Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – April’s Fool

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 1, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

Today was April Fool’s day, so when I first heard that the Governor of Vermont was going to veto S. 115, “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Recognize Equality in Civil Marriage,” I didn’t believe it.

But sure enough, you did promise to veto it. Imagine that – you are just another Republican who thinks that he knows better than I do how to live my life; another Christian who thinks he is more worthy of civil sacraments than I am; another American who does to others as he would not do to himself.

I hope that you are really just fooling and that you will at the end of the day you will do what’s right, and sign S. 115.

Sincerely,

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 – Lincoln vs. Douglas

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Abraham Lincoln constantly ranks among the three top U.S. presidents. Before he became president, though, he spent a lot of time arguing against a guy named Stephen A. Douglas.

Senator Douglas believed that in a democracy the people should have the right to decide whether or not to allow slavery in their territory, rather than have such a decision imposed on them by Congress. Each state would decide if they were a “free” state or a “slave” state.

Lincoln said about the act, “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it…enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites [and] causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because [it insists] that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

In his election bid for Senator, Lincoln identified the problem with giving states the right to discriminate: “‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.'(Mark 3:25) I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

Lincoln won more popular votes, but Douglas won more seats and was elected to Congress.

Just so the metaphor is not lost on you, Governor, gay marriage is a battle just like slavery was 150 years ago. Whether through states rights or a Constitutional amendment, making some people more free than others only makes us all half-free. The only way to achieve freedom for all is to give all the freedom to marry.

That freedom must start at home. Please, make California a free state and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Separating sex and marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just want to get married like everybody else. I believe that those who are opposed to giving me that freedom are confused about what I would do with it. Some groups claim that gays want to get married so they can get “special rights” and others so we can molest children.

I know that you come from a background where bodybuilders are often called stupid and homosexual, and you have spent your whole career correcting those assumptions. You must know how frustrating it can be to know the truth, yet have people perpetuate lies.

Parents want to do what’s best for their children, but anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that blocking my marriage does not protect kids from their “celebrate” parish priest and that punishing me when I have done nothing wrong does not stop wicked Uncle Ernie. If parents really wanted to do the best thing for their kids, they would not let pedophiles hide behind the smokescreen of heterosexuality, and they would not teach their kids that stereotyping a disliked group is OK – be it bodybuilders or homosexuals.

I wish you would work with fair-minded Californians to dispel the myths about same-sex marriage and support the freedom to marry for me and for all Californians.

Yours,

Today’s letter – courts should not make decisions for me

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

One of the reasons that you are using in your haste to veto of AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, is that you want the courts to decide whether I can get married in California.

In my civics class, I was taught that the courts aren’t supposed to make decisions – they are supposed to enforce them.

The people and the legislature have decided that same-sex couples need and deserve the freedom to marry. Please do your civic duty and implement this state’s political will by signing AB 43 and supporting the freedom to marry.

Thank you,

Today’s letter – Domestic Partnerships are bad for Heterosexuals too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve written to you in the past about AB 43 which would allow same-sex couples to choose between marriage and Domestic Partnership, but today I want to write to you about a reciprocal bill – SB 11 – which would give all opposite-sex couples the option to choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage.

Heterosexuals couples over 62 years old can already choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage but SB 11 would remove the age restriction and let anybody who can get married get Domestic Partnered instead.

I actually agree with Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) and an infamous Opponent of Equality, who said “Awarding marriage rights to people who shack up but refuse to get married is completely ridiculous. Why get married if you can get all the legal rights and benefits of marriage without being committed? This bad bill severely weakens the institution of marriage and will motivate unwed parents to remain uncommitted.”

SB 11 is a reciprocal bill to AB 43, and the reciprocal truth applies: why ban people who are “shacking up” from the commitment of marriage? Why would you motivate (or force) unwed parents to remain uncommitted? Just as SB 11 weakens marriage, AB 43 strengthens it by allowing committed couples to commit to each other.

My California Domestic Partner and I have been “shacked up” and “uncommitted” for way too long. I wish you would let us access the safety and security of marriage just like everybody else: please sign AB 43.

Sincerely,