Friday, February 29, 2008

Today's letter - as clear as the day is bright

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today is so-called “leap day” that only comes along once every four years. This “day” was fabricated and imposed on us in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII just so that Easter would fall at around the same time of year. It is really just a collection of hours to make up for the six hour discrepancy between the traditional year and the seasons, and not a “day.”

In ancient times, the adjustment was a whole ten-day month that happened every 25 years; by 46 BC, Caesar created a whole month – one day long – to deal with the problem. The month was legally identical to the day before it, “separate but equal” one might say. Clearly, it is a time period like no other in the calendar year, and it requires special treatment, for calling it a “day” demeans all of the other days of the year.

Where is the incentive for the sun to rise if just any time adjustment can be called a “day?” We need to protect the traditional definition of a year – which everybody knows is 365 days – against this assault to logic.

I propose that instead of calling this a “day” we call it a “domestic time adjustment interval” and that people who are born or die during this time period are recorded on the previous or following day.

You don’t call a “domestic partnership” a marriage – you should not call “February 29th” a day, or else the calendar, the foundation of our society and economy, would surely collapse.

Yours,

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today's letter - the United Nations holds us all together

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Today I want to talk to you about Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

How do you reconcile this with what me and my family experiences every time your administration segregates me and my “same-sex domestic partner” because of our gender?

Is it not an invasion of our privacy to compel us to check “domestic partnership” (or “other”) on forms sent to the government? Does it not humiliate and demean our honor and reputation when you say we are less worthy of marriage than you and your wife? By what measure does the law protect our family, home and correspondence when the law does not treat us as equals?

The only way I can see you justifying this is by dancing on the word “arbitrary.” But if you have a reason for violating Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I have yet to hear it. Would you be so kind as to do that before you next violate my freedom to marry?

Yours,

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's letter - Desmond Tutu supports the freedom to marry

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Nobel Prize Winner and former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has weighed in on the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage.

"I am deeply, deeply distressed that in the face of the most horrendous problems -- we've got poverty, we've got conflict and war, we've got HIV/AIDS -- and what do we concentrate on? We concentrate on what you are doing in bed," Tutu told journalists at the World Social Forum in Nairobi.

"To penalize someone because of their sexual orientation is like what used to happen to us; to be penalized for something which we could do nothing (about) -- our ethnicity, our race," said Tutu. "I would find it quite unacceptable to condemn, persecute a minority that has already been persecuted."

His words echo those of Spanish and Canadian leaders who brought their people to understand and embrace same-sex marriage as a fundamental component of their nation’s diversity.

I wish his words would inspire you too. Please stop being an obstacle to freedom, and instead lead the people to understand what you must already know: there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, there is everything wrong with denying it.

Yours,

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Today's letter - the fight for equality got more dear

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The estate of an early employee of Microsoft, Ric Weiland, announced a $65 million donation to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, including scholarships and legal work on same-sex marriage.

In other words, $65 million was pledged to fight against Republicans like you who preach that individual choices are the best ones, then make sure the gays can’t make the most personal choice, the choice of marriage.

Please do like Mr. Weiland – take a stand against prejudice, hate and violence by supporting the freedom of all committed couples to make the commitment of marriage.

Yours,

Monday, February 25, 2008

Today's letter - let Oscar wed too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

At last night’s Academy Awards, the Best Short Documentary went to a film called "Freeheld" about the struggle that a New Jersey police Lieutenant faced as she tried to include her partner in her pension while she also battled cancer. Had her partner been a different gender, it would have been automatic; instead it was anything but.

I know that you intend for Domestic Partnership to provide same-sex couples with all of the time-tested social and legal features of marriage. The truth is that Domestic Partnership fails miserably at bringing even basic parity to California’s gay partnerships.

When Director Cynthia Wade tells three million people that "It was Lt. Laurel Hester's dying wish that her fight against discrimination would make a difference for all the same-sex couples across the country,” she is telling three million people that leaders like you are the problem; that people like you, for all your best intentions, are merely obstacles to individual liberty until you support the freedom for all of us to decide for ourselves who we marry.

Yours,

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Today's letter - dawdling is not courageous

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

In today’s New York Times Opinion section, the editors discussed New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s statement about same-sex marriage. In response to a commission’s report pointing out the second-class nature of Civil Unions, the Governor said he would sign a bill ending gay couples’ exclusion from marriage, “but not in an election year.” Doing so, he asserts, would be unnecessarily divisive.

