Today’s letter – Jesus was not about ‘social order’

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today on the radio I heard about “Black Liberation Theology.” The logic goes like this: Jesus was a rabble-rouser. He kept telling people that they should not listen to the rabbinical power players, but rather listen to God. This upset the power players so much they executed him for what we would today call political crimes.

But through his life and death, He gave us liberty not just over the tyranny of death, but also over the tyranny of Old Testament laws and oppressive Roman rule. We reach heaven not through punishing people, but by liberating them. From The Good Samaritan to The Sermon on the Mount, God’s message is clear: we are to love God with all our heart, soul, body and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That what Dr. Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu and even Jeremiah Wright are trying to tell us, and not a bad foundation.

Now as a gay dad, I’m just trying to be the best husband, father and Christian that I can. That seems to disturb a lot of people. But what Liberation Theology shows us is God wants us to love and accept people no matter how much they disturb us. Whether the gays will or won’t go to heaven is unclear, but whether the oppressors or the oppressed will go to heaven is crystal clear.

Putting your veto on AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, was an easy thing for you to do, but if there is any truth to Liberation Theology, it was not the right thing to do. After all, I may be a rabble-rouser myself, but I am still your neighbor.

Yours,

Today’s letter – history remembers the liberators, not the oppressors

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

History remembers the agents of change. History – for example – remembers Lincoln who freed the slaves. It does not remember the guy before Lincoln who fought for slavery. It remembers Reagan who tore down the Berlin wall. Not so much the guy before him. It remembers Susan B. Anthony who got women to vote, not whomever (Liddy Dole?) who opposed it.

How do you think history is going to remember you, Governor? Do you think you’ll be on a coin or a stamp for vetoing AB 43, the 2007 bill that would have let me and my same-sex domestic partner finally get married? Or do you think that it will be the next person, the one who finally replaces you and banishes that apartheid who will be immortalized?

It is not too late for you to work toward freedom to marry for all Californians instead of simply – and insignificantly – against it. I wish you would support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – I’m a lover, not a fighter

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a foreign-born citizen, I’m sure you take an interest with how people come to this country.

On Friday, U.S. Marine Cpl. Mario Ramos-Villalta who earned a Purple Heart during one of his two tours serving with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, finally received American citizenship barely a week after CNN told his story.

The same Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services routinely denies citizenship applications to the partners of gay Americans.

It really says something about America when we let in people who fight for us but not the people who love us. It’s kind of hard to say that we’re a peace-loving nation, isn’t it?

Yours,

Today’s letter – people who are unhappy with fairness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was astonished to learn that even the opponents of equality believe “domestic partnership” and marriage are in fact the same things.

Kentucky State Senator Vernie McGaha introduced legislation that would bar state agencies and schools from providing health insurance for the domestic partners of their employees, even when fully paid for by the beneficiaries. Sen. McGaha said that he was concerned about the erosion of the sanctity of marriage by the provision of domestic-partner benefits.

That the bill was defeated in committee was no surprise. State Senator Ernesto Scorsone explained “I think most Kentuckians believe if you are able to pay for the insurance, you ought to be able to buy it.”

What shocked me was that six of the fifteen committee members voted for the legislation, apparently considering simple domestic partnership benefits to be an offensive intrusion by the gays into the world of marriage. These people will not be happy until I am exterminated.

Governor, it is time to choose between encouraging marriage and encouraging intolerance. The voters of this state are on the verge of changing our Constitution to block people like me from forming partnerships. Whether this comes out nine to six or six to nine depends on your support. I wish you would tell the people that you support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – now they’re calling marriages “mutual commitments”

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Salt Lake City was not happy with the terms “civil union” or “domestic partnership” so they created a new term, “mutual commitment.”

The guidelines for receiving a “mutual commitment” license are the same as the previous “domestic partnership.” Both members must be over 18 and in some type of committed relationship in which they are responsible for one another’s welfare, including financial interdependence, and share a primary household in Salt Lake City.

