Archive for November, 2007

November 30th, 2007

Today’s letter – Death to the Infidels, the sick, the poor, the young and the different

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I think that we are all on the edge of our seats about the plight of Gillian Gibbons, the teacher who was arrested in Sudan after she let her class name a teddy bear “Mohammed.” Yesterday, 600 protesters poured out of mosques chanting “By soul, by blood, I will fight for the Prophet Mohammed” and “Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”

This seems so alien and so backwards to us, I think, because the punishment does not seem appropriate to the crime. Who would call for somebody’s death for trying to do good? Thank God this can’t happen here in America. Or can it?

Religion makes Americans do unspeakable things to each other, with the full sanction of the Government. How many people will die unnecessarily because we have blocked stem cell research for six years? How many people will get AIDS unnecessarily because we blocked needle exchange and access to condoms? How many women will die in childbirth because we blocked access to basic sex education? How many gay teens will commit suicide because we block their hope of marriage?

All these ridiculous laws cause great harm by punishing people who have done nothing wrong, in order to satisfy a few religious whiners who lack the tolerance and goodwill to respect the life and liberty of their neighbors. I’m sure we look as irrational and intolerant to outsiders as Sudan does to us.

I am proud of you for stepping up to do the right thing on many of these issues, such as supporting stem-cell research, signing AB 110 for state funding of needle exchange programs, and signing AB 629 for truthful sex education – a critical life skill.

I wish you would join the people and the legislature on one more issue: tearing down the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. This unjustifiable ban costs the state money, deprives citizens of their personal liberty, and punishes committed couples for doing nothing wrong. Really, you don’t even need to sign anything – just start talking about how the punishment of Domestic Partnership does not fit the crime of Love.

Yours,

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November 29th, 2007

Today’s letter – Hate costs Dough

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I wrote to you in July as an angry taxpayer about the cost of limiting marriage to heterosexual couples as revealed by The Williams Institute at UCLA.

Their recent analysis for Maryland revealed that their 8,000 same-sex couples, if married, would attract about $100 million of spending and $14 million in tax revenue EACH YEAR.

By comparison, their 2004 analysis of California showed that the 1977 ban on marriage costs us $16 Billion in spending and $25 million in tax revenue EACH YEAR.

As a taxpayer, I sure could use a slice of that dough, but as a gay man I would rather have the freedom to get married.

Whether it is fiscal responsibility, or just the right thing to do, I wish you would end your support of the costly ban on gay marriage and instead support the freedom to marry for all Californians.

Yours,

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November 28th, 2007

Today’s letter – Chinese are vilified, but not vile

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer David Pierson wrote a wonderful article about the “secret tunnels” in Fresno’s Chinatown in their November 26 edition. According to urban legend, the tunnels were created so the residents could crawl around without ever seeing daylight and people from the white side of the tracks could reach Chinatown speak-easies undetected. According to historians, though, the tunnels were actually fabricated by xenophobes in order to make the Chinese people seem less than human.

Phil Choy, past president of the Chinese Historical Society of America, explained that “The 19th century was an extremely racist climate. There had always been an attempt to remove the Chinese. You had this population of undesirables. The more mysterious they make us, the better.”

I believe the historians have this one right. As a Californian relegated to a Domestic Partnership, I have seen firsthand how the Opponents of Equality use rumors and outright lies to push my community’s relationships underground and demonize us as people.

The damage imposed on same-sex families isn’t quite as bad as the atrocities performed against Chinese-Americans, but it is the same devious twist of logic that turns one group of people into cockroaches by creating a mysterious network of tunnels, that turns another group of people into sexual deviants by creating a strange ‘alternative’ to marriage.

I am very upset at you, Governor, for supporting the lies and rumors that are used to put people down, instead of supporting the freedom to marry that would bring them up.

Yours,

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November 27th, 2007

Today’s letter – Buying with Dignity and Fairness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The Human Rights Campaign released their annual Buying Guide for Equality last week. In addition to rankings for brands and stores, it has fun marketing facts, such as “77% of heterosexuals are likely to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits above one that does not” and “1 in 4 adults say they have switched products or service providers because they found a competing company that supports causes that benefit the GLBT community.”

It is not shocking that there are so many companies with high ratings – all you have to do is treat all your employees with dignity and fairness regardless of their sexual orientation. What is surprising is that there are entertainment companies with less than perfect scores (Vivendi Universal scored 35) and that there still companies with zeros – like Exxon Mobil Corp.

Businesses understand that treating your employees with dignity and fairness is not only right, but also profitable. When is California going to learn this?

I wish you would end your support of special rights for heterosexuals and instead support a California that gives all of her citizens the same freedom, the freedom to marry.

Yours,

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November 26th, 2007

Today’s letter – The Checkered Game of Life

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Milton Bradley created the Game of Life in 1860. The game has had many variations but has always included ‘marriage’ as a milestone signifying the addition of a member to the family and an occasion for ‘gifts’ from the other players.

While the game has no separate provision for “domestic partnership” it also has no restriction on the gender of the partners in the marriage. Players can choose for themselves to put in a pink or blue peg.

I don’t understand why something that was so simple to understand in 1860 is so difficult to comprehend today. I wish you, Governor, would end your support of special rights for some relationships and instead support the freedom to marry for all families. It is, after all, a milestone in the Game of Life.

Yours,

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November 25th, 2007

Today’s letter – In-laws are people too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m sorry to hear that your mother-in-law, Eunice Schriver, is in the hospital.

I wish I could have a mother-in-law. The woman who fills that role is just as vibrant, just as delightful and just as much of a person as Eunice – but because of the ban on gay marriage that you support, she can’t be my mother-in-law.

I wish the best for Eunice and your family during this difficult time, and encourage you to relish this relationship that only the special right of marriage can provide.

Yours,

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November 24th, 2007

Today’s letter – Same is not a shame

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Last night a friend of mine made an interesting observation. He pointed out that traditionally, marriage has been about ‘sameness.’ Same religion, same interests, same city, same house, same race, same bed.

Why would it be so strange to also have the same sex? Wearing each others’ clothes is no longer ‘weird’ but rather efficient. Being able to use the same locker room at the gym is quite practical. Not having to worry about putting the toilet seat down is quite a peacemaker too.

They say that the exception proves the rule. Just like there are exceptions to sameness, there are exceptions to differences. Please, support the freedom for same-sex couples to make the same commitment of marriage that same-religion, same-location, same-interests, same-house, same-bed, same-race couples can – and do – make every day. Please support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

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November 23rd, 2007

Today’s letter – Lincoln vs. Douglas

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Abraham Lincoln constantly ranks among the three top U.S. presidents. Before he became president, though, he spent a lot of time arguing against a guy named Stephen A. Douglas.

Senator Douglas believed that in a democracy the people should have the right to decide whether or not to allow slavery in their territory, rather than have such a decision imposed on them by Congress. Each state would decide if they were a “free” state or a “slave” state.

Lincoln said about the act, “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it…enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites [and] causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because [it insists] that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

In his election bid for Senator, Lincoln identified the problem with giving states the right to discriminate: “‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.'(Mark 3:25) I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. 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. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

Lincoln won more popular votes, but Douglas won more seats and was elected to Congress.

Just so the metaphor is not lost on you, Governor, gay marriage is a battle just like slavery was 150 years ago. Whether through states rights or a Constitutional amendment, making some people more free than others only makes us all half-free. The only way to achieve freedom for all is to give all the freedom to marry.

That freedom must start at home. Please, make California a free state and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

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