Today’s letter – protest pending

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

This Valentines Day, it will have been four years since my husband and I were married in San Francisco. Because our union was rudely annulled by your administration, and subsequent legislative efforts were blocked by your veto, I will be marking the occasion by joining other fair-minded Californians at my county courthouse begging you for the privilege to get married again.

We have come so far: my finance and I have been together for almost eleven years; we have been domestic partnered for eight; we have two wonderful children and a pretty nice life.

You might ask why I need to spend my anniversary asking for the freedom to marry – again? All I can ask you to do is to think back to your wedding and tell me how you would feel if that was made illegal. If some government authority stepped in and said your vows were meaningless, your relationship second-rate and your legal filings null and void.

No matter what you think about gay marriage, all Americans are entitled to the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. And that includes the freedom to marry the person they love.

It is important to me, and to my fellow countrymen that no government takes away that freedom. It would be wrong to do anything on the day that stands for love to stand up for love.

Yours,

CC: one of the marriage licenses that you annulled

Today’s letter – will the court hear from you too?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When the State Supreme Court hears the marriage exclusion case on March 4, they will face an unprecedented torrent of evidence that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, and a historic outcry for full constitutional inclusion of same-sex couples in our economy and society.

In addition to the fifteen same-sex couples, support has come from such widespread sources as:
– counties and municipalities including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Long Beach, Sacramento, and Oakland.
– legal and bar associations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
– religious and civil rights leaders and organizations, including the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, California Council of Churches, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and National Black Justice Coalition.

Will they hear from you?

Your support would mean a lot both to the court and my family. Tell them that California needs same-sex marriage and they need it now. It’s the least you can do to ensure the freedom of all Californians.

Yours,

Today’s letter – my marriage restored my faith that government works

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Next week, on February 14, it will have been four years since my husband and I were married in San Francisco.

Two days before, two friend of ours from Washington D.C. – who are now godparents of our children – pointed out that the marriages in San Francisco might not continue for long. We decided to seize the opportunity and elope.

The morning of Valentine’s Day we hopped on a Southwest flight and emerged from the BART to find that love had erupted. Not Ted Haggard / Larry Craig kind of love, but couple after couple who had been waiting together for years for this day. We were herded through City Hall and got to say our vows to each other in the atrium. Even I was unable to hold back tears as I promised my best friend and lover that I would be his “until death do us part” and we were declared “spouses for life.”

We had time to have a romantic dinner in Fisherman’s Wharf before catching our flight out of Oakland back to L.A.

That day was important for us because it really solidified what we meant to each other, and had a piece of paper to prove it. My husband’s parents had always treated us as a couple, and were quite upset that they hadn’t been invited to the wedding. For my parents it was more significant – from that point on, my parents also treated us as spouses for life.

Most of all, it restored my faith in my government, that we could overcome our divisions and really behave according to our beliefs: that no matter what you think about gay marriage, all Americans are entitled to the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. And that includes the freedom to marry the person they love.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Super Tuesday defeats opponents of equality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Looking at the fallout from Super Tuesday, it appears that every candidate who would support a Federal ban on gay marriage has been effectively eliminated. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney were the strongest opponents of equality – and took the most dramatic falls, Apparently not even the Republicans want to associate with somebody who still believes that we should punish Americans based on the most personal decision they can make: who they love.

The People have won the right to decide for themselves whether they want to reward or punish commitments. Now it is your turn, Governor, to lead California into rewarding committed couples with the freedom to choose marriage.

Please tell the Supreme Court and the People of California that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – respect and rhetoric

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I wrote to you earlier about your Chief of Staff, Susan Kennedy, and how awkward it must be for you to work with somebody who you consider to be less worthy of having access to marriage than your other staffers. I thought I would let you know that you’re in good company – the President also has to work with homosexuals.

United States Representative Barney Frank is a notoriously humorous and powerful member of Congress and has been openly gay since 1987. In an incident captured by press cameras, just before George Bush’s last State of the Union address, Rep. Frank was on the phone with his boyfriend in the Speaker’s Lobby when President Bush approached him, leaned in and said “tell him I said hello.”

