Today’s letter – Big Brother or March for Freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I would much rather stay home tonight to watch Dustin and Amber lash out at Dick and Daniele on Big Brother 8, but instead I’m going to be down at your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with hundreds of other people wondering why you insist on blocking civil rights legislation that the people have brought to you for the second time.

AB 43 would let me marry the person that I love, just like everybody else. It would let my Church perform the ceremony. It would save the taxpayers $24 million a year, and it would send the message that California welcomes its diverse residents with dignity and freedom.

All it needs is your signature. Please sign AB 43 so I can watch the new season of Survivor: China without getting a babysitter, and not miss an episode of Ugly Betty to plead for something that anybody with the brains God gave geese knows is the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

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 – reasons to hope

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I know that you’ll never sign AB 43, the bill that would let my family choose the safety and simplicity of marriage just like everybody else. But there are reasons that I can hope:

On one side, AB 43 was passed handily by a recently-elected legislature. It is supported by every major human rights group, most family professional groups and even a lot of religious groups. We have a new Attorney General who probably has a different opinion of conflicts with Proposition 22. And we have successful gay marriages in many other places.

On the other hand, Proposition 22 is seven years old and the Opponents of Equality haven’t had enough support to bring a new petition initiative to the voters. AB 43’s biggest supporter is the Republican party that most recently lost control of Congress with their “bomb and preach” politics.

You have expressed an interest in moving the GOP out of the morality battle. Here is your second opportunity. I wish you would choose the side of the people and sign AB 43.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Whose side are you on?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am writing to ask you to sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California. Have a look at the groups that support and oppose AB 43 and the freedom to marry, and you decide which group you would trust with your health decisions and the safety of your children. It is time to let the health and social professionals do their job by signing AB 43.

Groups that support AB 43 and the freedom to marry:

the American Academy of Pediatrics,

American Psychiatric Association,
American Psychological Association,
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (District IX),
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists,
American Psychoanalytic Association,
the National Association of Social Workers.
the NAACP California State Conference,
United Farm Workers,
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
Chinese for Affirmative Action,
California Teachers Association,
ACLU,
California Nurses Association,
Anti-Defamation League,
California National Organization for Women,
California Church Impact,
the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

AB 43 and the freedom to marry is opposed by:

the Campaign for California Families (CCF)
the Capitol Resource Institute

Who would you trust with your kids health and future? Who would you go to for relationship advice? Who is going to be out of business if you sign AB 43 and who is here to help? Whose platform is built on exclusion and whose on freedom?

Pragmatically,

Today’s letter – back to basics

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was lucky enough to find somebody that I love, who loves me back. We have been together ten years, two months and twenty-one days, and our two kids are celebrating their first half-birthday today.

We want to get married just like you and Maria, and everybody else. The people, the legislature and our church all support our choice – why don’t you?

Please sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – freedom to marry is the Christian thing to do

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a Christian, I believe that all couples should be able to get married, and that my Church should have the freedom to perform the ceremonies that it believes in.

Unfortunately, California’s ban on gay marriage, installed by the legislature in 1977, blocks same-sex couples from getting married and churches from marrying them.

Jesus was silent on the issue of homosexuality, but he was crystal clear on the sin of judgment. As Luke described in last Sunday’s gospel, “29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30).

AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, would end government-sanctioned judgment and let committed gay couples get married just like everybody else.

We can disagree about God’s opinion of homosexuality, but we must agree on the right to follow God in our own ways. Please sign AB 43 and give us freedom instead of legislated salvation.

Yours in Christ,

Evolving Talking Points

  • Governor Schwarzenegger does not hate gay people. He knows many as an actor, from Merv Griffin to Rosie O’Donnell. He has signed almost every lesbian and gay rights law he has received. He signed our very effective Domestic Partnership legislation. His Chief of Staff is a Lesbian.
  • It is unknown why he stops short on legal marriage. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a nearly identical bill in 2005. The reasons he has given range from weak to dismissable (lacks authority to override Proposition 22, wants the people to decide).
  • The legislature changed the California Family Code section 300 from “two persons” to “man and woman” in 1977. The change was signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Schwarzenegger says he lacks the authority to sign AB 43, but it is the same authority as Jerry Brown had in 1977. The legislature changes their laws all the time. Governor Schwarzenegger might be sued, but better him than me.
  • The people passed Proposition 22 in 2000 adding a section to the part of the California Family Code that deals with marriages performed in other places. Section 308 says California has to honor marriages performed elsewhere, and the new section, 308.5, limits that to heterosexual marriages performed elsewhere. It is a state rights issue. AB 43 does not change 308 or 308.5. The courts will need to sort that out but in the meantime we will have gay marriage and the will of the legislature will be on record.
  • We need AB 43 for several strategic reasons:
    • if the Supreme court decides in October that Californians deserve gay marriage, we will still need AB 43 to provide it.
    • a pro-marriage law will drive the courts towards legal marriage.
    • a pro-marriage law will drive the people towards legal marriage.
    • an anti-gay ballot initiative becomes one that removes freedoms rather than one that just reinforces existing law (unnecessary, benign).
  • Churches that do not believe in same-sex marriage (or any other kind of marriage) will not have to perform any ceremony. More importantly, churches that DO believe in same-sex marriage will finally be able to perform them (United Church of Christ, Metropolitan Community Church.)
  • Same-sex marriages and registered partnerships (Domestic Partnerships, civil unions) are not the same. Although registered partnerships give same-sex couples most of the benefits and protections of civil marriage, the couples are not legally married. Registered partnerships create two sets of laws that are expensive to administer, and they deprive California citizens of their dignity. Nobody grows up dreaming of getting ‘domestic partnered.’

Today’s letter – Religious Freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m writing today to ask you to consider Californian’s religious freedom when AB 43, the 2007 “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act” reaches your desk.

Congregations like St. Monica’s Catholic Church – where you go – should be able to exclude same-sex couples from the marriages they solemnize.

However, congregations like The Westwood Hills Congregational Church – right up the road – should also be able to exercise their beliefs and perform same-sex marriages.

California same-sex couples already have all the legal rights of marriage – why are you standing in the way of their religious right to marriage?

Yours,

Today’s letter – no problem finding a priest

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Why is it that my fiancĂ©e and I have no problem finding a priest who will marry us and a church that will welcome us, but our government won’t let us wed?

Please help end California’s ban on gay marriage by signing AB 43 and supporting marriage equality.

Sincerely,