” wrote me to say “That is extremely disgusting. How dare you twist the story of Ruth and Boaz around?! Ruth fell in love with Boaz. There is no way that the bible supports homosexuality in anyway. Actually, the bible is very clear on where God stands with homosexuality.”

What is so sad and frustrating about this is that the foamers don’t read the Bible they are using as a weapon against their neighbors. I am really tired and frustrated of being treated as less than human by a Church and a Government that is seemingly beholden to these people. Anybody who reads the Bible can see in an instant that Ruth's relationship was with Naomi, not Boaz. And God blesses committed same-sex relationships with abundance:

Ruth 4:17 "And the women her neighbors gave [Ruth’s baby] a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David." And we all know where the House of David leads.

Everybody ought to be able to follow their own personal belief on this – but I wish you would not let the foamers make public policy while my beliefs are trampled by falsehoods and lies.

Yours,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Today's letter - Brothers and Sisters celebrate real relationships

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

On the season finale of the hit series Brothers and Sisters, a major character, Kevin, married his boyfriend Scotty in a high-profile (but not legally binding) ceremony.

Executive producer Monica Breen explains “Kevin deserves a stable relationship in the same way that Kitty, Sarah and all the others deserve it. He will be facing many questions in his life — but now he has someone to share that with.”

Hurrah.

Governor, all Californians deserve to have a stable relationship, and the only way that is possible is through access to the time-tested tradition of marriage. Please continue your support of the Constitution and its mantra, that no Californian should be specially excluded from our economy and society because of who they are or what they believe. Please support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Today's letter - those who deny freedom deserve it not for their daughters

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The President who said that gay Americans are not worthy of marriage had his daughter married off today. I wonder if Henry Hager asked Mr. Bush for permission to marry his daughter? That would be very traditional, and the Bushes seem to be weirdly into what they think is ‘traditional.’

The only thing more daunting than asking the President of the United States for permission to marry might be asking the State Supreme Court for permission to marry. But that is exactly what five couples did after you vetoed their nuptials, and in the next couple of weeks we will get the court’s answer.

It is a shame that adults in this country have to ask other people for permission to marry the person that they love. It is a worse shame that somebody – anybody – would deny it. I feel badly going around you to get this permission, when you ought to be the first to offer it. But it ultimately makes me feel special, because not many people get to ask the Supreme Court for permission to wed.

Yours,

Friday, May 9, 2008

Today's letter - two great men

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Two prominent black gay men are in the news.

John Amaechi is a former NBA player who came out of the closet in February 2007 and became a media sensation — as well as the target for ugly homophobic rants and jokes.

“You’ve got the black people stereotype,” says Amaechi, “that black people are strong, can jump high, are really quick and very masculine. Then because you’ve got this one stereotype of black people, that automatically means they can’t be gay, because you’ve got a different stereotype about what gay people are, both of which are absurd."

Miles away, in Falls Church, Virginia, voters elected the state’s first black and openly gay person to take public office. City Councilman Lawrence Webb said "I hope my election opens the door for others to get involved in public service. It doesn't matter if you're gay or black or both. What matters is your dedication to building a better community and your willingness to work hard at it."

What makes our country great is our Constitution that allows great people to rise to the level of their ability with a blind eye towards their gender, race, age and sexual orientation.

Unless, of course, they want to make the commitment of marriage. In that case, you step in and stop that playing field from being level, based on absurd stereotypes and arguments from those opposed to building a better community. And that’s just not nice.

Yours,

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Today's letter - Michigan shows what marriage bans _really_ do

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I wanted to explain to you why the stakes are so high for this November’s ballot initiative limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Michigan’s State Supreme Court ruled yesterday 5-2 that their 2004 ballot initiative to limit marriage also included “similar unions” and stripped at least 375 gay couples at public universities, community colleges, school districts and local governments of their benefits. It doesn’t’ take a crystal ball to realize that as soon as the Limit on Marriage passes, the Opponents of Equality will be gunning to unwind domestic partnerships too.

