Archive for ‘civil rights legislation’

August 12th, 2010

Today’s letter – Imperial County attacks the gays, since the State won’t

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In case you didn’t notice, the Opponents of Equality are steaming mad that you refused to join their gang and beat up on lesbian and gay Californians by defending Prop 8. In the latest ploy, they’re beating the bushes to find someone with legal standing to continue their campaign against my family.

Apparently they were able to convince the Imperial County Board of Supervisors to let the religious group Advocates for Faith and Freedom use the County’s standing to try to defend the indefensible. Good luck to them.

I am heartened that this seems headed in the right direction: instead of the Federal government deciding if two people can get married, instead of the State government deciding if two people can get married, it might be the County government who decides if two people can get married.

Maybe, someday, it will be the two people themselves who can decide to get married!

Sincerely,

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June 24th, 2010

Dear Governor Lingle – Hawaii needs Civil Unions; the least you can do is sign HB 444

Governor Linda Lingle
State Capitol, Room 415
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813

RE: House Bill 444

Dear Governor Lingle:

I’m a gay dad who is trying to be the best husband and father that I can. I am extremely fortunate to live in a state that has had civil unions for over a decade. This simple policy of “equality” helped us thrive and build a family without having to fear the heavy hand of Government meddling with our lives and livelihoods. It is easy to forget that some of my fellow Americans have to live in places where their relationships are legally less important than others, simply and only because of who they choose to love.

I just don’t understand why this is a difficult decision for you. You said that you are concerned about “the intensity of the feeling on the part of the public,” but that doesn’t make any sense. HB 444 would not have reached your desk, especially in an election year, without the people of Hawai’i behind it.

Plus, there is no downside to the bill. Civil unions have been around for years, and have always wound up being a positive experience for everybody. No place that has had them is even considering getting rid of them. All it does is level the playing field for all your citizens.

If the people are actually confused on this issue, you have an opportunity to lead them. Your fellow Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed over 50 LGBT equality bills into law – talk to him. Republican mayor Jerry Sanders said that he supports equality because he “could just not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving … than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation.” The former Vice President, Republican Dick Cheney said “I think that ‘freedom’ means freedom for everyone.” Former Republican President Abraham Lincoln said “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

Equality is a traditional value and deserves to be fostered, not vetoed. Please support HB 444.

Thank you,

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September 10th, 2009

Today’s letter – Sign SB 572 to Stop Teen Suicides

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a gay dad in California I have a vested interest in SB 572 Harvey Milk Day.

Since you vetoed it last year, four important things have changed. And it’s a mixed bag, but bear with me.

  • The California Supreme Court observed that homosexuals are a protected class in California, no different from every other group that has been systematically oppressed. And a narrow majority of voters have alleged otherwise.
  • Harvey Milk was the subject of an Academy Award winning movie.
  • Harvey Milk was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • About 2,520 California teens have killed themselves because they are gay.

This last point is why SB 572 is so important. Only Harvey Milk Day will ensure that our children are taught the important lesson of hope that they need to survive.

I know that you and your wife Maria are inducting this Time Magazine 100 Heroes and Icons of the 20th Century into the California Museum; I also know that opposition to Harvey Milk Day comes from the oppressors we still have lingering around, literally killing our kids.

We don’t need somebody stuffed into a museum, we need a living lesson of hope and a clear message that the acts that killed Matthew Shepherd, Trevor and Harvey Milk are not tolerated in California. I hope you do the right thing for our children and SIGN SB 572.

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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June 5th, 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,

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June 4th, 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,

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May 31st, 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!

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May 9th, 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,

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