Today’s letter – either the Church or Galileo is wrong

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Since the public policy banning my marriage is based on the teachings of the Catholic Church, it would be prudent to take a moment to examine the credentials of the teacher.

In 1633, The Vatican said that the sun (and everything else) orbits the Earth. Galileo Galilei claimed that the Earth orbited the sun. Observation v. Bible went on trial, and Galileo was found guilty of contradicting God’s word. He was forced to renounce his findings, excommunicated and placed under house arrest until his death.

It took centuries for fact to overtake fiction, and in 1993, Pope John Paul II finally conceded that Galileo was right: the Earth really did orbit the sun, and the Church was wrong.

I was astonished to learn that the current pope, Benedict XVI, is on a tear to once again condemn Galileo for daring to use facts to question the authority of the Church. This kind of blatant disregard for the brains God gave us makes me question all of the Church’s teachings; when you start to unravel them, it’s not a pretty sight.

I was taught that the universe revolves around God, not Mr. XVI. I was taught to treat others as I like to be treated myself. I was taught to pursue truth and not power. If anything I’ve been taught is true, the Catholic Church is dangerously far from God, and their treatment of Galileo – and me – proves that.

Please, Governor, use the brains God gave you and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Saving marriage for the Spears

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today’s headlines announced that 26-year-old Britney Spears is getting married for the third time, and that her 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant – out of wedlock – with a guy she met at Church.

The response from the Campaign for California Families is an amped-up effort to “save marriage” from lesbian and gay couples.

Now I don’t know about you, Governor, but it seems to me that we should be “saving marriage” for committed couples like me and my partner of ten-and-a-half years, instead of people like the Spears who seem to have a problem with commitment.

I want my kids to have positive role models. I think society would want to promote that. Instead, your office is resonating the message that marriage is for something other than committed couples.

I wish you would use your position of power and leadership to explain to the people of California that all committed couples should have the freedom to marry – and perhaps we might be able to really and truly “save marriage.”

Yours,

Today’s letter – Unworthy of Jury Duty

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

According to you, the people of California have determined that I am either incapable or unworthy of marrying my partner of ten-and-a-half years. That’s why you annulled my marriage in 2004 and vetoed AB 43 in 2007.

Since I am apparently less of a person, I was wondering if I could get out of Jury Duty. Who would want a gay dad on their jury anyway? Could you write me a note?

It’s not that I don’t mind serving – it’s just that I would rather not waste my time going down there to be rejected because of who I love. I get enough rejection from you.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Paul was against everything, except Commitment

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Since the Bible is the foundation everybody turns to when they try to justify the special ban on same-sex marriages, it would be a good idea for you to know what the Bible actually says about homosexuality, and in particular, same-sex relationships.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:26-27 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet,”

The usual argument to this is that Paul was against everything. For instance, he wrote in Timothy 2:9, that women should “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” I’m sure your wife Maria would take issue with this admonition if it were to become public policy.

Others point out that Paul was commenting not on homosexual couples but the pagan practice of “fertilizing” castrated galli priests as surrogates of the fertility goddess, a weird way of worshiping a false idol, which actually was one of those ten commandment thingies.

As a gay dad, I have a different take on this. I like and love my life partner. We are a couple. Paul wasn’t talking about us, he was talking about people like Larry Craig and Ted Haggart, who turned away from their partners to pursue lust towards others.

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

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

Yours,

Today’s letter – lying is worse than homosexuality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m just trying to be the best husband and father that I can. That’s why I want to thank you for passing SB 777 to teach the truth in our schools.

I remember when I had my first sex-ed class (in a private Catholic school). I was in sixth grade. The principal and the male faculty took all the boys into the library, while the female faculty took all the girls to a classroom in the other end of the building. Being in the library, while the principal was trying to explain the reproductive system, we were looking up obscene words in the unabridged dictionary. That’s when I discovered to my dismay that a “navel” was several inches above where I thought it was. It was, in retrospect, very educational – but not because of the reasons that the faculty had intended.

