Today’s letter – Get Government out of our Living Rooms

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Anybody familiar with the syndicated cartoon The Lockhorns, the TV show “Married with Children,” the political travails of Larry Craig or the new film The Kite Runner knows there is a profound difference between sex and marriage.

Across all media, the message is the same: regardless of what happens in bedrooms, bathrooms and alleys, the partnership of marriage is a unique identifier for two people who are special to each other on a much higher level. Sex takes place in the bedroom; marriage happens in the living room.

There are people who say that gay couples are just taking their relationships into the living room. I believe that real relationships start in the living room. Whether they or I am right, Government should not be meddling in the intimate affairs of either room.

We got Government out of our bedrooms. It is time to get it out of our living rooms as well. Regardless of what you believe about same-sex relationships, I wish you would explain to the people and your fellow Republicans that a government that leaves the issue of sex to the individuals involved ought to leave the issue of marriage to individuals as well.

Yours,

Today’s letter – stranger things have happened

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When people tell me that Lesbian and Gay couples will never get married in California, I tell them that “never is a long time.”

Who would have thought that two gay men could have children? Who knew that there would be gay marriages in Spain? Never did we think Larry Craig would be gay and Richard Simmons would be straight – or that the California legislature would pass a gay marriage all the way to the Governor’s desk. Who could have imagined that that we would have an openly gay bishop confirmed by a major religion – or that we would have a major Presidential candidate from a church that believes in gay marriage?

If we want all Californians to be able to fully participate in our economy and society, we need you, Governor, to tell Californians that everybody deserves the freedom to marry. That could never happen – but stranger things have.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Stories from the Trenches

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Here is a little story from a May 2006 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County that shows a sampling of what’s going on “in the trenches” of the GOP.

Author Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson was the speaker for the evening. He explained that more black Americans would enter into marriages if there were a constitutional amendment redefining it as between only one man and one woman.

A member of the audience stood up to ask why, if marriage creates stability in society and is good for children, that a whole group of Americans should be denied the opportunity to marry. The Reverend responded by explaining that Christian beliefs are very important to black Americans and capped it off with a quote from Leviticus.

Another audience member then stood up and asked if the Reverend supported slavery, since, after all, it is in the Bible, too.

The Chairman of the meeting interrupted the discourse to call for tolerance from party members, a call that was honored by the objectors but not by Reverend Peterson, who continued to fabricate reasons for excluding lesbian and gay Americans from the party and from society.

You wonder why Republicans can’t get elected in this state – well look no further than your local chapter meetings, where tolerance of hatred alienates any voter of conscience.

You could change this, Governor, by telling your party that whatever they think of gay marriage, “freedom” means that all Californians should have the freedom to choose who they marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – smokers have more liberty for less public good

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I don’t understand why Government supports the freedom of people to smoke, but not the freedom of people to marry.

In the economics of exchanging liberty “for the public good”, an outright ban on cigarettes would clearly tip to the public good. Yet your sense of justice tells you denying people even the freedom to poison others is wrong.

In the case of my marriage, Government has taken away my liberty “for the public good.” But there is no good that has come of it. The “secondhand marriage” that I’m thrust into costs taxpayers more money to administer, limits my participation in the economy, and sends the poisonous message that government can punish people not for what they do, but for their individual beliefs or immutable characteristics.

If there is no public good, why am I forced to surrender my liberty? Would you please explain to the people and your fellow Republicans that Government should not have eminent domain on individual freedom.

Yours,

Today’s letter – How do they know it’s Christmas without Family?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas.

My Christmas was magical: my husband and I opened presents with our 9 ½ month old kids, including a book that we put together chronicling their first year on Earth. Our parents came over and we enjoyed each others company through a wonderful family dinner. Life has been bountiful, and we were blessed to be able to celebrate that together.

My Christmas bliss was disturbed by the recognition that so many people are celebrating without family. Children whose parents have disowned them because they are gay; parents who have lost children through gay-related suicide; marriages broken because they were formed for the wrong reasons; and even siblings who were turned away because they were unwilling to accept their kin for who they are.

I really don’t know how you can enjoy your holidays knowing that domestic apartheid will flourish as long as you advocate civil unions for some and marriage for others. Please start working now so by next Christmas we can all enjoy the gifts of liberty and freedom.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Merry Christmas

[We sent The Governor our Christmas card, which shows me and my financee holding our two kids in front of the snow-covered castle at Disneyland. The kids are dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Claus in red jackets with white trim and matching hats.]

Governor Schwarzenegger –

Wherever you are, may you have a white Christmas and a joyous 2008.