Because of the Domestic Partnership legislation that you signed in 2000, I have been able to make a pretty good life here in California, marry my husband and have two kids through surrogacy. I have been able to contribute back to the economy and society through taxes and tithing. But the Limit on Marriage proposition threatens to take all that away.

Your reaction to the initiative that would wreck my life has been merely neutral. I know that there are a lot of other things that are important these days, but could you amp it up a bit? A few words in opposition to the people in your administration, government and political party who are dedicated to eliminating same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption would do wonders. You need only to remind them of the golden rule – and why limiting marriage is a truly bad proposition.

Yours,

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Today's letter - exiled for 25 years

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

On the grand scale of “people doing mean things to other people,” banning same-sex couples from marriage seems pretty insignificant. But with Friday’s death of Mildred Loving, I was reminded of how cruel people can be.

Mrs. Loving, who was black, had married a white man, Richard Loving, in 1958 in Washington, D.C. They returned to their home in Virginia, but that state, along with 15 others at the time, would not recognize their marriage. They were arrested and charged with violating Virginia's law against interracial unions. Under a plea bargain, they received suspended sentences and agreed to leave the state and not return, except separately, for 25 years. They moved to D.C., sued Virginia and the Supreme Court eventually said, yeah, this is a pretty awful way to treat your neighbors and fellow Americans.

California is on the verge of passing an initiative to do a similar nasty thing to her citizens. The Limit on Marriage proposition will change California’s constitution to make it clear that certain couples are not welcome here, just because of who they love.

The proposed “limit on marriage” will cruelly exile same-sex couples from our economy and our society, and teach kids who happen to be gay that there is no alternative for them but celibacy or suicide. That’s not good for anybody.

You have publicly dismissed the Limit on Marriage proposition as a “waste of time” but please consider joining us to explain to all Californians why this is a bad proposition.

Yours,

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Today's letter - United Methodists have their beliefs, why can't I have mine?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Every four years, the United Methodist Church holds a meeting to set church policy. At this year’s conference, the delegates:

- Upheld a church law that says gay and lesbian relationships are “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
- Kept a sentence in the Book of Discipline that says the church “does not condone the practice of homosexuality.”
- Retained a policy that lets pastors deny membership to gays and lesbians.

I think it is great that the United Methodist Church can make and enforce their own laws regarding who is able to participate in their community.

While the United Methodist Church has chosen to exclude lesbian and gay people from their ministry, my Episcopal church (like the Presbyterians, United Church of Christ and Metropolitan Community Church) has taken a different view that goes something along the lines that every human being is worthy of dignity and respect.

Governor, why are the United Methodists allowed to decide that gay couples will not get married in their church, while my church is not allowed to decide that gay couples will be allowed to marry in their church? Worse, why is my government – and my governor – enforcing this?

I’m starting to suspect that the real threat of the ban on same-sex marriage is a government intervention in the way America worships. Removing that freedom begins a slippery slide that will hurt us all.

I wish you would support the freedom to marry. It would not block the United Methodists one bit, but it would free my church to practice our beliefs without interference from you.

Yours,

Monday, May 5, 2008

Today's letter - still slighted on government forms

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I still need your help again to fix the language on California EDD Form DE1-HW. I wrote to you in July 2007 complaining about the checkbox for HUS/WIFE. As members of a California Registered Domestic Partnership trying to hire a nanny, we were quite alienated by this clear state preference for man-on-woman marriages in contrast to the letter and intent of the law that you signed in 2000 authorizing our partnership (and our Constitutional bans on discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.)

At the time you referred us to Mr. Robert Affleck, Deputy Director, Tax Branch, who referred us to Mr. Stan Adge, Tax Administrator, Taxpayer Advocate’s Office. Through ensuing conversations with Mr. Adge, he made it clear that this issue would be considered for the “next revision of the form.” Then he left the department, Ms. Leslie Weiss took over his job, and Ms. Michelle Mosley took over the mantle to fix this form.

