Archive for June, 2008

June 13th, 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.

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June 12th, 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.

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June 11th, 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?

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June 11th, 2008

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,

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June 10th, 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.

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June 9th, 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.

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June 8th, 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”

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June 7th, 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”

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