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,

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