According to verbal conversations with Ms. Mosley, “the form has been revised” and is “awaiting internal review” before being released to the Web site. But I have been unable to secure written confirmation if and when this will happen, and nobody in my community has had an opportunity to review the revised form to see if it complies with our need for equal treatment under the law.

Above all, this slow response and obscured process has made me feel as though this critical change to comply with an eight-year-old law is not a priority within EDD as it is within our community. I fear that the process has been derailed, the outcome will further alienate my family, and the result will please no one. This should be an emergency change to comply with state law, not a “suggestion” to be “considered with the next revision.”

Would you “work your magic” to get EDD to take this seriously? I don’t have anybody else to turn to to make sure that as long as lesbian and gay couples are being treated separately in California, they are at least treated equally.

Yours,

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Today's letter - a sad world without any marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

My sister-in-law lives in Germany. There, gay or straight, everybody gets “civil unions” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”

I went to college in Canada. Whether gay or straight, there everybody gets “married” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”

I live in the United States. Here, the government reserves marriage for heterosexual couples and “civil unions” for same-sex couples. The churches are prevented from deciding who they will marry in their ceremonies and blocked from blessing them as “marriage.”

Around the world, from Armenia to Uruguay, government after government is realizing that one way or another, marriage apartheid must end. Abraham Lincoln said “a house divided cannot stand” and we are unquestionably divided.

I wish we would follow Canada’s lead and let everybody get married instead of abolishing it. Marriage is the only time-tested social and legal framework that exists to unite two families – and I’ve always dreamed of getting married, not “civil unioned.”

But I predict that the way this pitched battle will play out in America will be much sadder. Instead of giving everybody the freedom to marry, we will eventually give nobody the freedom to marry.

The end result will be the same: the state will get out of the way of deciding if and who will marry, and leave that intimidate decision to the individuals involved. I will have no trouble finding a church to bless my union, but generations of Americans straight and gay will miss the opportunity to have their government bless their marriage as well.

Yours,

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Today's letter - education and knowlege

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Researchers at Hunter College, Rutgers and New York University asked gay Americans if there is a federal “nondiscrimination” law barring the firing of workers based on their sexual orientation. Only six in 10 gay Americans got the right answer (there is not.)

Pat Egan, an assistant professor of politics at New York University, pointed out that “considering this has been the top priority for advocates in Washington for the past 20 years, that is pretty astounding and disappointing,” and went on to call for more education in the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual community.

The last time the people of California were asked if same-sex couples are as capable and worthy of choosing marriage as their opposite-sex counterparts was in 2000 with Proposition 22. Almost 60% of Californians got that wrong.

Please join me, Governor, in making sure that the people understand that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage – there is everything wrong in denying it.

Yours,

Friday, May 2, 2008

Today's letter - the popular vote

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Do you think civil rights should be decided by an emotional popular vote, or by the ultimate popular vote, the Constitution?

Every human rights victory we hold dear (like suffrage, apartheid, the United Nations and slavery) was installed by decree, not by popular vote.

Please help a pro-same-sex-marriage Supreme Court decision to stick in the law, and in the minds of the people. Please support the freedom to marry for all Californians.

Yours,

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Today's letter - a great precedent

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

In a development that bodes well for a favorable decision in the same-sex marriage case pending in California’s Supreme Court, today’s Wall Street Journal reported that the highest court of the Presbyterian Church ruled that a Northern California minister had not violated denominational law when she officiated at the weddings of two lesbian couples.

A regional judicial committee had rebuked the Rev. Jane Spahr for performing the ceremony, but the church’s high court cleared her of all wrongdoing.

If the Presbyterian Church can witness and support the commitments of committed couples, perhaps someday our government can too.

Yours,

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today's letter - the cream of the crop

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

A comprehensive survey of Gay America was released today, with important implications to California.

The researchers at Hunter College, Rutgers and New York University confirmed that gay Americans are considerably more involved in public life than heterosexual Americans, by volunteering more, writing more letters to newspapers and political officials, attending more protests and rallies, and being roughly twice as likely to vote.

