Archive for May, 2009

May 23rd, 2009

Today’s letter – what causes a change of heart over same-sex marriage? Civil Unions!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The New York State Assembly voted on a same-sex marriage bill in 2007 and again in 2009. There were five Members who voted no in 2007 but yes in 2009. What motivated these five people to change their vote?

Their stories seem to fall into two camps. Sandy Galef, a Democrat from Westchester, Tim Gordon, an Independence member from Albany, and Fred Thiele, a Republican from Suffolk County, all changed their votes because of their concerns about civil unions. Assemblymember Thiele said “I thought equal rights could be guaranteed through civil unions… only to find that discrimination persisted in health care and other areas. The only way to ensure equality is by giving all couples access [to marriage.]”

The other two Members, Bob Reilly, a Democrat from Albany/Saratoga and Janet Duprey, a Republican from the Northeast, claim their change of vote sprang from personal conversations they had with constituents. They learned that gay men and women are no different than heterosexual men and women, and want the same things for themselves and their children. Assemblymember Duprey concluded that “United States was founded on the principle of equal protection and rights for all, and I will cast my vote for the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.”

It is frustrating to have to wait for Californians to realize what these New York lawmakers have: that denying gay marriage is un-American and un-Christian. I wish you would be more vocal, Governor, about what made you change your mind, and bring some more of the people along with you.

Sincerely,

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May 21st, 2009

Today’s letter – Miss California’s lesson about sex outside of marriage comes from her own mom, Mr. Terminator Salvation

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Carrie Prejean, Miss California and NOMBLA spokesperson, is once again in the news today. You may recall that Miss Prejean lost the Miss USA crown after she preached “in my country, in my family, I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.” Well it turns out that, according to ABC News, her mom was dating a woman as recently as two weeks before the Pageant.

I guess in her country, in her family, she believes that gay sex is OK, as long as it isn’t marriage. I don’t know what perverted Bible she is using, but it sure isn’t the same as mine. My Bible says the opposite: that sex is for marriage. Anything else is adultery. And there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

The only solution that protects everybody’s religious freedom is a Government that respects both of our interpretations. That is easy to do by letting two people who are able to get married, get married to each other. That’s the only way that Miss Prejean does not have to get gay-married, and I do not have to get, as Miss. Prejean calls it, opposite-married.

Come on, Governor, with the budget disaster, you’re running out of legacies!

Sincerely,

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May 21st, 2009

Today’s letter – American Idol Adam Lambert and Kris Allen teaches us about Prop 8 and #saveEarl

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

American Idol’s finale, filmed right here in your home city of Los Angeles, can teach us a lot about politics. This season was a strange déjà-vu kind of upset. Every poll, person and bookie thought that Adam Lambert would win. But he was nosed out against all reason by the straight-acting, straight-looking Kris Allen. Even Mr. Allen admitted that Mr. Lambert deserved to win.

The same thing happened in season 2 when Clay Aiken lost to Ruben something-or-other – the winner was not the better candidate or presumed favorite. And it also happened in 2008 when Proposition 8 was narrowly passed against all predictions and logic.

People in groups do things that, as individuals, they know are stupid.

The difference between Prop 8 and American Idol is that the California Constitution was written to prevent impulsive illogical groups from ganging up against a religion or race. And that Constitution, until it is changed, trumps a popular vote.

I don’t expect the Supreme Court to meddle in American Idol results, but I do hope they fix Proposition 8. An impulsive popular vote is not a fair way to decide fundamental human rights.

Sincerely,

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May 20th, 2009

Today’s letter – how "separate but equal" became the law of the land the first time

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

“Separate but Equal” was made the law of the land in 1896 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Plessy v. Ferguson.

On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy boarded a car of the East Louisiana Railroad that was designated by Louisiana for use by white patrons only. Although Plessy was one-eighth black and seven-eighths white, under Louisiana state law he was classified as an African-American, and thus required to sit in the “colored” car. When Plessy refused to leave the white car and move to the colored car, he was arrested and jailed.

The case wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 7 to 1 decision the Court rejected the view that the law implied any inferiority of blacks, and contended that the law separated the two races as a matter of public policy, not inequity. Justice Brown declared, “We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.”

The sole dissenter, Justice John Marshall Harlan, wrote “…in the eye of the law, there is no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” It took until 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education decision to change this law.

Governor, I will be happy if the California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8 only when it can be demonstrated that a civil union is the same thing as marriage. As a gay dad who has been (and is) both Domestic Partnered and Married, I am quite skeptical that that is ever possible as long as my government allows the distinction to remain. Until then it is apartheid all over again, and that does not turn out well for anybody.

Sincerely,

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May 19th, 2009

Today’s letter – hospitals will block gay parents and their children as long as marriage is unstandardized

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today’s New York Times tells the story of Lisa Pond, who collapsed on a cruise ship and was taken to the ER in Florida. Her Domestic Partner Janice Langbehn and their three adopted kids followed the ambulance. They were denied access to see Lisa for hours despite the fact that all the appropriate medical and legal forms were faxed to the hospital within 30 minutes. Lisa Pond died alone.

