Today’s letter – instead of one law, now we have three

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision about the validity of Proposition 8 made my blood boil. Instead of having just one set of laws governing Californians, we now have three: one for heterosexual marriage, another for gay marriages performed during the Fall of 2008, and a third for Domestic Partnerships.

I hate Prop 8 and you should too – because it makes Government bigger and more intrusive into our daily lives, at great expense when we can ill afford it.

Governor, I wish you would apologize for vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act that would have legalized gay marriage through the legislature. I wish you would apologize for letting Gavin Newsome and Antonio Villaraigosa stand alone at rally after rally opposing Prop 8. I wish you would make the GOP get rid of Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh so Republicans can be electable again.

I wish you were on the side of Faith, Family and Freedom, instead of quietly waiting out your term.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – long lines on Memorial Day

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Happy Memorial Day, Governor. I hope you get a chance to go to the park with your family.

It’s funny – we go to the same schools and parks as our neighbors, we vote in the same elections, we go to the same churches, and at the ball games, we stand in the same lines for hot dogs. Yet when it is time to get married, same-sex couples have to stand in one line, while opposite couples have to stand in a different line.

That doesn’t seem very American to me.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – how “separate but equal” became the law of the land the first time

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

“Separate but Equal” was made the law of the land in 1896 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Plessy v. Ferguson.

On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy boarded a car of the East Louisiana Railroad that was designated by Louisiana for use by white patrons only. Although Plessy was one-eighth black and seven-eighths white, under Louisiana state law he was classified as an African-American, and thus required to sit in the “colored” car. When Plessy refused to leave the white car and move to the colored car, he was arrested and jailed.

The case wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 7 to 1 decision the Court rejected the view that the law implied any inferiority of blacks, and contended that the law separated the two races as a matter of public policy, not inequity. Justice Brown declared, “We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.”

The sole dissenter, Justice John Marshall Harlan, wrote “…in the eye of the law, there is no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” It took until 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education decision to change this law.

Governor, I will be happy if the California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8 only when it can be demonstrated that a civil union is the same thing as marriage. As a gay dad who has been (and is) both Domestic Partnered and Married, I am quite skeptical that that is ever possible as long as my government allows the distinction to remain. Until then it is apartheid all over again, and that does not turn out well for anybody.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – jury of my peers

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

This is Jury Appreciation Week, which I discovered when I was called in for jury duty.

The jurors on my panel were asked to state the occupation of their spouse or significant other. Most people answered “my husband,” “my wife,” “my fiancée” or “I’m single.”

Thanks to the California Supreme Court I was able to answer the question simply, using the term “my husband.” Everybody knew the nature of my relationship and understood the commitment that I had made.

Because of your 2007 veto of AB 43 (The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act) and the ensuing Proposition 8, other Californians who were not able to get married during 2007 are denied the opportunity to call their most significant significant other their “husband” or “wife.”

I wish we lived in a state where two adults who are willing and able to marry are not blocked by their government from marrying each other.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – 100 days of hope

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is President Obama’s 100th day in office.

As my mom keeps reminding me, Mr. Obama does not believe in same-sex marriage. Indeed, in his first 100 days, we do not have a hate crimes law, nor a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act; gays are not allowed openly in the military, and I still pay $1243 more taxes a year without being able to share Medicare or social security with my husband.

What we do have is hope. Somebody who realizes that apartheid is wrong, no matter how popular it is. Somebody who goes on TV to heal and not divide. Somebody who is willing to pass civil rights legislation, and not veto it.

A leader like that is really rare, and you can see why he is so popular. Like Harvey Milk, he cuts through the bigotry and gets things done. I wish you would give Californians hope. Please help California turn away the Opponents of Equality. You can start by signing SB 572, the bill that would make May 22 Harvey Milk Day.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Just Domestic Partnered

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As you probably know, Disneyland City Hall issues buttons for people to wear in the park for people celebrating events such as:

– first visit
– honorary citizen
– happy birthday
– happy anniversary
– just married

Do you agree with me that they ought to have “Just Domestic Partnered” buttons too?

I’m nobody, but if you were to write to them and suggest it, they might take the issue of equivalency more seriously. Their address is:

Disneyland Guest Relations
1313 Harbor Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92803

Many thanks in advance,

Today’s letter – Nobody Wants Domestic Partnerships

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m curious to know why opposite-sex couples cannot get Domestic Partnerships in California until one or both is over age 62?

It seems to me that Family Code section 297 (b) (B) …” persons of opposite sexes may not constitute a domestic partnership unless one or both of the persons are over the age of 62” is in direct contradiction to several constitutional protected classes.

Is this because nobody has bothered to sue over this, or because nobody wants to get Domestic Partnered when they can get Married instead?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – GOP goes Gay

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just wanted to make sure that you noticed Meghan McCain’s memo to the GOP, “Go Gay.” In it, she blames her father’s recent loss to President Obama squarely on the Republican Party’s use of anti-gay rhetoric to whip up the base. She reminds us that the most popular Republican of all time, Ronald Reagan, supported homosexuals during the 1978 Briggs attack, and argues that if the Republican Party ever wants to see that kind of popularity again, it needs to do things like Lincoln and Reagan, not like Anita Bryant and G. W. Bush.

Ms. McCain spells it out:

If you think certain rights should not apply to certain people, then you are saying those people are not equal. People may always have a difference of opinion on certain lifestyles, but championing a position that wants to treat people unequally isn’t just un-Republican. At its fundamental core, it’s un-American.

So, Governor, are you going to take up Ms. McCain’s challenge by coming forward and playing an instrumental role in securing gay rights like Gavin Newsom, or are you going to sit on the sidelines like George Wallace until the courts decide for you? I wish you would take Ms. McCain’s advice and save the Republicans.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Stand for what?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

George Wallace gave his inaugural speech as Alabama Governor on January 14 1963:

In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

Over the next few years he became increasingly convinced that segregation would destroy civilization. He blocked black students from entering a white school until Federal Marshalls and the National Guard compelled him to stand aside. President John F. Kennedy, he said, “wants us to surrender this state to Martin Luther King and his group of pro-Communists who have instituted these demonstrations.”

Well, racial segregation ended, and there are few today who would argue that we are worse off because of it. Even Wallace himself was “born again” in 1977 and apologized to the people that his bigotry harmed.

You had a chance to change history, Governor, by signing AB 43. You chose to follow Wallace instead, to the determent of your party and your people. When are you going to apologize?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – governors Wallace and Schwarzenegger

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

It was 1963 – just 45 years ago today – that Governor George Wallace stood in a campus doorway while attempting to exclude two black students from the University of Alabama.

Telling people that they’re too dumb to attend school, then standing in the doorway while they are trying to do it, is just stupid. Excluding even one person from fully participating in our economy and society hurts us all.

Now 45 years later, the same people who were opposed to racial integration are trying to block same-sex marriage. They say that homosexuals are not capable or worthy of forming long-term stable relationships, then slam the door on those who simply seek that stability. It’s the same argument, and it’s still stupid.

Every bone in my body knows that all of our fundamental freedoms depend on equal legal protections. It is un-American and un-Christian to stand in the way of people who are just trying to do the right thing.

I thank God that you aren’t the kind of governor George Wallace was, and that you’re willing to fight with us to change “separate but equal” into “equal,” even against the policy of your political party.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Toward equality in our schools” celebrating the Mendez v. Westminster decision to integrate our schools. That was 1947 – who argues for segregation now?