Posts tagged ‘Canada’

April 3rd, 2008

Today’s letter – apology acceptable

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A videotape recently surfaced from 1991 showing of a member of the Canadian parliament, Saskatchewan MP Tom Lukiwski, describing homosexual men as “faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit diseases.”

Mr. Lukiwski has apologized twice for his comments, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper said “I believe that when such apology and remorse is sought from an individual member, the generous and high-minded thing to do is to accept that apology.”

So whenever you are ready to apologize for your 2007 veto of AB 43, the bill that would have let me and my domestic partner finally get married, you can be sure I will be sufficiently generous and high-minded to accept it. But until you apologize, I reserve the right to be mean and bitter toward the person who would not let me have the one simple freedom that you and your wife enjoy so freely – the simple freedom to marry.

Yours,

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August 18th, 2007

More Canada Quotes

I got many more quotations that I could use in a letter. I think I probably already used too many. Here’s my list:

I’m a Catholic and I’m praying. But I am the prime minister of Canada and…I’m acting as a person responsible for the nation. The problem of my religion — I deal with it in other circumstances.

— Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, August 13 2003

If people want to do something and it doesn’t hurt other people, doesn’t reduce other people’s rights, we should let them do it. Why not?

— Canadian Defense Minister John McCallum, August 13, 2003

My responsibility as Prime Minister, my duty to Canada and to Canadians, is to defend the Charter in its entirety. Not to pick and choose the rights that our laws shall protect and those that are to be ignored. Not to decree those who shall be equal and those who shall not.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

[S]ome have counseled the government to extend to Gays and Lesbians the right to civil union. This would give same-sex couples many of the rights of a wedded couple, but their relationships would not legally be considered marriage. In other words, they would be equal, but not quite as equal as the rest of Canadians. …[S]eparate but equal is not equal.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

Less than equal is less than adequate. To create another institution [such as civil unions] just contributes to the fact that we would tell those members of the gay and lesbian community that they are not entirely part of our society. Why wouldn’t they be part of marriage?

— Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon August 13, 2003

If a prime minister and a national government are willing to take away the rights of one group, what is to say they will stop at that? How can we as a nation of minorities ever hope, ever believe, ever trust that [the constitution] will be there to protect us tomorrow?

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

We won’t be appealing the recent decision on the definition of marriage. Rather, we’ll be proposing legislation that will protect the right of churches and religious organizations to sanctify marriage as they define it. At the same time, we will ensure that our legislation includes and legally recognizes the union of same-sex couples.”

– Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, June 16, 2003

We embrace freedom and equality in theory, Mr. Speaker. We must also embrace them in fact.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

Many Canadians will want to accept both of these principles: protect the traditional definition of marriage and protect the rights of minorities. The essence of my message today is that we cannot do both. We cannot have it both ways. We must make a choice between traditional marriage and the protection of minority rights.

— Canadian Minister of National Revenue John McCallum, March 21, 2005

It is the responsibility of Parliament to ensure that minority rights are uniform across the country. The government cannot, and should not, pick and choose which rights they will defend and which rights they will ignore.

– Irwin Cotler, Canadian Justice Minister

In civil law, marriage is a contractual arrangement. We support the government’s desire and, we believe, obligation to maintain the equality of all people before the law. Property rights, inheritance issues, access to care and personal support, are a matter of justice, and must be available in a fair and equitable manner to all.

— Bishop Colin Johnson, Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Canada, December 9, 2004

It is incumbent upon us, as a minority, to stand up in solidarity with Canada’s gays and lesbians despite the fact that many in our community believe our religion does not condone homosexuality.”

— Rizwana Jafri, president, Muslim Canadian Congress, February 8, 2005

You have to look at history as an evolution of society.

– Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, June 18, 2003

Same-sex marriages are now a reality in Canada and I don’t think there will be any turning back. Frankly, I would have been quite shocked if someone had tried to tell me [25 years ago] that this is where the logic of the equality provision [of the Charter of Rights] would lead. But lead here it did.

– Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, April 30, 2005

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August 15th, 2007

Today’s letter – Lessons from Canada

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As you consider your position on AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, you might like to hear from some people I consider to be real leaders, in a situation very similar to yours.

Starting in 2003, Canada’s most senior leaders steadily argued for “marriage” before adopting a Federal law in 2005. Their comments were critical for taking the people from being sharply divided on the issue to becoming overwhelming supporters for total marriage equality.

If people want to do something and it doesn’t hurt other people, doesn’t reduce other people’s rights, we should let them do it. Why not?

– Canadian Defense Minister John McCallum, August 13, 2003

My responsibility as Prime Minister, my duty to Canada and to Canadians, is to defend the Charter in its entirety. Not to pick and choose the rights that our laws shall protect and those that are to be ignored. Not to decree those who shall be equal and those who shall not.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

I’m a Catholic and I’m praying. But I am the prime minister of Canada …I’m acting as a person responsible for the nation. The problem of my religion – I deal with it in other circumstances.

– Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, August 13 2003

Many Canadians will want to accept both of these principles: protect the traditional definition of marriage and protect the rights of minorities…. We cannot have it both ways. We must make a choice between traditional marriage and the protection of minority rights.