The New York Times writes “we appreciate his candor. But to achieve real marital equality will take political courage, not more dawdling.”

Indeed, the Opponents of Equality have not hesitated to choose election years to deliberately divide this country. Through your dawdling, Governor, you have given them another opportunity to turn neighbors in this state against each other.

Governor, I wish you would find the political courage to tell the people of California and Supreme Court next Tuesday that domestic apartheid is not acceptable. All California families deserve access to the time-tested legal and social structure called “marriage.”

Yours,

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Today's letter - picketing a funeral is legal, why not gay marriage?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Three members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed a funeral in Reno, Nevada, yesterday because they believe that the Santa Barbara City College sophomore was killed by God to send a message that He hates Reno.

They carried placards reading “Pray for More Dad Kids,” “Don’t Worship the Dead” and “God Sent the Killer.”

While such displays are pathetic and disagreeable to just about everybody with any sense of decency, just about everybody agrees that blocking the display would be an even greater offense to liberty.

We have a precedent and a practice in this country of letting adults make adult decisions, because we believe that the best choices are the ones people are free to make for themselves.

I was lucky enough to find somebody I love, who loves me in return. Regardless of what you think of same-sex relationships, Governor, standing in the way of our ability to marry is the most pathetic and reprehensible display of all.

Yours,

Friday, February 22, 2008

Today's letter - Leviticus or Sermon on the Mount?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Somebody asked me the other day who the gays want for President. Hillary Clinton has been the long-time favorite because of her support of New Yorkers at pride events and legislation to help stop AIDS.

I think the gays should look seriously at a different contender. Senator Obama has elegantly differentiated himself from Senator Clinton by directly addressing the problem of the religious divide in this country. He has also differentiated himself from Senator McCain by trying to heal that divide instead of exploiting it.

There is one theme in the Senator’s speeches that has resurfaced again and again, that we are a religious nation, but we embrace tolerance and inclusion, not hatred and violence.

On June 28, 2006, the Senator asked “which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?”

During the HRC/Logo debate on August 20 of last year. Senator Obama said “There are people who recognize that if we're going to talk about justice and civil rights and fairness, that should apply to all people, not just some. And there are some folks who coming out of the church elevated one line in Romans above the Sermon on the Mount. … It is unfortunate. It's got to stop.”

That, Governor, is the kind of leadership that transcends party lines; it means Senator Obama “gets it.” It is what I would expect to hear from Kennedy, Carter or Lincoln.

I wish I could hear it from you. Please, Governor, lead the people away from divisive politics, and ask them to stop blocking same-sex couples from marriage. We need more Lincolns.

Yours,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's letter - tolerance is an economic necessity

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Business columnist Jay Hancock wrote in Wednesday’s Baltimore Sun that “Societies that are tolerant, free and diverse tend to be richer and happier than societies that aren't.”

He points to a long-term public necessity to attract a young workforce that craves culture, tolerance, diversity and educational resources – and any sign of intolerance is anathema to this “high-tech nirvana.”

Economic theorist Richard Florida noted in The Rise of the Creative Class that "to some extent, homosexuality represents the last frontier of diversity in our society, and thus a place that welcomes the gay community welcomes all kinds of people,"

Governor, giving the people the freedom to make the individual decision of who they marry is not only the right thing to do, but it is also a necessary economic investment in California’s future. Please don’t just ‘protect’ marriage, but improve it, and improve our state along the way.

Yours,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today's letter - there is no armageddon

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

In July of 2004, with marriages erupting in Massachusetts and California, your Republican nominee for President John McCain argued against a Federal Marriage Amendment to permanently ban gay marriage. He said the states should decide and that “We will have to wait a little longer to see if Armageddon has arrived.”

It has been four years, Governor. Massachusetts won the World Series and California hasn’t fallen into the ocean. Canada, South Africa and Spain are all economically outperforming the United States. There is no Armageddon.

You can spot a false prophet by their false prophesies. The Opponents of Equality are wrong - again. I wish you would improve marriage by letting the people make the personal and individual choice of who they marry for themselves.

Yours,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today's letter - don't protect marriage, improve it

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Marriage sure has gone through a lot of changes in the past centuries.

A girl’s father used to decide who his daughter would marry. Then there were bans on interfaith and interracial marriages. Nowadays, almost everybody can choose who they marry - except for me. A special ban on same-sex couples takes away my right to choose who I marry and gives it to the government.

The only person who should be making the choice of who I marry is me.