In my book, no matter what you call it, “two people in a committed relationship with financial interdependence and the same bed” is “marriage.” How much time, energy and humanity have we squandered by trying to “protect marriage” just by changing its name?

Please, I wish you would end this ridiculous ‘naming game’ and support the freedom for all Californians to choose for themselves what they want to call their relationship.

Yours,

Today’s letter – let the candidates wed

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

After the news hit that Barack Obama is a distant cousin of Brad Pitt, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is related to Pitt’s girlfriend, Angelina Jolie, I was reminded of what Brad Pitt told Esquire Magazine in September, 2006: that he and Angelina would not get married until gay and lesbians were able to get married.

As a relative of a Kennedy, I believe that you have an obligation to fulfill: to marry Barack to Hillary and all Americans to liberty, by simply supporting the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Poland deserves better

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The more I look closely at what leaders say about same-sex marriage, the more I see that they are responsible for the character of their people.

I have written to you before about great leaders like Bishop Tutu and Prime Minister Zaparto who use words to unite their people. And then there is Poland’s leader, Mr. Kaczynski, who showed a video clip of two New Yorkers getting married, saying that “the lack of an exact definition of marriage as a union of man and woman could challenge the moral order commonly accepted in Poland.”

The people Mr. Kaczynski used as poster children for moral decay without their knowledge or permission were two New Yorkers who were as mystified as I am as to why the leader of Poland would consider them a national threat.

“I’m a happily married man. I have a good life,” one of them said, “For us it was a moment of love. Here was a political leader turning that around.”

Back here in California, for all of the time I spend studying what leaders say about same-sex marriage, I still don’t understand why you repeatedly tell the people that it is somehow OK to turn our moments of love into something reprehensible or disgusting. I wish you would tell the people of California that there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage; there is everything wrong with banning it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – sticks and stones do break bones

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A couple of weeks ago, Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern was caught comparing lesbian and gay citizens to cancer and calling them “worse than terrorists.”

It would have been nice if this very personal attack against my beliefs and my family had been met by public admonishment by her party and her state. Instead, it was answered by a teenager named Tucker:

“On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. … That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. … Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother’s killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves.

“Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They’ve already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names…. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.

“I wish you could’ve met my mom. Maybe she could’ve guided you in how a real Christian should be acting and speaking.”

Governor, you have not said the evil things that Sally Kern has. But you have also done nothing to undo them either. You continue to tolerate anti-gay messaging in your Republican party, your Catholic church and within your own administration. You continue to call same-sex couples who aspire to marriage as somehow less worthy of human dignity than yourself.

I am truly disappointed in you both as a governor and as a human being.

Yours,

Today’s letter – celebrate diversity

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) presented several awards for the portrayal of lesbian and gay people in the media during their 19th annual Media Awards in New York last week.

The award for television news magazines was shared by Barbara Walters and “60 Minutes” for “My Secret Self: A Story of Transgender Children” and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” about the United States military’s policy on gay and lesbian service members, respectively.

A movie I wrote to you about last year, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” was named outstanding documentary, joining The New York Times, GQ magazine, CNN.com and the television series “Boston Legal” in receiving honors.

Why would people who deserve such meaningful and poignant coverage in the mainstream media, not deserve the freedom to make the commitment of marriage?

I wish you would realize that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, but there is everything wrong in blocking two adults who love each other from making the commitment of marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – teen sex out of wedlock

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a parent I was disgusted with the latest CDC study that revealed that one in four teenage girls are infected with at least one sexually transmitted disease.

It seems strange that the more obsessed we are with blocking gay marriage, the more teenagers are having sex out of wedlock. Maybe it is time for a change of course?

I wish you would advocate marriage as a way to encourage monogamy, instead of using it as a weapon to punish California’s lesbian and gay citizens for wanting to make the commitment of marriage.

You don’t protect our children by “protecting marriage.” You protect them by giving their parents the tools they need to be good parents. Please give us the freedom to marry.

Yours,