Older generation homosexuals prioritized laws against bias crimes and workplace discrimination, and emphasized "freedom from discrimination," while younger homosexuals placed access to marriage and adoption rights as their highest priorities, and valued "the freedom to live their lives" in similar fashion to heterosexual Americans.

Only about three percent of Americans older than 18 identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, but the community is concentrated in states that provide them with rights and protections: one in three lives in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont or Washington.

One conclusion that you could make, Governor, is that if the proposed initiative to ban same-sex couples passes this November, California will lose some of its most active citizens as we migrate to places that are welcoming.

Another is that a Republican party that insists on banning freedoms like adoption and marriage will have difficulty attracting younger participants.

Finally, you might realize 3% of the population is not going to destroy marriage, while building and maintaining two systems of laws that depend on gender for just 3% of the population is not only morally offensive, but also expensive and short-sighted.

Yours,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Today's letter - my husband

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I’ve been having problems figuring out how to refer to my spouse. A lot of people try to insist that I call him my “registered California Domestic Partner,” but that doesn’t seem right to me.

We have been living as a married couple for ten years, ten months and twelve days; we were officially married at the earliest opportunity, on Valentine’s Day in 2004; we had two kids almost fourteen months ago; this year we even filed joint taxes.

I think I have to refer to my spouse as “my husband.” Anything less would be disrespectful to him and to our relationship, and confusing to the people that don’t quite know what a “partnership” is.

We shouldn’t be making up new words to describe marriages – we should be using the words that society has already defined. I wish you and your administration would do more to help people like me use the right words to describe our relatives and relations. I wish you would explain to the people that blocking same-sex couples from getting married is bad for our economy and our society.

Yours,

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today's letter - Traditional marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

When President Gerald R. Ford was running for his first term in congress in 1948, he delayed his marriage to Elizabeth Warren until after the election because he was worried that voters would punish him for marrying a divorced woman.

That was “traditional marriage” back then: you got one try to get it right, and after that you were ‘defective’ and couldn’t even take communion at church.

Much has changed in fifty years. Now Tom Cruise can get married as many times as he wants to, and nobody bats an eye. Obviously “traditional marriage” is simply a social and economic construct that unites two people and their families according to their individual choice.

Governor, would you help bring “traditional marriage” back to the people, by allowing all of the people of California to marry the person that they want to?

If Gerald Ford can marry a divorced woman and be elected President, I should have the freedom to marry the person I love, whether they are a felon, foreigner, divorcee, widower, ugly, white, Catholic, Republican, or – in my case – male.

Yours,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Today's letter - the price of a soul

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Charles Chesnutt was born in 1858 to two “free persons of color.” This heterosexually-married couple offered to sell their son to slavery, but could only get $23 for him, and turned down the deal.

In the new movie “Baby Mama” the character played by Tina Fey’s (occasionally seedy) character is shocked by the price of surrogacy and quips “It costs more to have somebody born than to have someone killed.” Nevertheless, she proceeds with the surrogacy.

The Opponents of Equality spent about $2 per signature to gather enough support to qualify the Constitutional amendment to limit marriage, and apparently succeeded.

So we have, by successive bidding, effectively determined the price of ones soul. It is $2.

Yours,

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Today's letter - second marriages are immoral

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

We were watching Access Hollywood last night featuring the breakup of Star Jones and Al Reynolds. Their tumultuous relationship gave tabloids the opportunity to explore issues about why people get married, and a chance to speculate about the various motivations of love, money, friendship, children and sex.

What I thought was interesting though was when my domestic partner / fiancée noticed that banning same-sex couples from getting married is just as arbitrary as banning second marriages. Why don’t we ban second marriages?

We don’t ban second marriages – except in the Roman Catholic Church – because marriage is fundamental to uniting families inside a social and economic structure.

So why do we ban same-sex marriages? Is it because their marriages are somehow less fundamental to society and the economy? Or is it to marginalize and punish people for being different?

I think you know the answer to that one, Governor.