When Rep. Frank pointed out to the President that he was talking to his boyfriend, Bush responded “Well. I hope you said how open-minded I am.”

Yeah, it’s really open-minded to joke with somebody who you have pledged to exterminate.

Please, Governor, treat all your staff with the dignity and respect they deserve. Tell the people of California that marriage is not a special right – it is everybody’s right.

Yours,

Today’s letter – winning marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Did you notice that the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 right after Massachusetts got gay marriage?

Well, on Friday, an appellate court made New York the second state to recognize same-sex couples with legal marriage, by considering valid and legal weddings solemnized outside the state.

What happened? The New York Giants won the Superbowl.

The upset not only broke the Patriots’ undefeated season, but it also ended Massachusetts’ four-year distinction of being the only state where same-sex couples are free to choose legal marriage.

Please, Governor, California’s sports teams deserve your support. Please tell your Republican party and the State Supreme Court that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage. Break our streak of domestic apartheid, and instead make Californians into the winners they should be.

Yours,

Today’s letter – a bad apple

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I believe it is part of our Governor’s job is to see what happens in other states so the best can be brought to California and the worst left where it is.

Kentucky has turned out to be a pretty perilous place to be gay. Even after a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, things were looking up when a phone message by Pat Boone could not save the anti-gay Governor Ernie Fletcher from getting booted out of office, and state universities started offering partner benefits to all their employees – not just the ones who are allowed to marry.

But a bad tree bears bad fruit: Kentucky’s state Senate passed a bill 30-5 late last month to bar state agencies, including public universities, from granting any benefits for the partners of their lesbian and gay employees.

University presidents from eight Universities including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and University of Louisville opposed the bill because they say it hurts recruitment efforts for researchers and professors. “If you want to compete with the best universities and the best corporations, you need to be able to offer the same types of benefits they offer,” according University of Louisville spokesman John Drees.

You must know and understand the cost of discrimination, Governor. If our Senate had brought a bill to your desk to specially exclude some people from our society and our economy because of what they are or what they believe, I have no doubt you would veto that. So why do you stop short of supporting the freedom to marry?

Please, Governor, leave the rotten apples in Kentucky and bring us into the 21st century with the most basic freedom: the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – copy cats

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The greatest complement, it is said, is to be copied. By that measure, Maryland has given us a great big hug.

The Maryland State Senator from Prince George’s County, Gwendolyn T. Britt, was arrested in 1960 for riding the wrong part of a segregated merry-go-round in Glen Echo Park. Since then, she had adopted a new civil rights battle: to legalize same-sex marriage.

Although she died Jan. 12, her legislation was introduced last week with 49 co-authors. The bill is almost identical to the California law that you vetoed last fall, even in name. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act would remove language in the state code that limits marriage to unions between men and women, and exempt religious leaders from having to perform or recognize same-sex unions.

I’m proud that California was the first state where the people’s branch of government put a marriage equality bill on their governor’s desk, setting an example for legislative action throughout our great nation. But I am equally sad that we were also the first state to have a civil rights bill like this vetoed by its governor.

Maryland didn’t introduce this bill to copy us, they did it because they know that strong families and individual choice are the cornerstone of Maryland’s economy and a free society. It is too late for you to sign AB 43, but it’s not too late for you to support the freedom to marry for all Californians. Please, Governor, I don’t want to have to copy Maryland.

Yours,

Today’s letter – a Hollywood dream

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

This season, American Idol welcomes its first openly gay contestant. Leo Marlowe began his audition saying that his “Mom always said she raised the perfect homecoming queen. It just wasn’t one of her daughters.”

Simon thinks he’s a good, honest kid; Paula thinks he’s a “touchdown!” and Randy said he was “rockin’ the bells.”

Along with the other Omaha finalists – Angelica Puente, David Cook, Johnny Escamilla, Jason Rich and Rachael Wicker – American Idol is finally showing that the Heartland has heart in its soul.

Governor, please make California the kind of a place where all these contestants can find their dream, if not to make music, at least to marry the person they love. Tell your party and the State Supreme Court that all Californians deserve freedom – the same freedom to marry.

Yours,