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.