Americans have developed a bad habit of confronting situations that challenge their beliefs by praying for contrary evidence to go away, then persecuting anybody who resists. Just like evolution and heliocentrism (a word from that unabridged dictionary) got this treatment in the past, homosexuals are getting it now.

As a gay man who believes in God and His country, raising children in a committed same-sex relationship, I’m a pretty damming piece of evidence that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

But in an attempt to make people like me “go away,” the Boy Scouts say that I don’t believe in God, Mormons say I am unpatriotic, Catholics say that I can’t get into heaven, and Republicans say I can’t raise children.

Just lying doesn’t make people like me go away – it just keeps me from fully participating in our economy and society. And that hurts everybody.

It doesn’t matter what somebody’s religious beliefs are, they are never an excuse for teaching lies to our children. Thank you for taking a stand for families by signing SB 777.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Only Lies Separate Gays from God

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m just a guy who is trying to be the best husband and father that I can, and I’m willing to work hard for a better world. As a gay man who believes in God and the tradition of getting married, I’m really getting beaten up today, and although I already have God on my side, I could sure use your help too.

Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, expressed his organization’s religious beliefs: “Since we were founded, we believe that open homosexuality would be inconsistent with the values that we want to communicate with our leaders.”

Mr. Shields explained a bit more though, saying “A belief in God is also mentioned in the Scout oath. We believe that those values are important. Tradition is important. Our mission is to instill those values in scouts and help them make good choices over their lifetimes.”

It is no accident that Mr. Shields links homosexuals to people who don’t believe in God and don’t follow tradition. It is probably what he was taught. But anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that this is a lie.

I am living proof that homosexuals can and do believe in God and want to follow tradition, perhaps more than anybody – I not only want to carry on my family’s tradition by getting married and sending my kids to Scout Camp, but I also want to achieve that without lying about myself or my family. That’s what the Scout oath is really about.

When Mr. Shields uses lies to separate my family from God, he is also separating my family from Freedom. Mitt Romney pointed out today that “Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”

I just don’t have the same muscle as The Boy Scouts, The Mormon Church or The State of California. That’s why I need your help to set things straight. I wish you would support the freedom of families like mine to follow their beliefs and traditions. I wish you would support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Pete Knight: In his own words

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When you vetoed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (and my freedom to marry), you cited “Proposition 22” as last word on same-sex marriage in California. I think it is important to look at what those words are – and what words you support – when you support Proposition 22.

Proposition 22’s author Pete Knight said:

“The man-woman family is the best possible family unit… The woman brings certain characteristics, and the man brings certain characteristics. Homosexuals who want to marry are asking the state to legalize and promote a family unit that is different from the best.”

“They talk about equal rights, but there is no right to marriage. … There is no civil right that says that you should be allowed to marry a man and a man.”

“As far as domestic partners are concerned, I think I can accept, and I would be willing to support, domestic partners with limited rights, limited state’s rights. …they should have the ability to designate whoever they want to come in and visit with them in a hospital. Those kinds of things are kind of basic, and they don’t even need to register as domestic partners to have that happen. There are legal documents, there are legal means, by which they can accomplish that. They can have a will and leave whatever they have to whomever they want. So that’s not something that’s being denied them. They can have those kinds of things.”

“I think, sooner or later, the government is going to have to step in and say, now wait a minute. You can’t have a marriage here and not be accepted here. We had a patchwork one time with slavery, and we had to correct it.”

“The state would have to teach that this is an acceptable family unit. The state should not be sponsoring or promoting a second-class unit.”

This guy sure was good. He was able to convince an entire state of Americans to turn against their principles and say that not all of us are created equal. His success forces me to take time I could be spending with my kids in order to beg for every little scrap that “first-class” units like Britney Spears can get in under an hour. He has managed to redefine marriage as a weapon, and aimed it straight at me.