Yours,

Friday, April 25, 2008

Today's letter - why do you want war?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Samantha Smith was a ten-year-old girl in 1982 when she wrote to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov about the growing arms race between the countries.

Dear Mr. Andropov,
Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. …I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.
Sincerely,
Samantha Smith

Mr. Andropov wrote back to say

We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country—neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government—want either a big or "little" war.

and went on to invite Samantha and her family to come and visit, noting as anybody who has visited Moscow any other time, that “summer is best.”

As a gay dad, I feel like the Opponents of Equality have declared war on me and my family through a petition initiative to take away my legal and social status with a Constitutional amendment. It doesn’t help that the Republican Party Platform calls for my extermination too, saying that “We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger, I would like to know why you and your administration want to destroy same-sex couples, or at least my family. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.

Yours,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today's letter - A bad proposition

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today the Opponents of Equality are announcing that their proposed Constitutional Amendment to limit marriage will be on the ballot in November.

As a gay dad, I think limiting access to marriage is a bad proposition. It teaches our children who are straight that it is OK to bully people who are different, and it teaches our children who are gay there is no alternative but celibacy or suicide. It prevents parents who are gay from fully participating in our economy, and places a greater economic burden on families who are not gay.

Most of all, it deprives individuals of making the most important choice they can make as human beings: if and whom to marry.

This initiative is not about “protecting marriage.” It is about taking an entire group of people and telling them they are less worthy and less capable of choosing how they live their own lives. It is not about “protecting the children” but about changing their Constitution to punish our differences instead of celebrating them. We would not like somebody to do that to us, and we should not do it to others. Any and all ways that you slice it, this is a bad proposition. Thank you for opposing it.

Yours,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Today's letter - a welcoming pope, or a greedy pope?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

During his most recent visit, Pope Benedict XVI called on U.S. bishops to “continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrows and trials.”

This message of welcome irritated quite a few Americans such as Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo who claims that “America is full” and accused the pontiff of “recruiting new members of the church” to the detriment of American sovereignty. The Wall Street Journal defends Mr. XVI, saying “the pope welcomes immigrants because he’s catholic, not because they are.”

But what about me and my family? As a gay dad, I sure could use the support of the Catholic Church in my every day life. Instead I find an institution reaching out to Jews and Muslims, yet more dedicated to my extermination than ever.

If we want to decide if the pope is trying to get more money and power by courting immigrants, or simply accomplishing his mission of welcoming everybody to walk in the steps of Jesus, we need look no further than his treatment of lesbian and gay families. As long as the pope’s welcome excludes the last, least and lost, his intentions are clearly targeted at power and money over the ethics of his church. .

A similar test could be applied to you, Governor, and your party and administration. And as long as your Party Platform calls for my family’s extermination, you too will fail it.

Yours,

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today's letter - I am a $1.5 million threat

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The biggest news in the gay marriage battle is that the Opponents of Equality are starting to turn in the signatures they have gathered over the past 150 days on a petition to limit marriage.

The executive director of the California office of the National Organization for Marriage. Brian Brown, said they have collected more than 1.1 million signatures. "We have gone against tremendous odds to do this, and now the voters in California will have the chance to protect marriage,"

It was not tremendous odds, it was tremendous cost. The Opponents of Equality paid more than $1.5 million so far – most of it from outside the state –to put this on the ballot, and are certain to spend much more to get it passed.

My same-sex domestic partner and I must be a real threat to the social order if people in Kansas are willing to send money to California to make sure we don’t get married. The only joy that I can feel out of this whole situation is that is $1.5 million dollars that will not be going into John McCain’s election.

Yours,

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today's letter - I am worse than felons

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I noticed that in order to meet combat needs, the Army and Marines accepted a total of 861 recruits with felony convictions last year, including manslaughter and sex-crime convictions,

What kind of a message does it send to people when those who kill and abuse their neighbors are given the freedom to marry and serve in the military, while people like me – who just wants to be the best husband and father that I can – are excluded?

