Today’s letter – Changing Forms Costs Money so Reap what you Sow

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I wrote to you in July to ask for your help in getting the EDD to change form DE1 to reference Domestic Partnerships on par with HUS/WIFE, and you were able to steer us to the right place to get that change rolling. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Thank you.

Today I am attaching a communication that I have started with the State Controller’s Office and the Los Angeles Treasurer and Tax Collector asking for accommodation of my same-sex domestic partnership on the cover letter for the form for “Excess Proceeds from Sale of Tax Defaulted Property.” This is just one example of the scores of forms that offensively violate the constitutional ban on discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. I need your help to make sure that the form gets fixed.

The letter should be revised to read “This includes California Registered Domestic Partners, husbands, wives and all joint tenants.”

At a time when you are trying to cut state agency’s budgets by 10% it seems to me that extending the freedom to marry to all committed couples would have been the fiscally conservative thing to do. But until I can get married, I would like to ask you to ask the State Controller to change these forms to conform with the Constitution and the need all of us has to have my government respect my basic dignity.

Thank you for your help,

Today’s letter – Once again, Domestic Partnership is not the same as Marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m just a normal guy trying to be the best father I can. Something has to really upset me to get me to write a letter. You accomplished that when you said that Domestic Partnership is the same as marriage.

You make me feel me frustrated because anybody with the sense God gave geese knows that they’re different. Domestic Partnership isn’t enough to satisfy the people who are forced into them, and it’s too much to satisfy the Opponents of Equality. In the meantime taxpayers are forking out to maintain a separate set of laws governing relationships and everybody is confused because there is no simple definition of a relationship.

I have to admit that when my California Domestic Partner and I got Domestic Partnered over a photocopier in the Glendale Galleria, it was not the happiest moment in my life. It was more like a trip to the dentist. But when we were eloped in San Francisco in 2004, my mother cried because she couldn’t make it in time to see her son get married. That’s the power a word has.

Obviously, you wouldn’t exclude people from marriage if you didn’t think that Domestic Partnerships were equal. Even you know that would be wrong. I’m here to tell you that they are not equal, not even separate-but-equal. They are demeaning and humiliating by their very design – the verbal and political equivalent of South Africa’s Townships and the pyramids of Abu Ghraib. When you say they are the same, you are wrong: not only technically incorrect but also ethically bankrupt.

You don’t have to sign AB 43 to support the freedom to marry, but as long as you pretend that Domestic Partnerships are the same as marriage, you are doing yourself and the people of California a grave disservice.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – The People cannot “vote to discriminate”

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a pragmatist, I don’t mind so much that you’re planning to veto AB 43 for political reasons; however I was sad to hear you say that discrimination is somehow acceptable because “the people voted for it.”

It is flat-out wrong to force people who would prefer to get married into Domestic Partnerships. You wouldn’t like to be treated that way, and neither do they.

The People thought this Golden principle was important enough to put in the Constitution, which predates and, I think we can agree, overrides Proposition 22. They voted away their right to separate and oppress minorities, and they put it to you to intervene and stop injustices.

So even if the people did indeed vote to discriminate, it is not OK for you to let them. The people elected you above all else to make sure that nothing interferes with the freedom of adults make choices for themselves. I wish you would do that, if not by signing AB 43, then by at least speaking out against this special mistreatment of your fellow citizens. That you would do neither, and blame it on the people, is reprehensible.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – inspiring leadership

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I love hearing “change of heart” stories.

Yesterday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican like you, endorsed a resolution supporting the freedom to marry, reversing his previous position favoring Domestic Partnerships.

He said “For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night I could just not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation.”

It is so nice to hear Republicans making statements like this instead of statements like Larry Craig’s. And yours.

I wish you would ask your Attorney General for a new opinion on the legality of signing AB 43. I wish you would ask your Chief of Staff if she feels that her relationship is protected equally under the law. I wish you would meet with just one family that have had kids without access to the security of marriage. I wish you call Mayor Sanders (619-236-6330) to hear from his own mouth why he changed his decision.

Then I wish you would consider what is right and fair, and have a change of heart. I’ll forgive you for reversing your promise to veto this; I won’t forgive you – or the GOP – for ignoring my family over what seems like party politics without even the courtesy of listening.

Sincerely,

Attachment: Mayor Sanders’ statement

“With me this afternoon is my wife, Rana.