Governor, it is time to stop "protecting" marriage, and start improving it.

Yours,

Monday, February 18, 2008

Today's letter - New Jersey knows separate is never equal

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

New Jersey has had “civil unions” for a year now. A state commission was formed to find out how that was working out, and they released their report today.

The 12-member commission found that the law “creates a second-class status” for the 2,400 same-sex couples who have been unioned, and that the law is not fulfilling its mandate of providing same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals.

The commission wrote:

“The commission also heard testimony that the term ‘marriage,’ were it applied to the relationships of same-sex couples, would make a significant difference in providing equality to same-sex couples in New Jersey. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.”

In addition, because civil unions are not open to heterosexuals, “The New Jersey Civil Union law automatically outs someone or anyone who gets civil unioned,” which is a breach of privacy.

Lynn Fontaine Newsome, president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, testified before the commission that “the legal work performed for these clients is double that which is performed for married couples to ensure that they are afforded equal rights,” raising the costs for poor and minority couples who most need the time-tested protection of marriage.

Governor, you know that the domestic apartheid that you have set up and advocated hurts the people of your state. New Jersey’s Governor Jon Corzine has said he would sign a marriage bill - what about you? I wish you would take action to make sure that all of California’s couples have the same freedom – the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Today's letter - not the government, and certainly not the Governor

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

When I was at the Valentine’s Day demonstration last Thursday, holding two adorable kids, I got a lot of questions. One was “what does marriage mean to you?”

I told them what I will tell you: “Marriage is a time-tested legal and social structure uniting two families. The only person who should be making the choice of who to marry is me. Not the government, and certainly not the Governor.”

Governor, giving the people the freedom to choose who they marry would make marriages stronger and last longer, don’t you think? It is time to stop protecting marriage, and start improving it.

Yours,

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Today's letter - stamp out discrimination

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Since the United States Post Office announced a rate increase on first class postage, I took a quick look through the stamps that I’ve been using to write to you.

There’s a Gerald R. Ford stamp symbolizing the days where Republican meant getting out of people’s lives, a Black Heritage stamp with Charles W. Chesnutt symbolizing both the struggle for civil rights against pigheaded politicians and the fact that we don’t have a Lesbian and Gay stamp yet, and vintage mahogany Speedboats from the 1920’s that remind me that there are people who have been “shacking up” together almost that long who still cannot get married.

There’s “Alpine Tundra” in the Nature of America series that reminds me us that this land belongs to all of us (not just the heterosexuals), “Pollination” with the message that you don’t need to be married to get pregnant and have children, and a “Mendez vs. Westminster 1947 - Towards Equality in our Schools” stamp reminding us that the system works and change is possible.

“Jury Duty” celebrates the fact that gay people perform their civic duties just the same as the straights (even though they can’t get married to the person that they love like the straights) while Super Heroes reminds me of your days as The Terminator when you used to stand up for freedom from tyranny and Oppression.

And the LOVE stamp reminds me that all that we need to get the freedom to marry is your change of heart. Yes, we need you to tell the people that should be deciding who to marry instead of who can marry. That’s the only defense against a bad Supreme Court decision and a really bad Constitutional amendment proposition to permanently ban my marriage.

While I’m looking forward to the new 42-cent stamps, I hope they will bring a change of heart along with them.

Yours,

Friday, February 15, 2008

Today's letter - Big Brother should not block love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The latest installment of the CBS reality show Big Brother has a new twist. Eight couples are bonded together in the Big Brother house as “soul mates” based on personality matching performed before the show.

In addition to the standard “cute” couples, there are also an interracial couple, an intergenerational couple, an interfaith couple, and a same-sex couple.

All of these pairs are competing on equal footing, with one exception. If the “showmance” blossoms, all of these couples can get married except the same-sex couple.

Why would you take it upon yourself, Governor, to stand in the way of what anybody with the brains God gave geese knows? Love comes in many flavors, and it should be up to the people in the relationship – not Big Brother - to decide if they want to marry.

I wish you would support the freedom for all committed couples to make the commitment of marriage.

Yours,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Today's letter - be my Valentine

[I put this on a NASCAR Valentine's Day card with car number 9 and a picture of Kasey Kahne. Or it might be Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards or Jamie McMurray, I'm not sure, they didn't put names on the cards.]

TO: Governor Schwarzenegger

You would be my Valentine if you let me wed!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Today's letter - agents of intolerance

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

As a gay dad, I believe you are almost on the verge of having the change of heart that we need so I can finally get married. Your endorsement of John McCain was a really big step for two reasons.