I’ll answer that rhetorical question: it says we punish people for the way they were made instead of how they behave.

It is not too late for you to call on the people and the Supreme Court to end the limitations on marriage by letting same-sex couples have the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Today's letter - a humane and reasonable stance

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Syndicated columnist Deb Price, based in my home town of Detroit, Michigan, wrote in her most recent column that “California's governor has taken a humane and reasonable stance on gay marriage. John McCain should pay attention.”

She points out that your statement “I will always be there to fight against that – because it should never happen” echoes another Republican, Ronald Reagan, who torpedoed the 1978 Briggs initiative that would have banned gay and gay-friendly teachers. Clearly, smart politicians like you and Mr. Reagan, choose to wisely unite rather than recklessly divide.

I wish you explain to your pal John McCain how welcoming California’s gay and lesbian families into marriage (and the Republican party) is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

Yours,

Friday, April 11, 2008

Today's letter - the final step

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today was a historic day. For the first time, a sitting Republican Governor chose the part of the party platform that says “We support the two-parent family as the best environment for raising children” instead of the puzzling conclusion that “it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.” And you did it with all the style and humor that we expect from you.

The Sacramento Bee reported that you even called the initiative “a waste of time” and quipping "I think we need a constitutional amendment so that foreign born citizens can run for President, but not about gay marriage."

I know it took a lot for you to break your policy of not commenting on an initiative that has not even qualified. Thank you for listening to the people, and taking this giant historic step towards bringing California’s same-sex couples one step closer to full participation in our economy and society.

Yours,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today's letter - even the Pope could use a lesson in tolerance

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

In preparation for next week’s visit by Pope Benedict XVI, DignityUSA will hold a peaceful rally outside of the United Nations asking the Pope to denounce violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and to end his own language that undermines gay people worldwide.

I would like you to join fair-minded Americans in this peaceful request to the Pope, and also to change your own message that California’s same-sex couples are less worthy of marriage than opposite-sex couples.

Yours,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today's letter - civil rights not so hot ourselves

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The Olympic Torch visits San Francisco today on its way to China. Many people are upset at China’s civil rights history. But what about California’s?

Sure, we were the first to remove the ban on interracial marriages, and one of the first to integrate schools. But, because of you and your administration, we still do not allow some people – like me – to marry the person we love.

I wish you would support our own civil rights and give every Californian the same freedom, the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Today's letter - privacy

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I read today that your personal medical records were among those that had been inappropriately accessed at UCLA Medical Center, along with actress Farrah Fawcett and your wife Maria Shriver.

Now you are suddenly a proponent of expanded privacy protections. I wish I could be sympathetic.

You and your administration have designed a process that makes separate check boxes for Domestic Partners and Married couples. Every time I go to the doctor, apply for car insurance, file my taxes, complete a DBA, apply for a EDD license, pay my property taxes or visit the DMV I am not only reminded that my relationship “isn’t quite marriage” but that fact is also broadcast to every person who sees my form.

Now I don’t mind being out and proud, but that decision to be differentiated and marginalized should be my own, not my government’s, and certainly not my governor’s.

For everybody’s personal privacy, please let domestic partners get married in California.

Yours,

Monday, April 7, 2008

Today's letter - Absolutly better

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

ABSOLUT Vodka has been running an advertising and branding campaign called 'In An ABSOLUT World,' visually answering the question "what if everything in the world were approached with the same ideals that ABSOLUT approaches vodka?"

The latest addition to this campaign proposes that, in a more perfect world, lesbian and gay couples would be able to choose marriage the same way that heterosexual couples can – in this case by “popping the question” in a sports arena.

But while I have the freedom to go to the liquor store and pick up a pint of perfection, I do not have the ability to go to my courthouse and get a marriage license.

I wish you would do your part to make the world a better place, and help all California families have the same freedom – the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Today's letter - tests of faith

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I read today about a mission sponsored by Soulforce, the National Black Justice Coalition, The Metropolitan Community Church and COLAGE that will be traveling to six influential mega-churches between Mother's Day and Father's Day in order to challenge anti-gay messages in places of worship.

