Today’s letter – outing people isn’t nice, yet our government does it all the time

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A new documentary about closeted gay politicians put the issue of “outing” on the front burner. The LA Times’ James Rainey accelerated this by talking about his 1993 outing of City Council Candidate Jackie Goldberg against the desire of her then-partner and then 8-year-old son.

Journalists generally follow a protocol of not revealing somebody’s sexual orientation without their explicit permission, since outing somebody is just too potentially damaging to them and their families.

It is nice that journalists respect this privacy, but why doesn’t our government? As long as we have two – or three – different legal statuses describing relationships in this state, it is impossible for me to be “in the closet.” My car license outs me. Filing taxes outs me. My kids’ vaccination forms out me. As long as our State forms use the terms “married” and “domestic partner” – or “husband/wife” as on EDD forms DE1 (Registration Form for Commercial Employers) and DE1-HW (Registration Form for Employers of Household Workers) STILL do – I am automatically outed whenever I fill out a government form.

The only solution is to have one set of laws describing relationships in this state. I don’t care if it is “married” or “domestic partners” but a house divided cannot stand.

Governor, I wish you would apologize for vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act that would have legalized gay marriage through the legislature. I wish you would stand with fair-minded Californians against the government meddling in personal decisions. I wish you would make the GOP get rid of Michael Steele so Republicans can be electable again.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – instead of one law, now we have three

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision about the validity of Proposition 8 made my blood boil. Instead of having just one set of laws governing Californians, we now have three: one for heterosexual marriage, another for gay marriages performed during the Fall of 2008, and a third for Domestic Partnerships.

I hate Prop 8 and you should too – because it makes Government bigger and more intrusive into our daily lives, at great expense when we can ill afford it.

Governor, I wish you would apologize for vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act that would have legalized gay marriage through the legislature. I wish you would apologize for letting Gavin Newsome and Antonio Villaraigosa stand alone at rally after rally opposing Prop 8. I wish you would make the GOP get rid of Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh so Republicans can be electable again.

I wish you were on the side of Faith, Family and Freedom, instead of quietly waiting out your term.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – long lines on Memorial Day

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Happy Memorial Day, Governor. I hope you get a chance to go to the park with your family.

It’s funny – we go to the same schools and parks as our neighbors, we vote in the same elections, we go to the same churches, and at the ball games, we stand in the same lines for hot dogs. Yet when it is time to get married, same-sex couples have to stand in one line, while opposite couples have to stand in a different line.

That doesn’t seem very American to me.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Mean People

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Bishop Gene Robinson is coming to visit our church this weekend, and pick up a GLAAD Media Award along the way.

Bishop Robinson was not allowed to participate in discussions at the Lambeth conference in England last summer. The organizers banned him from the buildings and church where the meeting was held.

“The level of exclusion took my breath away,” the bishop said, “but I was sustained by my belief that God has a plan that includes justice for everyone. No matter what crap goes on here, God wins.”

I too am confident that California will get past this hateful, hurtful apartheid imposed by Proposition 8.

I wish you would ask the people of California to join you in overcoming their prejudice and welcome their lesbian and gay neighbors as they would expect to be welcomed themselves. Anything less breaks the Golden Rule and shatters my faith in my Church, my Government and my fellow Californians.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Housing Co-ownership

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Thank you for your veto on SB 153 Housing Co-Ownership, a bill that would have provided protection from Prop 13 property tax increases to surviving homeowners that are not domestic partnered or legally married. This is what marriage and Domestic Partnership is for, and those who want these rights need to accept the responsibility of marriage and Domestic Partnership.

I had to fight damn hard to get laws passed so that Prop 13 property tax increases would apply equally to me and my Domestic Partner as they do to married partners, and now that we are approaching equality in those separate institutions, I don’t want to go down the slippery slope of blessing people who are only willing to shack up on par with marriage and Domestic Partnership.