First, Senator McCain shares my opinion of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Robertson and their ilk, saying "neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance."

As you know, Sen. McCain’s "Agents of Intolerance" are the same as my “Opponents of Equality” – they’re the people who say, without having met me or knowing anything about me, that I’m not worthy of marriage just because of who I want to marry. So that’s a plus.

Second, Senator McCain believes that the Federal government should not make the most intimate decision of who can marry who. "The constitutional amendment [banning gay marriage] strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans, [because] it usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them."

It is a short stretch for you, Governor, to realize that the State of California is no better than the Federal government at deciding who can marry who. To paraphrase Senator McCain, it usurps from individuals a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes it instead on a state remedy for a problem that most people do not believe confronts them.

So, Governor, I’m hoping that you get a chance to talk to Senator McCain about same-sex marriage, and I hope enough of his centrist rhetoric rubs off on you that you will finally realize that California would be a better place if we all had the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's letter - What would Lincoln do?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Today is, of course, Abraham Lincoln’s 199th birthday and the start of a two-year bicentennial celebration. I understand that presidents are a sore subject for you since you are specially banned from being President simply because of where you were born – but maybe that will give you some sympathy for what I am about to propose.

There is a great deal of debate about Lincoln’s life: where he was actually born, whether he was actually against slavery, whether he was gay or straight – but there is little debate about what he would think of today’s fashion of removing from people the freedom to marry.

There is no question that same-sex couples operate on a different level in this country with regards to marriage. The country is divided, and as Mr. Lincoln pointed out, this is not a stable situation. A house divided, falls, but “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” (1858)

The modern Republican sooths his soul by pointing out that all the same rights of marriage can be metered out by civil unions and some good lawyers, and anyways, gay people can get married as long as it is to a person of the opposite sex.

Of course, being able to marry the person of your choice is a lot different than being able to marry. Lincoln said “I do not understand that because I do not want a Negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife.” (1863)

And having a “middle ground” of domestic partnership as a substitute for marriage is also awkward. Mr. Lincoln famously asked an opponent in a debate “If we call its tail a leg, then how many legs does a dog have?” The reply was “Five.” Mr. Lincoln, delighted, said, “No, it is four. Just because you call a tail a leg doesn’t make it so.” Clearly, a marriage by any other name is not the same.

So how are we to unite this house? We must choose to either permanently deny same-sex couples of the freedom to marry, or treat all men (and presumably women) equally and fairly under the law.

"We have, as all will agree, a free Government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed." (1864)

Who are those ‘enemies?’ To answer that question, we need only examine how Mr. Lincoln elevated the Golden Rule, such as in this letter to Henry Pierce: “This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.” (1859)

Would you, Governor, dare to tell a couple they cannot marry because one person is not born in the same country as another? Or because they espouse different political parties? Your own marriage to Maria Shriver (an Amercian, Kennedy & Democrat) is based on those contrivances – and yet in telling some people they must access the time-tested social and legal structure of marriage through some second-rate institution, you reverse the divine rule to do unto others as you would like done to you.

Let me conclude the same way Mr. Lincoln concluded his Address at Cooper Union in 1860: with an admonishment to reject apartheid because it yields no path to freedom.

“Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.”

It is not an accident that Log Cabin Republicans choose the founder of the GOP as their icon. They are not aligning themselves with Mr. Lincoln’s sexuality, they are aligning themselves with the concept that after freedom itself, the greatest blessing of civic life is the opportunity to marry the person you love.

Governor, if Abraham Lincoln were alive today, what do you think he would tell you to do about same-sex marriage?

“Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

Please, do your duty, protect the Constitution and give us all the same freedom – the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Today's letter - longer than the writers' strike with more ill effects

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The Hollywood writers strike showed us what damage is caused when a few key people are removed from an important industry.

While the studios can just go back to work, the special ban on gay marriage continues to prevent committed couples from contributing to the economy and society.

It is time to get California back to full strength by supporting strong families and individual choice. Please tell the Supreme Court that California immediately needs all of its citizens to have access to the time-tested legal structure that only marriage provides.

Yours,

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Today's letter - get us off this four-year see-saw

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

My fiancée and I are trapped in the California legal system. In early 2004, we got married; in late 2004, our marriage was annulled. In 2005 a trial judge said we could get married; in 2006 an appeals court said we couldn’t. Now finally in 2008 the State Supreme Court will hear and judge on whether our Constitution lets a mere eight-year-old voter initiative carve out a whole group of people and specially remove their freedom to marry.