The sponsors have asked the six mega-churches to welcome Outing's gay and gay-friendly families for meals, conversation and worship. Will they be welcome by the new crop of ministers who are not as anti-gay as Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. D. James Kennedy? Or will they be turned away like the angels were from Sodom and Gomorrah, or same-sex couples were when you vetoed AB 43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act?

It is truly pathetic that lesbian and gay citizens of California are more welcome by their churches than they are by their government.

Yours,

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Today's letter - Charlton Heston said it but didn't do it

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Charlton Heston died today.

During his life, Mr. Heston called for privacy and compassion for lesbian and gay couples, saying "As long as gay and lesbian Americans are as productive, law-abiding and private as the rest of us, I think America owes them absolute tolerance. It's the right thing to do."

But while he called for privacy and tolerance, he wouldn’t give it by allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry quietly and with the dignity they deserve, fiercely opposing gays in the military and lashing out against same-sex parenting.

As a gay dad, I just want to be as law-abiding and private as the rest of America. The only way to do that is if I have the same freedom as the rest of America – the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Friday, April 4, 2008

Today's letter - even The Mormons are coming around

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Even the Church of Latter-Day Saints is beginning to have a change of heart. Traditionally the church has focused on man-on-woman relationships (occasionally several) and the consequences of being gay were excommunication, homelessness and suicide. Under new Church President Thomas Monson, though, LDS have agreed to a historic meeting with Affirmation, a group which represents 910,000 gay and lesbian Mormons.

"I firmly believe that within my lifetime the church will welcome gay brothers and sisters as full members in the church. I don't think that will happen today or tomorrow, but it will eventually happen," Affirmation assistant senior executive director David Melson says. "Anytime that we teach homophobia as a family value, it means we are missing the mark and not doing the job that we should be doing as a people, as a church."

The race is on – will you or the Mormons be the first to admit that everybody deserves the same freedom, the freedom to marry?

Yours,

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Today's letter - apology acceptable

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

A videotape recently surfaced from 1991 showing of a member of the Canadian parliament, Saskatchewan MP Tom Lukiwski, describing homosexual men as "faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit diseases."

Mr. Lukiwski has apologized twice for his comments, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper said "I believe that when such apology and remorse is sought from an individual member, the generous and high-minded thing to do is to accept that apology."

So whenever you are ready to apologize for your 2007 veto of AB 43, the bill that would have let me and my domestic partner finally get married, you can be sure I will be sufficiently generous and high-minded to accept it. But until you apologize, I reserve the right to be mean and bitter toward the person who would not let me have the one simple freedom that you and your wife enjoy so freely – the simple freedom to marry.

Yours,

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Today's letter - continuous improvement

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Author and educator Brett Berk just released a book titled "The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting: Candid Counsel from the Depths of the Daycare Trenches." Mr. Berk joins the likes of the Fab Five from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Christian Siriano from Project Runway, Andrew Sullivan from The New Republic, and just about every wedding planner in providing witty and rational advice about relationships, fashion, entertainment, real estate and politics. People listen because the gays are always right. Now it’s your turn.

As a gay dad, I know that California would be better if same-sex couples had access to marriage. Governor, would you please listen to me, stop making excuses, and terminate this apartheid?

Yours,

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Today's letter - writer's block

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I’m caught up with writer’s block and don’t have anything to write to you today.

APRIL FOOLS!

There are a million reasons why California and America would be better if everybody has the freedom to marry the person of their choosing. I don’t think I could ever stop, until we all get the same freedom, the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Monday, March 31, 2008

Today's letter - Jesus was not about 'social order'

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today on the radio I heard about “Black Liberation Theology.” The logic goes like this: Jesus was a rabble-rouser. He kept telling people that they should not listen to the rabbinical power players, but rather listen to God. This upset the power players so much they executed him for what we would today call political crimes.

