Today’s letter – a modern dividing line


Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The Mason-Dixon line was used to separate slave states from free states. We have managed to divide our country once again, this time with the battle lines that limit marriage.

Ten states – not even our neighbors – are asking California’s Supreme Court not to lift the special ban on same-sex marriages.

The Opponents of Equality are arguing that they might have to recognize our marriages in their own states, in case the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and their own states’ Constitutional Amendments are somehow struck down.

While these states may or may not have the right to exclude their fellow Americans from fully participating in their economy and society, that is up to them. Trying to punish Californians for their bigoted intolerance is reprehensible.

What is particularly sad is that they don’t even want to block California marriages altogether – they just want them to go away until November, when a Constitutional Amendment (that has not even qualified for the ballot) might stop them.

Please, Governor, join your Attorney General Jerry Brown in opposing these unfortunate attempts to second guess the California Supreme Court and undermine basic human rights in your state.

Sincerely,

Letter to TiVo president Tom Rogers about Focus on the Family sweepstakes

Tom Rogers, President
TiVo Inc.
150 East 52nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022

June 4, 2008

I noticed that you are partnering with Focus on the Family “SuperDad” promotion at family.org/fathersday.

What were you thinking? As a gay man, Focus on the Family is like the Ku Klux Clan to me. They are spending $11 million this year to block committed couples in California from making the commitment of marriage. They operate “ex-gay” programs, such as the one that just concluded in Orlando, that teach kids who think they might be gay that their only options are celibacy or suicide. They proclaim on their home page that “God created humans in His image, intentionally male and female, each bringing unique and complementary qualities to sexuality and relationships.” And that kind of talk gets people like me beaten, harassed and killed just for who we are.

While I believe these positions and ministries are un-American and un-Christian, I can’t fault Focus on the Family for believing them. However your sponsorship of these wicked activities gives them credibility. If TiVo believes what Focus on the Family is preaching, God help you. Otherwise, I wish you would reconsider the “SuperDad” promotion and the message that it is sending.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – what is up with Oklahoma?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

What is up with Oklahoma? As individual politicians incite what can only be described as xenophobia, guardians of equality remain silent.

Seventeen House Republicans refused to accept a goodwill copy of the Quran from the Ethnic American Advisory Council, based on the (incorrect) assumption that “Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology.” The political fallout? None.

One law, HB1804, makes it illegal to provide education or health care to undocumented immigrants, including infants; requires police to check the immigration status of anyone “suspected” of being in this country illegally; makes it a felony to give an illegal immigrant a ride; forbids the issuance of birth certificates to a child if one parent was an illegal alien; and confiscates the property of anyone caught violating HB1804. There was not even a rally against this one – supporters are cowering in legitimate fear.

Then to ice the cake, Republican Rep. Sally Kern focused on gays and lesbians, calling them more of a threat “than terrorism or Islam,” and calling them – us – a “cancer.”

Kern did not apologize – she instead got a standing ovation shortly after her comments were made public. Kern explained “I told the people when I was running for this office that I was a Christian candidate and that I believed we were in a cultural war for the very existence of our Judeo-Christian values.” Values that killed Matt Shepherd. Nice values.

I am so happy to work and live in California, where all of our citizens are welcomed to fully participate in our economy and society. Thank you, Governor, for making and keeping it that way.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Oklahoma” plus a three-cent “USA” makeup stamp.

Today’s letter – beyond California

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Now that it appears that we might finally have removed the barriers to the freedom to marry here in California, it is time to begin to turn our attention to letting Californians travel to other parts of the country and participate in the federal rights and responsibilities of marriage our state pays into and her citizens deserve.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the short title of a federal law of the United States passed on September 21, 1996 as Public Law No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419. Its provisions are codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C. The law has two effects:

1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.

2. The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

As you represent California to the rest of the country and the rest of the world, please don’t forget to ask, on behalf of the Citizens who support you, that other places extend the same dignity and respect to California’s citizens that California will always provide to them.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “California Poppy,” representing California to the country and the world.

Today’s letter – happy pride!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Happy Gay Pride Month! June was declared Gay Pride Month by President Clinton in 2000, partially in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, and partially in reconciliation for the Defense of Marriage Act that he signed during his first term.

“With each passing year the American people become more receptive to diversity and more open to those who are different from themselves. Our Nation is at last realizing that gays and lesbians must no longer be “strangers among friends,” as the civil rights pioneer David Mixner once noted. Rather, we must finally recognize these Americans for what they are: our colleagues and neighbors, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, friends and partners.”

I look forward to a day when we don’t need to have a special month, but all Americans can just simply live as “colleagues and neighbors, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, friends and partners.” Please, Governor, continue your work to bring the Freedom to Marry to California as soon as possible, and to defeat the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage so we can keep this victory over intolerance on our own soil.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Towards Diversity in our Schools” celebrating the 1947 decision making Americans more open to those who are different from themselves.