Posts tagged ‘Family Code’

May 15th, 2008

Today’s letter – you have been terminated!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today was a great day. The State Supreme Court overruled you to say that same-sex couples must be given the “respect and dignity” of marriage because the constitutional protections for race and gender also apply to sexual orientation.

The Los Angeles Times quoted me saying “I think this is the beginning of the end of ostracism, bullying, and all the things that used to make people feel less human than others.”

The Los Angeles Times also quoted you – in the paragraph after me, ha ha – saying that you “will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.” Thank you for that. Thank you thank you thank you. But it is a little late for you to be surrendering your authority over my relationships, after that authority was removed.

Because of the Domestic Partnership legislation that you signed and the Federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” my family is honestly not directly affected by this decision at a legal level. But people don’t get married for the rights: they get married for the social acceptance. This decision – and your support of it – sends the clear message that ALL California couples are welcome to commit to marriage and fully participate in our economy and our society.

The real victory is not for us, it is for every struggling teen who thinks they are different, by bringing them the comfort that there is a way to live their life without celibacy or suicide, and their government – and Governor – will support them.

Today was a great day because the State Supreme Court said “freedom means freedom for EVERYBODY,” and my Governor will (finally) fight to make sure that happens.

No longer Yours,

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October 12th, 2007

Today’s letter – here is what you could say

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As you approach the deadline for acting on legislation from this fiscal year, I thought I might help out by writing a message for you to use in relation to AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

I was careful to address your objections in the past as well as the ultimate issue of using mere laws – even voter initiatives – to override the Constitution.

My fellow Californians.

I said that I would veto AB 43 because I believe the courts and the people should decide the fate of marriage in this state. I also said that lesbian and gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law and should not be discriminated against based upon their relationships. Up to now, I had seen these as being in contradiction to each other, but I have come to realize that it is not possible to treat these couples fairly while blocking them from marriage.

The people have made it clear through their elected representatives and the State Constitution that they do not tolerate discrimination in any form. Statutes passed by the legislature and even by voter initiatives are not able to create discrimination without changing the Constitution.

I also said that I would veto AB 43 because I lacked the authority to reverse an initiative approved by the people of California. I am not seeking that authority because I do not intend to reverse an initiative statute.

The initiative statute passed by the voters as Proposition 22 in 2000 enacted California Family Code Section 308.5 relating to marriages performed in other jurisdictions. It did not change the Constitution.

AB 43 changes Sections 300 and 302 of the California Family Code to say that a marriage is a contractual relationship between two persons. This is the original language of the Family Code prior to a legislative statute passed in 1977. It makes no changes to the implementation or enforcement of section 308.5.

AB 43 also provides for the free exercise of religion by institutions who believe in performing marriages of same-sex couples. Article I, section 4 of the California Constitution guarantees free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference, and as I explained earlier, Proposition 22 did not amend the Constitution.

Structures such as Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions, which I have supported in the past, are undermining marriage by providing a way for couples to cohabitate without making the commitment of marriage. Proposition 22 was passed to defend marriage as an institution, not to defend it against some kind of invader. We can not protect marriage by excluding people who want to support it, or by creating imaginary enemies to keep out. These tactics divide us and weaken our ability to face the real problem. The best way to follow the intent of Proposition 22 is to provide one set of laws governing relationships in this state and providing universal access to them.

The courts and the people will have their say. The issue regarding the constitutionality of section 308.5 and its prohibition against recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere is currently before the Court of Appeal in San Francisco and will likely be decided by the Supreme Court. Likewise, if the people want to exclude certain families from the security of marriage, they will need to pass a Constitutional amendment to do that. In the meantime, it is wrong to deny any citizen the freedom to marry, and just as wrong for me to block this bill.

I intend to uphold the Constitution of this state and the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives by signing this bill into law.

The tide is turning, Governor. Do you want to be on the side supporting love, or the side supporting hate? Please sign AB 43 and support the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,

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September 18th, 2007

Letter to Attorney General "Jerry" Brown – tell the Governor to sign AB 43

Attorney General’s Office
California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

September 18, 2007

Dear Attorney General Brown:

When you were Governor in 1977, you signed a law changing marriage in the State from “two persons” to “man and woman.”