But through his life and death, He gave us liberty not just over the tyranny of death, but also over the tyranny of Old Testament laws and oppressive Roman rule. We reach heaven not through punishing people, but by liberating them. From The Good Samaritan to The Sermon on the Mount, God’s message is clear: we are to love God with all our heart, soul, body and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That what Dr. Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu and even Jeremiah Wright are trying to tell us, and not a bad foundation.

Now as a gay dad, I’m just trying to be the best husband, father and Christian that I can. That seems to disturb a lot of people. But what Liberation Theology shows us is God wants us to love and accept people no matter how much they disturb us. Whether the gays will or won’t go to heaven is unclear, but whether the oppressors or the oppressed will go to heaven is crystal clear.

Putting your veto on AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, was an easy thing for you to do, but if there is any truth to Liberation Theology, it was not the right thing to do. After all, I may be a rabble-rouser myself, but I am still your neighbor.

Yours,

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Today's letter - history remembers the liberators, not the oppressors

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

History remembers the agents of change. History – for example – remembers Lincoln who freed the slaves. It does not remember the guy before Lincoln who fought for slavery. It remembers Reagan who tore down the Berlin wall. Not so much the guy before him. It remembers Susan B. Anthony who got women to vote, not whomever (Liddy Dole?) who opposed it.

How do you think history is going to remember you, Governor? Do you think you’ll be on a coin or a stamp for vetoing AB 43, the 2007 bill that would have let me and my same-sex domestic partner finally get married? Or do you think that it will be the next person, the one who finally replaces you and banishes that apartheid who will be immortalized?

It is not too late for you to work toward freedom to marry for all Californians instead of simply – and insignificantly – against it. I wish you would support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Today's letter - I'm a lover, not a fighter

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As a foreign-born citizen, I’m sure you take an interest with how people come to this country.

On Friday, U.S. Marine Cpl. Mario Ramos-Villalta who earned a Purple Heart during one of his two tours serving with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, finally received American citizenship barely a week after CNN told his story.

The same Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services routinely denies citizenship applications to the partners of gay Americans.

It really says something about America when we let in people who fight for us but not the people who love us. It’s kind of hard to say that we’re a peace-loving nation, isn’t it?

Yours,

Friday, March 28, 2008

Today's letter - people who are unhappy with fairness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I was astonished to learn that even the opponents of equality believe “domestic partnership” and marriage are in fact the same things.

Kentucky State Senator Vernie McGaha introduced legislation that would bar state agencies and schools from providing health insurance for the domestic partners of their employees, even when fully paid for by the beneficiaries. Sen. McGaha said that he was concerned about the erosion of the sanctity of marriage by the provision of domestic-partner benefits.

That the bill was defeated in committee was no surprise. State Senator Ernesto Scorsone explained "I think most Kentuckians believe if you are able to pay for the insurance, you ought to be able to buy it."

What shocked me was that six of the fifteen committee members voted for the legislation, apparently considering simple domestic partnership benefits to be an offensive intrusion by the gays into the world of marriage. These people will not be happy until I am exterminated.

Governor, it is time to choose between encouraging marriage and encouraging intolerance. The voters of this state are on the verge of changing our Constitution to block people like me from forming partnerships. Whether this comes out nine to six or six to nine depends on your support. I wish you would tell the people that you support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today's letter - now they're calling marriages "mutual commitments"

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Salt Lake City was not happy with the terms “civil union” or “domestic partnership” so they created a new term, “mutual commitment.”

The guidelines for receiving a “mutual commitment” license are the same as the previous “domestic partnership.” Both members must be over 18 and in some type of committed relationship in which they are responsible for one another's welfare, including financial interdependence, and share a primary household in Salt Lake City.

In my book, no matter what you call it, “two people in a committed relationship with financial interdependence and the same bed” is “marriage.” How much time, energy and humanity have we squandered by trying to “protect marriage” just by changing its name?

Please, I wish you would end this ridiculous ‘naming game’ and support the freedom for all Californians to choose for themselves what they want to call their relationship.

Yours,

Recent Letters