Thank you for doing the right thing on SB 153. I do want to mention that SB 153 would not have been even considered had you not vetoed AB 43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2007, a bill that would have stopped this dangerous slide at “marriage” by changing the label, not the laws.

I hope throughout the upcoming year that you work towards eliminating the need for these bills by supporting full marriage equality in the State of California.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Happy New Year

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Happy New Year!

I am pleased to start 2009 in a state with so much promise. I want to ask you to join me in my new year resolution to do more for marriage equality in this critical year.

California can’t afford to waste our precious taxpayer money on creating and maintaining “domestic partnerships” when marriage already exists with all the laws already in place.

California can’t afford to lose families as they flee to places that do not segregate their citizens into “domestic partnerships” but instead supply all families with the dignity that only marriage can provide.

You are going to have to work really hard to get the people of California to put this social issue behind us so that we can focus on the economy and the budget. You cannot do that by ignoring it. Please make a resolution with me to fix this marriage problem for the next century.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – governors Wallace and Schwarzenegger

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

It was 1963 – just 45 years ago today – that Governor George Wallace stood in a campus doorway while attempting to exclude two black students from the University of Alabama.

Telling people that they’re too dumb to attend school, then standing in the doorway while they are trying to do it, is just stupid. Excluding even one person from fully participating in our economy and society hurts us all.

Now 45 years later, the same people who were opposed to racial integration are trying to block same-sex marriage. They say that homosexuals are not capable or worthy of forming long-term stable relationships, then slam the door on those who simply seek that stability. It’s the same argument, and it’s still stupid.

Every bone in my body knows that all of our fundamental freedoms depend on equal legal protections. It is un-American and un-Christian to stand in the way of people who are just trying to do the right thing.

I thank God that you aren’t the kind of governor George Wallace was, and that you’re willing to fight with us to change “separate but equal” into “equal,” even against the policy of your political party.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Toward equality in our schools” celebrating the Mendez v. Westminster decision to integrate our schools. That was 1947 – who argues for segregation now?

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 – everybody knows that it is time

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A Field Poll of 1,052 registered California voters asked “Do you approve or disapprove of California allowing homosexuals to marry members of their own sex?” and for the first time since 1977 – when California’s law was changed to ban the unions – a majority answered that yes, they do support same-sex marriage.

As my Aunt wrote after she saw our story in the Chicago Tribune, “It’s about time.” The Wall Street Journal described it on their May 24 Opinion page, “Court Allows Gay Marriage: Tyranny or Its End?” And my Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa said “It’s time for us to bring every American out of the shadows and into the light, and this decision does that here in California.

Personally, I’m hoping to marry my fiancée of eleven years in a couple of weeks, and my friends, family and church are on the edge of their seats.

Please, Governor, keep supporting the freedom to marry in our great state. Keep fighting against the amendment. And most of all, please do whatever you can to make sure marriages start as soon as possible and continue after November.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Michigan shows what marriage bans _really_ do

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I wanted to explain to you why the stakes are so high for this November’s ballot initiative limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Michigan’s State Supreme Court ruled yesterday 5-2 that their 2004 ballot initiative to limit marriage also included “similar unions” and stripped at least 375 gay couples at public universities, community colleges, school districts and local governments of their benefits. It doesn’t’ take a crystal ball to realize that as soon as the Limit on Marriage passes, the Opponents of Equality will be gunning to unwind domestic partnerships too.

Because of the Domestic Partnership legislation that you signed in 2000, I have been able to make a pretty good life here in California, marry my husband and have two kids through surrogacy. I have been able to contribute back to the economy and society through taxes and tithing. But the Limit on Marriage proposition threatens to take all that away.

Your reaction to the initiative that would wreck my life has been merely neutral. I know that there are a lot of other things that are important these days, but could you amp it up a bit? A few words in opposition to the people in your administration, government and political party who are dedicated to eliminating same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption would do wonders. You need only to remind them of the golden rule – and why limiting marriage is a truly bad proposition.

Yours,