– Canadian Minister of National Revenue John McCallum, March 21, 2005

[S]ome have counseled the government to extend to Gays and Lesbians the right to civil union. This would give same-sex couples many of the rights of a wedded couple, but their relationships would not legally be considered marriage. In other words, they would be equal, but not quite as equal as the rest of Canadians. …[S]eparate but equal is not equal.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

Less than equal is less than adequate. To create another institution [such as civil unions] just contributes to the fact that we would tell those members of the gay and lesbian community that they are not entirely part of our society. Why wouldn’t they be part of marriage?

– Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, August 13, 2003

If a prime minister and a national government are willing to take away the rights of one group, what is to say they will stop at that? How can we as a nation of minorities ever hope, ever believe, ever trust that [the constitution] will be there to protect us tomorrow?

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

We won’t be appealing the recent decision on the definition of marriage. Rather, we’ll be proposing legislation that will protect the right of churches and religious organizations to sanctify marriage as they define it. At the same time, we will ensure that our legislation includes and legally recognizes the union of same-sex couples.”

– Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, June 16, 2003

We embrace freedom and equality in theory, Mr. Speaker. We must also embrace them in fact.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

I hope you take these to heart and lead the people the right way. Please start by advocating AB 43 and showing, in fact, that you believe in equality.

Sincerely,

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August 14th, 2007

Today’s letter – Going to Disneyland

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today I’m going to Disneyland! Disneyland opened up their Fairy Tale Wedding packages on April 5 to people who are unable to secure a valid marriage license – like the citizens of California currently in Domestic Partnership relationships.

A Disney spokesman said “This is consistent with our policy of creating a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for all of our guests.”

I wish California would follow Disney’s lead, and like Massachusetts, Canada, Spain and South Africa, welcome our same-sex couples with the dignity of marriage. Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, when it reaches your desk this Fall.

California Dreamin’,

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July 27th, 2007

Today’s letter – Upgrading Domestic Partnerships

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

We’ve had AB 205, the Domestic Partnership law, here in California for long enough to know that it’s time to upgrade to proper marriage.

Case in point: Vermont has had Domestic Partnership since 2000. Legislators there are starting to say that it is time for a change – to marriage.

Just this week (with elections looming), Vermont House Speaker Gaye Symington said “I think for many Vermonters the question has been when, not so much as whether, we would eventually recognize same-sex union through marriage,” and Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin said, “I think now most Vermonters would acknowledge [Civil Unions] haven’t impacted their families in any way, shape or form.”

A January 2006 poll in Vermont found 53 percent of respondents favored replacing the “civil unions” with marriage. And that was eighteen months ago!

I’m tired of being behind the curve on civil liberty. I wish we had marriage parity in California like they have in Massachusetts, Canada and Spain – and soon perhaps Vermont. Please sign AB 43 and tell the people to say no to discrimination.

Yours,

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July 25th, 2007

Today’s letter – Marriage makes Cents

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just read again today about how much it costs California to ban gays from marriage. There is the $16 Billion windfall in tourism and commerce, then an ongoing $24 Million each year by closing access to means-tested public benefits.

Granted, the numbers are a bit old: the $16 Billion is from a 2004 Forbes study and a lot of that windfall has already gone to Canada and Massachusetts; the $24 Million annual savings is from a pair of co-authored projects by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law and IGLSS also in 2004. But they have been backed up again and again, because they just make sense.

As a Republican governor, it is your duty to sign AB 43 and promote fiscal responsibility in our state by advocating marriage equality.

Many thanks,

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July 12th, 2007

What is AB 43?

AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, is a bill that would bring us one step closer to ending the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California and providing freedom to churches who wish to perform the ceremonies.

The bill restores Sections 300 and 302 of the California Family Code to their pre-1977 language without touching Section 308.5 blocking foreign marriages that was installed by Proposition 22.

AB 43 is supported by more than 250 civil rights and professional groups, 46 of our 80 Assembly members and 22 of our 37 Senators.

The bill is on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. He must sign or veto the bill before October 14, or it will pass into law on its own. If the bill becomes law, there will probably be an injunction pending the outcome of the marriage cases before the State Supreme Court.

He has vetoed a similar bill, AB 849, and has promised to veto this one too. His arguments have not changed: (1) the people voted for discrimination through Proposition 22 in 2000 and he cannot overturn the will of the people (2) the judiciary and the people need to work this out without the legislature (3) the bill is ineffective because of the pending cases in the Supreme Court.

I don’t believe these arguments hold up. Proposition 22 was about states rights and did nothing to change gay marriage in California. It was seven years ago and does not reflect the will of the voters that set up our Constitution and twice elected the legislature that passed AB 43. Finally, the bill may be ineffective at changing the law, however a signature will send a powerfully effective message about fairness.

The Governor has to know that his excuses are pretty lame. I guess he thinks a veto will win favor with his most active donors and the current crop of gay-haters in Washington, and by distracting people with Proposition 22 and “the will of the people” he can avoid doing what is right for the people in favor of what is right for himself.

It is embarrassing to have California come just a penstroke away from providing all their couples with the same rights. Overcoming prejudice was in California’s history, but now that mantle belongs to Massachusetts, Canada and Spain. It is horrible to have a Republican advocate higher taxes and additional government interference with individual lives. It is demeaning to have one person messing around with my family’s legal status to suit his political agenda.

I hope that I can change Governor Schwarzenegger’s mind, but even if I can only touch the minds and hearts of people who read my letters, I will have accomplished my goal.

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