[handwritten] Thank you for signing the bills last year that protect and nurture our family, and please help us to get the freedom to marry in 2008.

[signed].

Today’s letter – Republicans deserve their reputation

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A particular critical parody of Republicans has been floating around the Internet for a few years. It starts:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
not a critic was stirring, for stirring was banned.
A thousand brown prisoners, snug in their cells,
all held without charges or tinsel or bells;

Did you ever wonder how Republicans, for all the wonderful things they do, get such a bad rap on personal freedom? Maybe it is because the GOP is the only party that believes gay people do not deserve the freedom to get married, get domestic partnered or even raise children. (Yes, Virginia, it’s right there in your party platform.)

When you can meddle with the most intimate thing in a man’s life – his private relationships – it scares anybody with a sense of justice. And it should. Republicans used to be about separating Government from individual people’s decisions. Now that is all upside-down.

I hope Santa brings you some common sense for Christmas, and you evolve to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Leviticus bans Sex, not Love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Bible Week continues with a clarification of Leviticus. The old-testament passage says “[a man] shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” On the surface, this seems pretty damming, but anybody who reads the bible with more care than they give the Recycler knows that this is nothing about gay marriage or same-sex relationships, and certainly not an appropriate guide for public policy.

As a gay dad, I differ from the biblical scholars who dwell on issues of context and applications to temple prostitution and pagan ritual. Instead, I recognize that to “lie with” anybody – man or woman – the way it is said in Leviticus is wrong. That’s adultery, prostitution, promiscuity and a bunch of other things.

God begins Leviticus 18 saying “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you.” and then goes on to list other “abominations” practiced by the Canaanites, such as eating pork (11:7) or seafood (11:9), planting mingled seeds (19:19) or wearing polycotton blends (19:19).

Nowhere – and conspicuously nowhere – does He endorse heterosexual relationships or ban homosexual ones.

This is consistent with Genesis and the rest of the bible where we are taught that God created partnerships for the purposes of companionship, not to exclude gay people.

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

As long as man can debate what the Old Testament says about homosexuality, we need to use a higher standard for deciding public policy, such as freedom and liberty. Please reconsider your admonishment of same-sex relationships and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Condemn the correct sin

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Your public policy on gay marriage hinges on a condemnation of gay sex, which of course comes from the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The story goes that God destroyed the two cities because of the immoralities of the residents, and because the writings of some Dark Ages monks, “the sin of Sodomy” has become synonymous with any sexual liaison that is not stick+hole=baby.

Unfortunately for that policy, anybody who reads the Bible with more attention than they pay to the Sudoku puzzle in their Sunday paper knows that God’s destruction of the city (Genesis 18:20) has nothing to do with the part where the men attempt to rape the angels (Genesis 19:9), which was merely an act of barbaric punishment by rape – not homosexuality.

Ezekiel 16 lists the many sins of these people – and homosexuality is not one of them.

“”Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49 (American Standard)

In 2003 the United States Supreme Court invalidated Sodomy laws as being an unconstitutional violation of privacy. In 2005 and 2007 the California Legislature sought to invalidate the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage as an unconstitutional violation of religious tolerance, privacy and freedom. You sided with the sodophyles and vetoed those bills.

When you have abundant food and careless ease, the least you could do is help same-sex couples achieve the access to same laws and opportunities as everybody else. It is too late for you to sign AB 43, but it is not too late for you to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Adam should not be alone

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Your public policy on gay marriage seems to have all started with Adam and Eve. This original couple started out clinging together and was later told by God that they were married and to “go forth and multiply.”

This relationship has been carried to an extreme in order to specially exclude homosexual couples from society and, in particular, marriage. This has gone on for so long that those opposed to my marriage carry signs that say “God made Adam and Eve – Not Adam and Steve!” The reasoning is twofold: first, Adam and Eve were created to procreate, and second, since God didn’t make a gay couple, God forbids gay relationships. Of course, anybody who actually reads Genesis with more care than they read a t-shirt gets a different view.

For the first point, God’s first stated reason for marriage was companionship, not procreation. God said:

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

Thus He created Eve for Adam. Procreation was bonus, since at the time they didn’t have sperm banks or in vitro clinics.

The second point, just because God happened to made a man and a woman first doesn’t mean anything about couples after that. Adam and Eve didn’t make grandparents or bellybuttons, but I don’t see bumper stickers about that. What really makes this argument folly is that God did make at least one gay couple – me and my partner – and thus the argument of God’s Perfect Template falls apart.

So the next time you get a letter from a constituent saying Adam and Steve should be kept apart, remember Adam and Eve, and God’s message of companionship and commitment. Then support the freedom to marry for all God’s children.

Yours,