The current legislature has asked your friend Governor Schwarzenegger to correct that law and extend the freedom to marry to all California couples through AB 43.

The Governor is using Proposition 22, a seven-year-old states-rights initiative that did nothing to change same-sex marriage, as an excuse to veto the new bill. In the meantime, states like Maryland are suddenly ruling that the legislature (not the Constitution) has the final say on marriage. This is some Proposition, this Proposition 22!

I wish you would talk to Governor Schwarzenegger and set him straight: he can and should sign AB 43 not only because the people (through the legislature) have asked him to do it, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

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September 7th, 2007

Today’s letter – tell the truth about Proposition 22

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As somebody who has read your various statements about gay marriage in California over the years, I believe that you would sign AB 43 (the bill ending the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage) if it was the will of the people. The problem is that you continue to use Proposition 22 as not only a gauge of will, but also as a legal excuse for vetoing this legislation.

We can disagree about the intent of voters when they passed Proposition 22, but the intent of the law was to block foreign marriages from becoming recognized in California.

It would seem from recent polling data and the behavior of the legislature that the people are not opposed to extending the freedom to marry to their fellow citizens.

It would make me really sad if you obstructed the will of the people based on a bad guess of their intentions. The people do not oppose freedom – please support them by signing AB 43.

Hopefully,

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August 30th, 2007

Today’s letter – Consider your counsel before you consider a veto

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When you vetoed AB 849, the 2005 version of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, you said you “do not believe the Legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California” on the advice of your Attorney General, Bill Lockyer.

I don’t know why this was relevant to AB 849. The bill would not have “reversed an initiative” but rather changed a 1977 law signed by your current Attorney General, Edmund “Jerry” Brown.

I am worried that your Attorney General’s office is biased against the freedom to marry. To defend the state’s position, the office wrote “the words ‘marry’ and ‘marriage’ have no essential significance under the California Constitution,” and that there are no differences between California’s registered domestic partners and married couples under state law.

If there are no differences, why does a different section of the Family Code apply to my family and yours? If there are no differences, why are they – and you – opposed to merging them through AB 43? The fact is that same-sex couples have been carved out for special denial of the basic security of marriage that everybody else – including you and your Attorney General – so blithely enjoy, because of a law that your Attorney General signed!

The lesbian and gay communities have joined with the religious communities to ask for the freedom to marry as they choose, while your Attorney General’s office is siding with the Opponents of Equality to defend a bad law from 1977 by mischaracterizing it as a voter initiative.

It is offensive to my sense of justice to have the Attorney General working harder for your personal protection than for the people of this state. Please sign AB 43 so we can get the Attorney General out of the business of deciding who should – and should not – have the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,

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August 18th, 2007

Letter to John Kanaley – Truth in Advertising and Opposition to Equality

Dear Mr. Kanaley:

I know that you have a lot to worry about with your election on Tuesday but you seem to have been quite critical of your opponents support of AB 43, the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act” without apparently understanding what the bill is about. It would be quite sad if voters elected somebody who opposed their freedom based on incomplete information.

I found this statement about AB 43 on your stump page http://www.lbreport.com/ads/37cong/kan2.htm where you said:

“This past June California Assembly members voted to legalize homosexual marriage, completely and arrogantly ignoring the will of California voters who, in March of 2000, passed Prop. 22 with 61.4% of the vote. That initiative called for the state to recognize marriage as only being between one man and one woman. 101 of 120 legislative districts voted for this initiative.”

The truth is a little bit complicated, but so is being an effective legislator:

Proposition 22 did not call for the state to recognize marriage as only being between one man and one woman. Our Family Code already did that in Section 300, which was changed from “persons” to “man and woman” by the legislature in 1977 and signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Proposition 22 was designed and sold to prevent California from recognizing gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions. That’s what the campaign was about, and that’s what the voters passed. It enhanced section 308 which says we recognize marriages from other states and countries, to limit that recognition to heterosexual marriages.

As a Republican, you ought to support full marriage equality in fact and in name, since it not only reduces duplicative laws and entitlement programs, but also gets government out of restricting our freedom.

If you had read AB 43 you would know that it doesn’t conflict with Proposition 22 one single bit. I think Californians deserve a candidate who reads laws before criticizing them at least as much as they deserve representatives who are not opposed to equality.

Sincerely,

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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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