I don’t understand why it takes four years to figure out if a voter initiative beats out the State Constitution. It seems to me this should be pretty clear. In the meantime, the Opponents of Equality have been trying again and again to pass a Constitutional Amendment to permanently exclude me and my fiancée from our economy and society.

Governor, help us get us off this see-saw! As a defendant in this case, please tell the California Supreme Court that all Californians need the freedom to marry, and they need it NOW. My husband and I are tired of waiting.

Yours,

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Today's letter - protest pending

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

This Valentines Day, it will have been four years since my husband and I were married in San Francisco. Because our union was rudely annulled by your administration, and subsequent legislative efforts were blocked by your veto, I will be marking the occasion by joining other fair-minded Californians at my county courthouse begging you for the privilege to get married again.

We have come so far: my finance and I have been together for almost eleven years; we have been domestic partnered for eight; we have two wonderful children and a pretty nice life.

You might ask why I need to spend my anniversary asking for the freedom to marry - again? All I can ask you to do is to think back to your wedding and tell me how you would feel if that was made illegal. If some government authority stepped in and said your vows were meaningless, your relationship second-rate and your legal filings null and void.

No matter what you think about gay marriage, all Americans are entitled to the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. And that includes the freedom to marry the person they love.

It is important to me, and to my fellow countrymen that no government takes away that freedom. It would be wrong to do anything on the day that stands for love to stand up for love.

Yours,

CC: one of the marriage licenses that you annulled

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today's letter - will the court hear from you too?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

When the State Supreme Court hears the marriage exclusion case on March 4, they will face an unprecedented torrent of evidence that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, and a historic outcry for full constitutional inclusion of same-sex couples in our economy and society.

In addition to the fifteen same-sex couples, support has come from such widespread sources as:
- counties and municipalities including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Long Beach, Sacramento, and Oakland.
- legal and bar associations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
- religious and civil rights leaders and organizations, including the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, California Council of Churches, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and National Black Justice Coalition.

Will they hear from you?

Your support would mean a lot both to the court and my family. Tell them that California needs same-sex marriage and they need it now. It’s the least you can do to ensure the freedom of all Californians.

Yours,

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Today's letter - my marriage restored my faith that government works

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Next week, on February 14, it will have been four years since my husband and I were married in San Francisco.

Two days before, two friend of ours from Washington D.C. – who are now godparents of our children – pointed out that the marriages in San Francisco might not continue for long. We decided to seize the opportunity and elope.

The morning of Valentine’s Day we hopped on a Southwest flight and emerged from the BART to find that love had erupted. Not Ted Haggard / Larry Craig kind of love, but couple after couple who had been waiting together for years for this day. We were herded through City Hall and got to say our vows to each other in the atrium. Even I was unable to hold back tears as I promised my best friend and lover that I would be his “until death do us part” and we were declared “spouses for life.”

We had time to have a romantic dinner in Fisherman’s Wharf before catching our flight out of Oakland back to L.A.

That day was important for us because it really solidified what we meant to each other, and had a piece of paper to prove it. My husband’s parents had always treated us as a couple, and were quite upset that they hadn’t been invited to the wedding. For my parents it was more significant - from that point on, my parents also treated us as spouses for life.

Most of all, it restored my faith in my government, that we could overcome our divisions and really behave according to our beliefs: that no matter what you think about gay marriage, all Americans are entitled to the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. And that includes the freedom to marry the person they love.

Yours,

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Today's letter - Super Tuesday defeats opponents of equality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Looking at the fallout from Super Tuesday, it appears that every candidate who would support a Federal ban on gay marriage has been effectively eliminated. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney were the strongest opponents of equality – and took the most dramatic falls, Apparently not even the Republicans want to associate with somebody who still believes that we should punish Americans based on the most personal decision they can make: who they love.

The People have won the right to decide for themselves whether they want to reward or punish commitments. Now it is your turn, Governor, to lead California into rewarding committed couples with the freedom to choose marriage.

Please tell the Supreme Court and the People of California that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

Yours,

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today's letter - respect and rhetoric

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I wrote to you earlier about your Chief of Staff, Susan Kennedy, and how awkward it must be for you to work with somebody who you consider to be less worthy of having access to marriage than your other staffers. I thought I would let you know that you’re in good company – the President also has to work with homosexuals.