This family did everything that they were told to do: they had their lawyers provide partnership agreements, powers of attorney, wills and trusts. But they lacked the one thing that would have allowed Lisa Pound to see her three children and her life partner before she died: the dignity and documentation that only the time-tested legal structure of marriage can provide.

As a gay dad in California, I know how important family is in these kinds of situations. I do not sleep well at night knowing that this kind of family disaster will occur over and over again until every couple is able to access the same institution, full legal marriage.

My kids know I’m married, my parents know I’m married. My Church and congregation know that I’m married. In this kind of situation, the only thing that matters is if my Government considers that I’m married. Or can you assure me otherwise?

Sincerely,

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May 19th, 2009

Letter to GOP Chairman Michael Steele – prove it or apologize

Chairman Michael Steele
Republican National Committee
310 First Street
Washington, D. C. 20003

May 19, 2009

Dear Mr. Steele:

On May 16th you told the Georgia State Republican Convention that gay marriage costs small businesses more money than it makes them, because gay marriage laws force them to spend more on health care and other benefits for their gay-married employees than for their gay-unmarried employees.

As a small business owner and a gay dad, I know the facts, and I know that you are lying. I would like to respectfully ask you to prove what you are saying, or apologize for saying it.

You argued “Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for, So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

Any small business owner will tell you that we are exempted from state policies that require us to pay different benefits to our married employees than our unmarried employees. In exchange for not discriminating on the basis of marital status, we are protected from having to pay more for married employees than unmarried employees.

Moreover, gay marriage in my state means that I get more business from marriages being performed here, and I have a larger pool of qualified workers to choose from. Massachusetts discovered that five years of same-sex marriage has attracted highly-skilled workers and produced an economic boost of over $110 million – and unlike your assertion, there are real studies that support that.

If you really were concerned about the supposed cost of married employees, you would ban all benefits for married employees, yet you single out the gays to specially deprive them of these benefits.

I am disappointed that you would choose to break the ninth commandment in order to argue that Republicans take a bigger role in the most intimate individual decisions; that my Government should decide who should get married instead my Church; or that fiscal stability depends on whether or not I can get married. And as we saw in the firing of Arabic Linguist Dan Choi because of his sexual orientation, your arguments about the awful gays don’t help national security either.

As a gay dad, I’ve seen your kind of bankrupt arguments before. They are designed to marginalize and dehumanize your neighbors as you advance a moral position at the expense of individual freedom.

Abraham Lincoln pointed out that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Jesus said “treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.” Would you like it if there was a law preventing you and the person that you love from getting married? If so, then I am happy to step aside, but if not, then you are obliged to grant me at least the same freedom that you enjoy.

I know from the Oreo incident that you are in the habit of speculating without proof. I know from your talk radio record your opinion about Civil Unions. I read about your call today for Republicans to stop apologizing. Well, here is your opportunity to answer that call and redeem yourself: prove how my marriage costs anybody anything.

Sincerely,

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May 18th, 2009

Today’s letter – world’s most embarassing argument as GOP leader tries to ban all marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

GOP Chairman Michael Steele told a crowd at the state convention in Atlanta that same-sex marriage is costly for small business.

He explained “Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for, So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

There are two small problems with this argument. The first is that, if Republicans were actually concerned about the costs of having employees who are married, then they should not stop at gays, they should ban marriage altogether. Then employers wouldn’t have to take financial responsibility for anybody’s spouse. I would like to hear Mr. Steele argue that; anything less is simply hypocritical.

Second, Mr. Steele’s comment ignores the small businesses that make money from gay weddings. After 5 years of extending marriage to gay couples, study after study shows Massachusetts has attracted highly-skilled workers and experienced an economic boost of over $110 million from the very practice Mr. Steele would ban.

It is not same-sex marriage that is costly for small business, it is the ban on gay marriage that is costly for small business.

Please, Governor, please explain to Californians that it is in our best interest for every Californian to be able to fully participate in the economy and society, and please explain to your party leadership the folly of letting somebody as blatantly ignorant as Mr. Steele steer your ship.

Sincerely,
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May 17th, 2009

Today’s letter – People of Faith stand firm in favor of same-sex marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

People of Faith are headed your way, and they’re armed with the clear message that God supports same-sex marriage.

The new partnership between the Human Rights Campaign and California Faith for Equality addresses the Opponents of Equality who use the Bible as a weapon. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese explains that the new partnership will “ensure that California voters know that many people of faith support same-sex marriage.”

I hope that the Republican party does more than just get the message: I hope that they actually fix their party platform so all Californians can enjoy not only protection of their religious freedom to marry according to their church’s beliefs, but also full participation in the economy and society through legal marriage.

Sincerely,

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