Today’s letter – as clear as the day is bright

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is so-called “leap day” that only comes along once every four years. This “day” was fabricated and imposed on us in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII just so that Easter would fall at around the same time of year. It is really just a collection of hours to make up for the six hour discrepancy between the traditional year and the seasons, and not a “day.”

In ancient times, the adjustment was a whole ten-day month that happened every 25 years; by 46 BC, Caesar created a whole month – one day long – to deal with the problem. The month was legally identical to the day before it, “separate but equal” one might say. Clearly, it is a time period like no other in the calendar year, and it requires special treatment, for calling it a “day” demeans all of the other days of the year.

Where is the incentive for the sun to rise if just any time adjustment can be called a “day?” We need to protect the traditional definition of a year – which everybody knows is 365 days – against this assault to logic.

I propose that instead of calling this a “day” we call it a “domestic time adjustment interval” and that people who are born or die during this time period are recorded on the previous or following day.

You don’t call a “domestic partnership” a marriage – you should not call “February 29th” a day, or else the calendar, the foundation of our society and economy, would surely collapse.

Yours,

Today’s letter – the United Nations holds us all together

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Today I want to talk to you about Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

How do you reconcile this with what me and my family experiences every time your administration segregates me and my “same-sex domestic partner” because of our gender?

Is it not an invasion of our privacy to compel us to check “domestic partnership” (or “other”) on forms sent to the government? Does it not humiliate and demean our honor and reputation when you say we are less worthy of marriage than you and your wife? By what measure does the law protect our family, home and correspondence when the law does not treat us as equals?

The only way I can see you justifying this is by dancing on the word “arbitrary.” But if you have a reason for violating Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I have yet to hear it. Would you be so kind as to do that before you next violate my freedom to marry?

Yours,

Today’s letter – Desmond Tutu supports the freedom to marry

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Nobel Prize Winner and former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has weighed in on the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage.

“I am deeply, deeply distressed that in the face of the most horrendous problems — we’ve got poverty, we’ve got conflict and war, we’ve got HIV/AIDS — and what do we concentrate on? We concentrate on what you are doing in bed,” Tutu told journalists at the World Social Forum in Nairobi.

“To penalize someone because of their sexual orientation is like what used to happen to us; to be penalized for something which we could do nothing (about) — our ethnicity, our race,” said Tutu. “I would find it quite unacceptable to condemn, persecute a minority that has already been persecuted.”

His words echo those of Spanish and Canadian leaders who brought their people to understand and embrace same-sex marriage as a fundamental component of their nation’s diversity.

I wish his words would inspire you too. Please stop being an obstacle to freedom, and instead lead the people to understand what you must already know: there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, there is everything wrong with denying it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – the fight for equality got more dear

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The estate of an early employee of Microsoft, Ric Weiland, announced a $65 million donation to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, including scholarships and legal work on same-sex marriage.

In other words, $65 million was pledged to fight against Republicans like you who preach that individual choices are the best ones, then make sure the gays can’t make the most personal choice, the choice of marriage.

Please do like Mr. Weiland – take a stand against prejudice, hate and violence by supporting the freedom of all committed couples to make the commitment of marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – let Oscar wed too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

At last night’s Academy Awards, the Best Short Documentary went to a film called “Freeheld” about the struggle that a New Jersey police Lieutenant faced as she tried to include her partner in her pension while she also battled cancer. Had her partner been a different gender, it would have been automatic; instead it was anything but.

I know that you intend for Domestic Partnership to provide same-sex couples with all of the time-tested social and legal features of marriage. The truth is that Domestic Partnership fails miserably at bringing even basic parity to California’s gay partnerships.

When Director Cynthia Wade tells three million people that “It was Lt. Laurel Hester’s dying wish that her fight against discrimination would make a difference for all the same-sex couples across the country,” she is telling three million people that leaders like you are the problem; that people like you, for all your best intentions, are merely obstacles to individual liberty until you support the freedom for all of us to decide for ourselves who we marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – dawdling is not courageous

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In today’s New York Times Opinion section, the editors discussed New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s statement about same-sex marriage. In response to a commission’s report pointing out the second-class nature of Civil Unions, the Governor said he would sign a bill ending gay couples’ exclusion from marriage, “but not in an election year.” Doing so, he asserts, would be unnecessarily divisive.