“I am here this afternoon to announce that I will sign the resolution that the City Council passed yesterday directing the City Attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage.

“My plan, that has been reported publicly, was to veto the resolution, so I feel like I owe all San Diegans right now an explanation for this change of heart. During the campaign two years ago, I announced that I did not support gay marriage and instead supported civil unions and domestic partnerships.

“I have personally wrestled with that position ever since. My opinions on this issue has evolved significantly, as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have. In order to be consistent with the position I took during the mayoral election, I intended to veto the Council resolution. As late as yesterday afternoon, that was my position.

“The arrival of the resolution, to sign or veto, in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do. I have decided to lead with my heart, to do what I think is right, and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.

“For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, than anyone else — simply because of their sexual orientation.

“A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years. I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that’s natural, and certainly it is true in my case.

“Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a “separate but equal” institution is not something that I can support.

“I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today. All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right. I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa, as well as members of my personal staff. I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones, for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back, someone with whom they can grow old together and share life’s experiences. And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I couldn’t look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana. Thank you.”

Today’s letter – Not every Church hates the gays

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am so proud of the Episcopal Church. In 2003, to underscore its belief that biblical teachings of tolerance and acceptance are paramount, they consecrated an openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Now, the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church may separate from the global Anglican community over the issue.

I am really touched that the Episcopal Church would risk so much for me when they don’t have to; I am thoroughly embarrassed that my Governor won’t lift a finger to protect me when it is arguably his Constitutional responsibility.

I think it is pathetic that you would use a seven-year-old law about states rights as an excuse to block my access to the same security and simplicity of marriage that you so blithely enjoy. Please sign AB 43 and show that you do in fact believe in the dignity and freedom of all Californians.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Eight Domestic Partnership Laws or One Marriage Bill

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

My California Registered Domestic Partner and I are raising our two kids here in Los Angeles. There are currently nine bills moving through the legislature that will make my family’s life better. Five of them will make California a safer place for our children, and three of them are enhancements to California’s Domestic Partnership laws that you have so wonderfully supported. But only one of them will provide us with the respect, dignity and freedom that all Californians should enjoy.

SB 105 would simplify my state taxes so we can file them as easily as straight couples. SB 559 would fix my property value that was reassessed when we moved it into our family trust. AB 102 lets us change our family name like couples do when they get married.

But AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, would make those three laws and many others unnecessary by simply ending the legislature-imposed ban on same-sex marriage.

I don’t understand why your support for families like mine ends short of supporting marriage. California deserves to have one set of rules for everybody. Please sign AB 43 and end this parade of separate laws.

Hopefully,

Today’s letter – Alimony case shows two systems for marriage are irrational

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m writing to you today about the attached CNN article describing how Orange County resident Ron Garber must continue to pay alimony even though his ex-wife has entered a new legal relationship. The judge ruled that her domestic partnership is merely “cohabitation,” so Mr. Garber must continue to pay $1250 a month.

Mr. Garber now understands how confusing and unfair it is to have two sets of laws governing relationships in this state. As Governor, you have an opportunity to eliminate this apartheid and reduce the size of government at the same time.

Could you please consider signing AB 43 in order to send a highly visible message that what looks like marriage and quacks like marriage ought to be called marriage?

Many thanks in advance,

If you can take away marriage…

The subtitle of this blog is “If you can take away marriage, you can take away anything.”

What that means is that I don’t think that the Opponents of Equality are really targeting the Gays. I believe that they are a coalition of groups that have their eyes set at terminating loftier prizes: abortion, affirmative action, immigrants, Arabs, Jews, public schools, evolution – the list goes on.

Remember that these are the same people who argued for, and subsequently lost, the ability to prevent different races from sharing the same schools and to keep women from voting. I think that they are actually amazed that they are finally winning on an issue, and just a bit embarrassed that it is not from an ethical or moral high ground, but just really good PR.

The fact is that gay marriage is just a pawn in this game. Randy Thomason doesn’t give a toss about the gays, but the power and money he gets by terrorizing them will let him graduate to other sinister criminalizations. I don’t get the feeling that Governor Schwartzenegger is morally opposed to this bill – but the fact that he has the power to veto it gives him the ability to get other things.

Think of all the good stuff we could do with the money and energy that has been spent trying to make a group of people into second-class citizens. If we can take away marriage discrimination, we can take away all discrimination. Who would oppose that?