Today’s letter – 158 year-old tradition of tolerance

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve written to you before about the struggle I’ve been having with explaining the special ban on same-sex marriages to my kids, and especially how the Opponents of Equality come to California to throw money, time and mindshare at preventing certain people they have never met, who cause absolutely no harm, from making the fundamental decision of who they marry.

What does one say? “There are some people who hate your daddies so much that they come from across the country to keep them from getting married?” Or perhaps “There are some people who don’t want to share. Remember what we learned about sharing?” Clearly, neither truth would be responsible parenting.

After a 158 year tradition of liberty and tolerance ensconced in the California Constitution, it sure would be a shame to lose that all in a heated moment of intolerance.

Dan Hawes, an organizer with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, explains “There is a real sense of hope and possibility here because of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling. The fact that [hard-won freedom] could be taken away in five months is really painful for people who want to marry.”

Please, for my kids and all Californians, give us some moral guidance. Explain to the people that the only right thing to do is to uphold our Constitution that says that nobody should be picked out and treated differently because of what they think or what they believe. That is a tradition of neighborly love, not neighborly hate. That is something I can explain to my kids.

Yours,

Today’s letter – the price of a soul

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Charles Chesnutt was born in 1858 to two “free persons of color.” This heterosexually-married couple offered to sell their son to slavery, but could only get $23 for him, and turned down the deal.

In the new movie “Baby Mama” the character played by Tina Fey’s (occasionally seedy) character is shocked by the price of surrogacy and quips “It costs more to have somebody born than to have someone killed.” Nevertheless, she proceeds with the surrogacy.

The Opponents of Equality spent about $2 per signature to gather enough support to qualify the Constitutional amendment to limit marriage, and apparently succeeded.

So we have, by successive bidding, effectively determined the price of ones soul. It is $2.

Yours,

Today’s letter – why do you want war?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Samantha Smith was a ten-year-old girl in 1982 when she wrote to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov about the growing arms race between the countries.

Dear Mr. Andropov,
Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. …I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.
Sincerely,
Samantha Smith

Mr. Andropov wrote back to say

We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country—neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government—want either a big or “little” war.

and went on to invite Samantha and her family to come and visit, noting as anybody who has visited Moscow any other time, that “summer is best.”

As a gay dad, I feel like the Opponents of Equality have declared war on me and my family through a petition initiative to take away my legal and social status with a Constitutional amendment. It doesn’t help that the Republican Party Platform calls for my extermination too, saying that “We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger, I would like to know why you and your administration want to destroy same-sex couples, or at least my family. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.

Yours,

Today’s letter – teen sex out of wedlock

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a parent I was disgusted with the latest CDC study that revealed that one in four teenage girls are infected with at least one sexually transmitted disease.

It seems strange that the more obsessed we are with blocking gay marriage, the more teenagers are having sex out of wedlock. Maybe it is time for a change of course?

I wish you would advocate marriage as a way to encourage monogamy, instead of using it as a weapon to punish California’s lesbian and gay citizens for wanting to make the commitment of marriage.

You don’t protect our children by “protecting marriage.” You protect them by giving their parents the tools they need to be good parents. Please give us the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Jesse Kern and Mother Sally

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

After I heard Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern’s attack on lesbian and gay people – the one where she said they were “worse than terrorists” and “a cancer” that had to be eliminated – I was only disappointed to learn that her adult son Jesse, although currently “celibate,” was quite inarguably gay.

Unfortunately, poor Jesse Kern was not the Michael Stipe or Dan Savage kind of open and proud kind of gay, but the evil back-closet Ted Haggart / Larry Craig kind of gay, based on reports that he was twice cited for making inappropriate advances to other men in the library toilets at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Parents in this situation tend to go either way: they can go the way of Mary Cheney, Cher and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to embrace their children by creating a world where they can live and be happy, or they can go the way of Sally Kern, Sonny Bono and Pete Knight, removing the options of marriage and family leaving only “celibacy” or suicide.

Which one do you think winds up being best for the parents, kids and society?

I wish you would tell the people of this state that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, because it will take somebody like you to undo the damage that Sally Kern has done to us all, parents and kids alike.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Tom Ford is having kids

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Fashion designer Tom Ford announced that he would be joining the growing ranks of lesbian and gay parents by having a kid in 2008. He told a magazine that “I’ve always wanted kids. I don’t want to get to be 75 years old and just have made a lot of dresses, done some houses.”

Tom Ford has been with his partner, photographer Richard Buckley, for more than 20 years, and this is clearly not a decision that has been made lightly. But since gender is no longer an impediment to having children, why is it still an impediment to marriage?

It is wonderful that we live in a country where people like Brad Pitt, Heath Ledger and Tom Ford can intentionally have their kids out of wedlock, but I believe it would be a better world if people who want to make the commitment of marriage had the freedom to do that.

Yours,

Today’s letter – happy birthday to me

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is my 40th birthday.

Depending on who is talking, I am either happily married with two kids and a loving spouse, or a 40-year-old bachelor living with my buddy and two bastard children.

Anybody who has taken the time to know me understands that I am anything but a “bachelor” and my kids are anything but “bastard.” My friends, family, co-workers and Democratic legislators know that I am in every sense “married with children”.

Why, Governor, do you and your fellow Republicans continue to bury your collective heads in the sand and pretend gay relationships don’t exist? I exist, I am gay, I am Amercian, I have earned the freedom to marry – yet it is blocked by you and you alone.

You can do something about this. Tell your party and the courts that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage. I don’t want to turn 50 and still be unmarried.

Yours,

Today’s letter – lying is worse than homosexuality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m just trying to be the best husband and father that I can. That’s why I want to thank you for passing SB 777 to teach the truth in our schools.

I remember when I had my first sex-ed class (in a private Catholic school). I was in sixth grade. The principal and the male faculty took all the boys into the library, while the female faculty took all the girls to a classroom in the other end of the building. Being in the library, while the principal was trying to explain the reproductive system, we were looking up obscene words in the unabridged dictionary. That’s when I discovered to my dismay that a “navel” was several inches above where I thought it was. It was, in retrospect, very educational – but not because of the reasons that the faculty had intended.

Americans have developed a bad habit of confronting situations that challenge their beliefs by praying for contrary evidence to go away, then persecuting anybody who resists. Just like evolution and heliocentrism (a word from that unabridged dictionary) got this treatment in the past, homosexuals are getting it now.

As a gay man who believes in God and His country, raising children in a committed same-sex relationship, I’m a pretty damming piece of evidence that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

But in an attempt to make people like me “go away,” the Boy Scouts say that I don’t believe in God, Mormons say I am unpatriotic, Catholics say that I can’t get into heaven, and Republicans say I can’t raise children.

Just lying doesn’t make people like me go away – it just keeps me from fully participating in our economy and society. And that hurts everybody.

It doesn’t matter what somebody’s religious beliefs are, they are never an excuse for teaching lies to our children. Thank you for taking a stand for families by signing SB 777.

Yours,