United States Representative Barney Frank is a notoriously humorous and powerful member of Congress and has been openly gay since 1987. In an incident captured by press cameras, just before George Bush’s last State of the Union address, Rep. Frank was on the phone with his boyfriend in the Speaker’s Lobby when President Bush approached him, leaned in and said "tell him I said hello."

When Rep. Frank pointed out to the President that he was talking to his boyfriend, Bush responded "Well. I hope you said how open-minded I am."

Yeah, it’s really open-minded to joke with somebody who you have pledged to exterminate.

Please, Governor, treat all your staff with the dignity and respect they deserve. Tell the people of California that marriage is not a special right – it is everybody’s right.

Yours,

Monday, February 4, 2008

Today's letter - winning marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

Did you notice that the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 right after Massachusetts got gay marriage?

Well, on Friday, an appellate court made New York the second state to recognize same-sex couples with legal marriage, by considering valid and legal weddings solemnized outside the state.

What happened? The New York Giants won the Superbowl.

The upset not only broke the Patriots’ undefeated season, but it also ended Massachusetts’ four-year distinction of being the only state where same-sex couples are free to choose legal marriage.

Please, Governor, California’s sports teams deserve your support. Please tell your Republican party and the State Supreme Court that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage. Break our streak of domestic apartheid, and instead make Californians into the winners they should be.

Yours,

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Today's letter - a bad apple

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

I believe it is part of our Governor’s job is to see what happens in other states so the best can be brought to California and the worst left where it is.

Kentucky has turned out to be a pretty perilous place to be gay. Even after a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, things were looking up when a phone message by Pat Boone could not save the anti-gay Governor Ernie Fletcher from getting booted out of office, and state universities started offering partner benefits to all their employees – not just the ones who are allowed to marry.

But a bad tree bears bad fruit: Kentucky's state Senate passed a bill 30-5 late last month to bar state agencies, including public universities, from granting any benefits for the partners of their lesbian and gay employees.

University presidents from eight Universities including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and University of Louisville opposed the bill because they say it hurts recruitment efforts for researchers and professors. "If you want to compete with the best universities and the best corporations, you need to be able to offer the same types of benefits they offer," according University of Louisville spokesman John Drees.

You must know and understand the cost of discrimination, Governor. If our Senate had brought a bill to your desk to specially exclude some people from our society and our economy because of what they are or what they believe, I have no doubt you would veto that. So why do you stop short of supporting the freedom to marry?

Please, Governor, leave the rotten apples in Kentucky and bring us into the 21st century with the most basic freedom: the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Today's letter - copy cats

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

The greatest complement, it is said, is to be copied. By that measure, Maryland has given us a great big hug.

The Maryland State Senator from Prince George’s County, Gwendolyn T. Britt, was arrested in 1960 for riding the wrong part of a segregated merry-go-round in Glen Echo Park. Since then, she had adopted a new civil rights battle: to legalize same-sex marriage.

Although she died Jan. 12, her legislation was introduced last week with 49 co-authors. The bill is almost identical to the California law that you vetoed last fall, even in name. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act would remove language in the state code that limits marriage to unions between men and women, and exempt religious leaders from having to perform or recognize same-sex unions.

I’m proud that California was the first state where the people’s branch of government put a marriage equality bill on their governor’s desk, setting an example for legislative action throughout our great nation. But I am equally sad that we were also the first state to have a civil rights bill like this vetoed by its governor.

Maryland didn’t introduce this bill to copy us, they did it because they know that strong families and individual choice are the cornerstone of Maryland’s economy and a free society. It is too late for you to sign AB 43, but it’s not too late for you to support the freedom to marry for all Californians. Please, Governor, I don’t want to have to copy Maryland.

Yours,

Friday, February 1, 2008

Today's letter - a Hollywood dream

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger -

This season, American Idol welcomes its first openly gay contestant. Leo Marlowe began his audition saying that his “Mom always said she raised the perfect homecoming queen. It just wasn’t one of her daughters.”

Simon thinks he's a good, honest kid; Paula thinks he's a "touchdown!" and Randy said he was "rockin' the bells."

Along with the other Omaha finalists – Angelica Puente, David Cook, Johnny Escamilla, Jason Rich and Rachael Wicker – American Idol is finally showing that the Heartland has heart in its soul.

Governor, please make California the kind of a place where all these contestants can find their dream, if not to make music, at least to marry the person they love. Tell your party and the State Supreme Court that all Californians deserve freedom – the same freedom to marry.

Yours,

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