Archive for ‘religious vs. civil marriage’

June 13th, 2009

Today’s letter – if we are going to give "marriage" to the churches, we should at least charge a billiion dollars for it

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

There are some who are calling for the end of marriage in California. Let the churches decide who can marry, they say, and have the state call all registered partnership commitments “Civil Unions.”

I think this is a dumb idea. While it addresses the short-term problem Proposition 8 introduced – a class of citizens who cannot get married and group of churches that cannot perform the act their faith demands – getting rid of “marriage” would recklessly surrender the word “marriage” to the church.

If we are going to give the word to the churches, we should at least get something for it. A billion dollars would go a long way towards balancing the budget.

Sincerely,

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June 10th, 2009

Today’s letter – when Athiests can marry but I can’t, it proves neither Mormons nor Papists own the word "marriage"

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In California we seem to be stuck in a world with marriages for some couples and civil unions for others. This seems to be an accommodation to religious groups who somehow feel entitled to own the word “marriage” and define it for themselves.

But religion does not own the word marriage. When two atheists of opposite genders get married, by a judge in a courthouse, it is still legally called a marriage, not a civil union. The word “marriage” Is owned by the state, and as a citizen I demand to be able to use it.

Once Californians admit that everybody deserves the same rights regardless of their gender, religion and sexual orientation, the segregation between marriage and domestic partnerships becomes instantly absurd. California crossed that line in 1999.

Those who support a system that surrenders the word “marriage” to the Mormons and the Papists are as reprehensible as the apartheid they support.

Governor, I wish you would apologize for vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act that would have legalized gay marriage through the legislature. I wish you would speak out against those who are stealing state property and using it for their own religious agenda. I wish you would make the GOP get rid of Michael Steele so Republicans can once again represent America’s promise of freedom and dignity, instead of some warped version of theocracy.

Sincerely,

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April 24th, 2009

Today’s letter – Arrest California

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I have a civics question for you. Who is responsible for making sure that California follows its own laws?

The reason that I’m asking is because California seems to be breaking the law by issuing marriage licenses, and I can’t remember from high school who is supposed to fix that. As you know, The California Supreme Court ruled last June that we cannot issue marriage licenses to one group of people and not to another. And then Proposition 8 passed that said that we can’t issue marriage licenses to one group of people.

It seems to me that California ought to stop issuing marriage licenses to everybody – same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike. It is the only thing that is fair.

The people have said that Domestic Partnership is good enough, right? So who is supposed to get California to follow her laws?

Thank you in advance for your help,

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April 8th, 2009

Today’s letter – Religious Mailbag

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I got a really nice note from a reader who saw my posting about The Book of Ruth and how Ruth’s relationship with Naomi inspired her like it inspired me.

You may recall that Ruth and Naomi promised to love and protect each other, “’till death do we part” and wound up having a son together.

“PhourQ” writes “I believe the story of Ruth and Naomi was an answer I received when praying about this issue. I’m glad others are seeing it too.”

That seemed so concise and spiritual that I needed to share. This is relevant to the governorship because it is evidence that there are many Californians who believe, as I do, that marriage is intended to unite two people for mutual joy, comfort in adversity and to raise children in the Church. Without pronouns!

“PhourQ” goes on to say “If people want to argue that the 10 commandments still stand in order to receive salvation, then it’s funny to see people try to wiggle homosexuality into the 10 commandments…it’s just not there.”

Governor, you do not have to advocate for same-sex marriage because of gay rights, you can advocate for same-sex marriage for religious freedom. The way I read our Constitution, you have to.

Sincerely,

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January 7th, 2009

Today’s letter – Shouldn’t Churches Decide

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The biggest arguments I’ve been in about same-sex marriage have hinged on what the bible says about same-sex relationships. Apparently not even the churches can decide!

Some, like the Episcopal Church, believe that all God’s children should be able to participate in the rites of the Church. Others, like the Catholic Church, decided that gay people are not worthy of the rites of ordination and marriage.

When St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach had to choose between “treat thy neighbor as thyself” and “I’m better than the gays,” they decided to leave the Episcopal Church. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that St. James cannot violate the beliefs of the Church, and take the property of the Church with them.

St. James is the exception that proves the rule: freedom of religion demands freedom to marry. The Supreme Court realizes this, the legislature realizes this, and the churches realize this. Why does our government continue to block my freedom to believe, and my freedom to marry?

Sincerely,

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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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May 23rd, 2008

Today’s letter – bigot begone!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Eddie Walker, the principal of Irmo High School in Columbia, S.C., announced he will resign from his post after the district approved a gay-straight alliance that supposedly conflicts with his religious beliefs. “Allowing the formation of this club on our campus conflicts with my professional beliefs and religious convictions,” Walker wrote in his resignation.

The club provides support for gay, lesbian and straight students from an often hostile school environment. Reports show that in 2007, 31 percent of gay students were threatened or injured and 18 percent were physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation. The Lexington-Richmond School District could not stop the club from forming because of federal law prohibiting a club from being banned because of religious bias.

“We truly believe it is unfortunate that this principal cannot see the immense harm that is caused when a social climate of rejection, condemnation and violence is justified with misguided religious belief,” said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith in America.

California law now bans prohibiting individuals from getting married because of religious bias. There will undoubtedly be some people who will resign from the County Clerks offices because they are unwilling to uphold the law. When that happens, we must simply remember what President Eisenhower said when he considered ending the traditional segregation of the blood supply into “Colored,” “White–Hebrew,” and “White-Christian” in 1950. The Red Cross told him that the South wouldn’t accept “mixed blood.” Eisenhower replied “then the South will not get any blood!” and issued an executive order ending the practice.

If Eddie Walker doesn’t want a gay-straight alliance at his school, then he is free to leave. “Those who deny freedoms to others deserve them not for themselves.”

Sincerely,

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May 4th, 2008

Today’s letter – a sad world without any marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

My sister-in-law lives in Germany. There, gay or straight, everybody gets “civil unions” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”

I went to college in Canada. Whether gay or straight, there everybody gets “married” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”

I live in the United States. Here, the government reserves marriage for heterosexual couples and “civil unions” for same-sex couples. The churches are prevented from deciding who they will marry in their ceremonies and blocked from blessing them as “marriage.”

Around the world, from Armenia to Uruguay, government after government is realizing that one way or another, marriage apartheid must end. Abraham Lincoln said “a house divided cannot stand” and we are unquestionably divided.

I wish we would follow Canada’s lead and let everybody get married instead of abolishing it. Marriage is the only time-tested social and legal framework that exists to unite two families – and I’ve always dreamed of getting married, not “civil unioned.”

But I predict that the way this pitched battle will play out in America will be much sadder. Instead of giving everybody the freedom to marry, we will eventually give nobody the freedom to marry.

The end result will be the same: the state will get out of the way of deciding if and who will marry, and leave that intimidate decision to the individuals involved. I will have no trouble finding a church to bless my union, but generations of Americans straight and gay will miss the opportunity to have their government bless their marriage as well.

Yours,

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