I wish you, Governor, would do more to thwart this man’s injustices, and less to propagate them.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Uruguay has more freedom than America

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I used to get excited when a new country announced recognition of same-sex couples. For example, Uruguay is about to provide equivalent social security, pension, inheritance, and parenting rights to both heterosexual and homosexual couples through a “civil union” structure. I used to see it as a tipping point in the way people saw – and treated – their lesbian and gay brethren.

But with Civil Unions or marriage available throughout almost forty countries representing every continent except Antarctica, I’m starting to instead see it as a countdown until the United States is the last country on earth that fails to allow her lesbian and gay citizens to fully participate in the economy and community.

How can we say America is the “land of the free” when people in Uruguay get social security, pension, inheritance, and parenting rights, while my partner of ten years and I become legal strangers as soon as we step out of our home state? Uruguay!!!!!!

It is truly a global embarrassment that you, Governor, tolerate the negative and divisive bullying tactics that the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) and other opponents of equality are using to carve out and marginalize an entire group of people based on who they happen to love.

Change begins at home. The next year will be pivotal in the fight between the opponents of equality and fair-minded Californians. I need you to do more than stay silent: please support the freedom to marry so the United States might someday join the world community in treating all of her citizens with dignity and respect.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Silently tolerating nonsense

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I like you because you’re a non-nonsense kind of guy. You drive a hummer and smoke cigars regardless of what people say. And just as effectively as you enjoy your own freedoms, you usually defend those of Californians. I would have even voted for you – except for one strange thing: you consistently and mysteriously block same-sex couples from having the freedom to marry.

There were many occasions when you could have stepped up and said something in support of this freedom. Way back when Proposition 22 was just a gleam in Pete Knight’s eye, you could have said “people should be able to do what they want” in the context of gay marriage instead of gay sex. When I was married in San Francisco in 2004 you could have said “we ought to change things so these people can get married legally” instead of just smacking down with the law. When the people and legislature asked you to sign AB 849 in 2005 and AB 43 in 2007, you could have said “I regret having to veto the bill.” Instead you gleefully sent it – and my freedom – back to ground zero.

Thousands of same-sex couples are just trying to make the same commitment of marriage you and Maria were free to make. Why do you tolerate the nonsense of domestic apartheid? Why do you stand silent while freedoms are being trampled?

I really expected more from you.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Sons, daughters and legacy

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Like you, I’m a dad who wants the best for his kids – both now, and in their adult lives. While my kids are no less likely to be gay because they have gay parents, the well-publicized research of Psychologist Anthony Bogaert indicates that your son Christopher is twice as likely to be gay as your son Patrick. As a public figure, do you plan to let your childrens’ private sexual orientation affect your public decision making?

I have written before about Dick Cheney who said that he believes “Freedom means Freedom for Everybody,” and Mayor Jerry Sanders who said he cannot tell people they are “less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation.”

Critics have said that both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Cheney let their personal lives influence their decision-making because they have children who are gay. But to see what happens when public figures make decisions in spite of their family, look no further than your late friends Representative Sonny Bono and State Senator Pete Knight.

Despite co-authorship of DOMA from one and the notorious Proposition 22 from the other, their children are just as gay as the Cheney’s. Mr. Knight’s son even married his love Joe Lazzaro in San Francisco – a marriage later annulled by his own father’s law. These kids are living full lives, yet not able to participate fully in our economy and community because of who they love and their fathers’ legacy.

Nothing any of these men said would have stopped their kids from becoming who they are. But on the way two of these men did things to make the world better for their kids, and two worked to make it worse. Yes, perhaps Mr. Sanders and Mr. Cheney let their decisions be influenced by their personal lives instead of political directives, but the world is better for it.

I want my kids to have the freedom to marry the person that they like and love – regardless of their religion, race or gender. I would hope you would want the same. I invite you to speak out about how important it is for our kids to have the freedom to marry regardless of their sexual orientation. Who knows? It might be in your personal best interest too.

Yours,