The New York Times writes “we appreciate his candor. But to achieve real marital equality will take political courage, not more dawdling.”

Indeed, the Opponents of Equality have not hesitated to choose election years to deliberately divide this country. Through your dawdling, Governor, you have given them another opportunity to turn neighbors in this state against each other.

Governor, I wish you would find the political courage to tell the people of California and Supreme Court next Tuesday that domestic apartheid is not acceptable. All California families deserve access to the time-tested legal and social structure called “marriage.”

Yours,

Today’s letter – picketing a funeral is legal, why not gay marriage?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Three members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed a funeral in Reno, Nevada, yesterday because they believe that the Santa Barbara City College sophomore was killed by God to send a message that He hates Reno.

They carried placards reading “Pray for More Dad Kids,” “Don’t Worship the Dead” and “God Sent the Killer.”

While such displays are pathetic and disagreeable to just about everybody with any sense of decency, just about everybody agrees that blocking the display would be an even greater offense to liberty.

We have a precedent and a practice in this country of letting adults make adult decisions, because we believe that the best choices are the ones people are free to make for themselves.

I was lucky enough to find somebody I love, who loves me in return. Regardless of what you think of same-sex relationships, Governor, standing in the way of our ability to marry is the most pathetic and reprehensible display of all.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Leviticus or Sermon on the Mount?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Somebody asked me the other day who the gays want for President. Hillary Clinton has been the long-time favorite because of her support of New Yorkers at pride events and legislation to help stop AIDS.

I think the gays should look seriously at a different contender. Senator Obama has elegantly differentiated himself from Senator Clinton by directly addressing the problem of the religious divide in this country. He has also differentiated himself from Senator McCain by trying to heal that divide instead of exploiting it.

There is one theme in the Senator’s speeches that has resurfaced again and again, that we are a religious nation, but we embrace tolerance and inclusion, not hatred and violence.

On June 28, 2006, the Senator asked “which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?”

During the HRC/Logo debate on August 20 of last year. Senator Obama said “There are people who recognize that if we’re going to talk about justice and civil rights and fairness, that should apply to all people, not just some. And there are some folks who coming out of the church elevated one line in Romans above the Sermon on the Mount. … It is unfortunate. It’s got to stop.”

That, Governor, is the kind of leadership that transcends party lines; it means Senator Obama “gets it.” It is what I would expect to hear from Kennedy, Carter or Lincoln.

I wish I could hear it from you. Please, Governor, lead the people away from divisive politics, and ask them to stop blocking same-sex couples from marriage. We need more Lincolns.

Yours,

Today’s letter – tolerance is an economic necessity

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Business columnist Jay Hancock wrote in Wednesday’s Baltimore Sun that “Societies that are tolerant, free and diverse tend to be richer and happier than societies that aren’t.”

He points to a long-term public necessity to attract a young workforce that craves culture, tolerance, diversity and educational resources – and any sign of intolerance is anathema to this “high-tech nirvana.”

Economic theorist Richard Florida noted in The Rise of the Creative Class that “to some extent, homosexuality represents the last frontier of diversity in our society, and thus a place that welcomes the gay community welcomes all kinds of people,”

Governor, giving the people the freedom to make the individual decision of who they marry is not only the right thing to do, but it is also a necessary economic investment in California’s future. Please don’t just ‘protect’ marriage, but improve it, and improve our state along the way.

Yours,

Today’s letter – there is no armageddon

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In July of 2004, with marriages erupting in Massachusetts and California, your Republican nominee for President John McCain argued against a Federal Marriage Amendment to permanently ban gay marriage. He said the states should decide and that “We will have to wait a little longer to see if Armageddon has arrived.”

It has been four years, Governor. Massachusetts won the World Series and California hasn’t fallen into the ocean. Canada, South Africa and Spain are all economically outperforming the United States. There is no Armageddon.

You can spot a false prophet by their false prophesies. The Opponents of Equality are wrong – again. I wish you would improve marriage by letting the people make the personal and individual choice of who they marry for themselves.

Yours,