Today’s letter – First comes Love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The rhyme goes:

First comes love (we met June 22, 1997)
Then comes marriage (we were married in San Francisco on Valentines Day 2004)
Then comes baby in the baby carriage (we had twins – a boy and a girl – in March)

We did everything right! But our marriage was annulled by the state and now we’re reduced to groveling for our equivalent legal rights through the domestic partnership system.

Now won’t you do what’s right? California should have one word for marriage: “marriage.” Please sign AB 43 and give us back our marriage.

Today’s letter – gays can’t marry but straights can domestic partner

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Did you know that in California, same-sex couples cannot be married, but opposite-sex couples can be domestic partners?

Apparently by Federal law, if you are being paid your dead spouse’s Social Security and remarry, you lose your deceased partner’s benefits. Our domestic partnership law has a carve-out for straight people over the age of 62 so they can keep their former spouse’s social security benefits, yet enjoy survivorship, inheritance and hospital visitation with their new partner.

I think that stinks. I’ve been in a domestic partnership since 2000; I pay MORE than the same taxes, but I can’t get my partner’s Social Security at all. If I were in a heterosexual relationship, I would not only be able to get my husband’s benefits, but also defraud the government in my next relationship.

California should have one word for marriage: “marriage.” Please sign AB 43 and get rid of this nonsense.

Offended, but still yours,

Today’s letter – back from recess

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger [Sacramento Office] –

With the legislature back, you must be busy. Your Health Care program and legendary budget restraint are making national news. How will you move our government forward without reckless spending?

Please consider signing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. It fixes a mistake our legislature and Governor Jerry Brown made in 1977 when they redefined marriage, it will save California money, and it’s easy common ground: everybody believes in full equality for all Californians.

Who knows? It might get your other projects underway a little sooner.

Good luck,

Today’s letter – LA is losing your mail

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger [via Sacramento Office] –

I have written several letters asking you to sign AB 43, the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.” I don’t expect a reply to every letter I write, but the pattern I see is very disturbing.

When I send them to your Sacramento office, I receive a reply within a week.

When I send them to your Los Angeles office, I never receive any acknowledgment.

The Los Angeles office told me verbally that their operating procedure is to read and forward all letters to the appropriate individual in Sacramento so they can be treated expediently, but apparently something is broken. I haven’t received a single response since July 12 through the Spring Street route.

I would hope that these letters are being lost because of something procedural rather than something having to do with the content of the letters themselves. Either way, some reassurance that you are listening to your constituents would be welcome.

Sincerely,

Attachments: three “lost letters” from July 20, 25 & 26

Today’s letter – Let them wed

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In the October 2006 issue of Esquire magazine, Brad Pitt said “Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.”

Their kids – and ours – deserve to have parents who are legally married. Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act and let them wed!

Sincerely,

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,

Evolving Talking Points

  • Governor Schwarzenegger does not hate gay people. He knows many as an actor, from Merv Griffin to Rosie O’Donnell. He has signed almost every lesbian and gay rights law he has received. He signed our very effective Domestic Partnership legislation. His Chief of Staff is a Lesbian.
  • It is unknown why he stops short on legal marriage. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a nearly identical bill in 2005. The reasons he has given range from weak to dismissable (lacks authority to override Proposition 22, wants the people to decide).
  • The legislature changed the California Family Code section 300 from “two persons” to “man and woman” in 1977. The change was signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Schwarzenegger says he lacks the authority to sign AB 43, but it is the same authority as Jerry Brown had in 1977. The legislature changes their laws all the time. Governor Schwarzenegger might be sued, but better him than me.
  • The people passed Proposition 22 in 2000 adding a section to the part of the California Family Code that deals with marriages performed in other places. Section 308 says California has to honor marriages performed elsewhere, and the new section, 308.5, limits that to heterosexual marriages performed elsewhere. It is a state rights issue. AB 43 does not change 308 or 308.5. The courts will need to sort that out but in the meantime we will have gay marriage and the will of the legislature will be on record.
  • We need AB 43 for several strategic reasons:
    • if the Supreme court decides in October that Californians deserve gay marriage, we will still need AB 43 to provide it.
    • a pro-marriage law will drive the courts towards legal marriage.
    • a pro-marriage law will drive the people towards legal marriage.
    • an anti-gay ballot initiative becomes one that removes freedoms rather than one that just reinforces existing law (unnecessary, benign).
  • Churches that do not believe in same-sex marriage (or any other kind of marriage) will not have to perform any ceremony. More importantly, churches that DO believe in same-sex marriage will finally be able to perform them (United Church of Christ, Metropolitan Community Church.)
  • Same-sex marriages and registered partnerships (Domestic Partnerships, civil unions) are not the same. Although registered partnerships give same-sex couples most of the benefits and protections of civil marriage, the couples are not legally married. Registered partnerships create two sets of laws that are expensive to administer, and they deprive California citizens of their dignity. Nobody grows up dreaming of getting ‘domestic partnered.’

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

Today’s letter – Lessons from Spain

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 who were in a situation very similar to yours.

Spain’s path to marriage equality was much faster than Canada’s. Their prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, advocated marriage parity and survived an election doing so, with 61% of Spaniards supporting full marriage. These are the words he used to do it:

I will never understand those who proclaim love as the foundation of life, while denying so radically protection, understanding and affection to our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, our colleagues. What kind of love is this that excludes those who experience their sexuality in a different way?
– May 11, 2005

It is time to bring to an end, once and for all, the intolerable discrimination still suffered by many Spaniards exclusively by virtue of their sexual preferences.

Homosexuals and transsexuals deserve the same public consideration as heterosexuals and have the right to live freely the life that they themselves have chosen.
– April 15, 2004

He is my new hero. You have some work to do. Please consider as a start signing AB 43 when it reaches your desk.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Jersey Polls and the California People

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

It looks like a veto of the 2007 Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (AB 43), would put you on the wrong side of the people too.

In a Zogby poll of New Jersey voters released yesterday, 63% said they would be fine with replacing civil unions with marriage, and 72% said there were more important reasons for keeping or replacing their lawmakers.

I don’t know what the numbers are for California, but I can’t imagine that the legislators who bring you AB 43 would have done it without checking the polls (unless they thought it was just the right thing to do. HA!)

I used to say sign AB 43 because it will lead the people toward equality, but it looks like the people are going there anyway. So please sign AB 43 to catch up!

Sincerely,