Today’s letter – beyond California

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Now that it appears that we might finally have removed the barriers to the freedom to marry here in California, it is time to begin to turn our attention to letting Californians travel to other parts of the country and participate in the federal rights and responsibilities of marriage our state pays into and her citizens deserve.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the short title of a federal law of the United States passed on September 21, 1996 as Public Law No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419. Its provisions are codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C. The law has two effects:

1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.

2. The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

As you represent California to the rest of the country and the rest of the world, please don’t forget to ask, on behalf of the Citizens who support you, that other places extend the same dignity and respect to California’s citizens that California will always provide to them.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “California Poppy,” representing California to the country and the world.

Today’s letter – justification for taking away rights

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When can the Constitution take away the rights of individuals to participate in our economy and society? That was a question that the 9th circuit court decided in the case of Maj. Margaret Witt, an Air Force nurse who cared for injured patients on military flights and in operating rooms for nearly 20 years until she was discharged on the grounds that she had a six-year relationship with another woman, a civilian.

The court did not vacate “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the policy that was used to oust Witt, but observed that the government may only “intrude upon the personal and private lives of homosexuals” to “advance an important governmental interest,” such as maintaining troop readiness or improving morale – and Witt, in fact, did the opposite.

“Wounded people never asked me about my sexual orientation,” Witt said in a statement. “They were just glad to see me there.”

In response to California’s Supreme Court decision, I wish you would do more than merely “abide” but instead celebrate the end of government tyranny in individuals’ personal and private lives.

1. urge that same-sex marriages commence with all due haste.
2. urge citizens to contribute to humanitarian efforts instead of limits on marriage.
3. ask the Republican party to remove offensive language from the party platform.
4. ask all good citizens to vote in November, but vote against the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – United Nations speaks to marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 16 deals with marriage.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Clearly, marriage is fundamental to family throughout the world. Why not in California?

My intended spouse and I want to get married. The only barrier is your administration, which has compelled us into a domestic partnership instead. I wish you would explain to the people of California that marriage is different than domestic partnership, and that all committed couples should have the freedom to marry. If you can’t do it for your conscience, do it for world peace.

Yours,

Today’s letter – stamp out discrimination

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Since the United States Post Office announced a rate increase on first class postage, I took a quick look through the stamps that I’ve been using to write to you.

There’s a Gerald R. Ford stamp symbolizing the days where Republican meant getting out of people’s lives, a Black Heritage stamp with Charles W. Chesnutt symbolizing both the struggle for civil rights against pigheaded politicians and the fact that we don’t have a Lesbian and Gay stamp yet, and vintage mahogany Speedboats from the 1920’s that remind me that there are people who have been “shacking up” together almost that long who still cannot get married.

There’s “Alpine Tundra” in the Nature of America series that reminds me us that this land belongs to all of us (not just the heterosexuals), “Pollination” with the message that you don’t need to be married to get pregnant and have children, and a “Mendez vs. Westminster 1947 – Towards Equality in our Schools” stamp reminding us that the system works and change is possible.

“Jury Duty” celebrates the fact that gay people perform their civic duties just the same as the straights (even though they can’t get married to the person that they love like the straights) while Super Heroes reminds me of your days as The Terminator when you used to stand up for freedom from tyranny and Oppression.

And the LOVE stamp reminds me that all that we need to get the freedom to marry is your change of heart. Yes, we need you to tell the people that should be deciding who to marry instead of who can marry. That’s the only defense against a bad Supreme Court decision and a really bad Constitutional amendment proposition to permanently ban my marriage.

While I’m looking forward to the new 42-cent stamps, I hope they will bring a change of heart along with them.

Yours,

Today’s letter – an open letter asking for your help

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Equality California and the Let California Ring campaign are collecting signatures on an open letter asking you to address the California Supreme Court during oral arguments on the constitutionality of gay marriage this Spring.

As a defendant in the matter, and a proponent of “the dignity of every Californian,” you have an opportunity to speak directly to the judges about the expensive folly of excluding same-sex couples from participation in the economy and society.

If you were truly handcuffed into vetoing AB 43, a bill brought to you by the people through their elected representatives, now is your chance to make things right.

Strong families and individual choice are the cornerstone of California’s economy and your political party. I just want the government to support my choice to form and keep strong families through marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Trout get more respect

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Happy New Year!

I was just reading through all the new laws going into effect this year and noticed such things as:

Tanning booths: To address concern about skin cancer, changes the parental consent law for minors, ages 14 to 18, who patronize businesses using ultraviolet tanning devices so that such consent must be provided in person.

Trout protection: Declares state policy to discourage the release of hatchery-raised hybrid and nonnative fish species in waters set aside by the government for wild trout.

Witness protection: Gives the state attorney general authority to coordinate with and reimburse local agencies that provide protection to those testifying against gang members.

If we can have laws protecting teens, criminals and fish, why can’t we have a law protecting my belief that I should be able to marry the person that I love?

Sometimes I think you have more respect for trout than you have for gay people.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Going to Disneyland

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today I’m going to Disneyland! Disneyland opened up their Fairy Tale Wedding packages on April 5 to people who are unable to secure a valid marriage license – like the citizens of California currently in Domestic Partnership relationships.

A Disney spokesman said “This is consistent with our policy of creating a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for all of our guests.”

I wish California would follow Disney’s lead, and like Massachusetts, Canada, Spain and South Africa, welcome our same-sex couples with the dignity of marriage. Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, when it reaches your desk this Fall.

California Dreamin’,

Today’s letter – States’ Rights

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

We passed Proposition 22 so we could make our own decisions about marriage.

It is time to exercise that right, and go where the Federal government won’t: when you get AB 43 , please sign it so same-sex couples can have all of the privileges of marriage – in fact and in name.

Sincerely,