Today’s letter – exiled for 25 years

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

On the grand scale of “people doing mean things to other people,” banning same-sex couples from marriage seems pretty insignificant. But with Friday’s death of Mildred Loving, I was reminded of how cruel people can be.

Mrs. Loving, who was black, had married a white man, Richard Loving, in 1958 in Washington, D.C. They returned to their home in Virginia, but that state, along with 15 others at the time, would not recognize their marriage. They were arrested and charged with violating Virginia’s law against interracial unions. Under a plea bargain, they received suspended sentences and agreed to leave the state and not return, except separately, for 25 years. They moved to D.C., sued Virginia and the Supreme Court eventually said, yeah, this is a pretty awful way to treat your neighbors and fellow Americans.

California is on the verge of passing an initiative to do a similar nasty thing to her citizens. The Limit on Marriage proposition will change California’s constitution to make it clear that certain couples are not welcome here, just because of who they love.

The proposed “limit on marriage” will cruelly exile same-sex couples from our economy and our society, and teach kids who happen to be gay that there is no alternative for them but celibacy or suicide. That’s not good for anybody.

You have publicly dismissed the Limit on Marriage proposition as a “waste of time” but please consider joining us to explain to all Californians why this is a bad proposition.

Yours,

Today’s letter – United Nations calls for equal pay for equal work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 23 part (2) says:

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

As a gay dad who is on my same-sex domestic partner’s health insurance, I can tell you that there is a wee discrepancy between my treatment and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If we were married, my health insurance premiums would be deducted pre-tax. Because your administration will not let us marry, my health insurance premiums are considered to be a taxable benefit.

That means my fiancée is making less take-home pay than his counterparts simply because of his gender. That’s unfair not just here in the USA, but throughout the world.

There is no substitute for marriage; I wish you would help your fellow Republicans and the people of this state understand that, so that we can all have the same freedom, the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Desmond Tutu supports the freedom to marry

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Nobel Prize Winner and former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has weighed in on the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage.

“I am deeply, deeply distressed that in the face of the most horrendous problems — we’ve got poverty, we’ve got conflict and war, we’ve got HIV/AIDS — and what do we concentrate on? We concentrate on what you are doing in bed,” Tutu told journalists at the World Social Forum in Nairobi.

“To penalize someone because of their sexual orientation is like what used to happen to us; to be penalized for something which we could do nothing (about) — our ethnicity, our race,” said Tutu. “I would find it quite unacceptable to condemn, persecute a minority that has already been persecuted.”

His words echo those of Spanish and Canadian leaders who brought their people to understand and embrace same-sex marriage as a fundamental component of their nation’s diversity.

I wish his words would inspire you too. Please stop being an obstacle to freedom, and instead lead the people to understand what you must already know: there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, there is everything wrong with denying it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – let Oscar wed too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

At last night’s Academy Awards, the Best Short Documentary went to a film called “Freeheld” about the struggle that a New Jersey police Lieutenant faced as she tried to include her partner in her pension while she also battled cancer. Had her partner been a different gender, it would have been automatic; instead it was anything but.

I know that you intend for Domestic Partnership to provide same-sex couples with all of the time-tested social and legal features of marriage. The truth is that Domestic Partnership fails miserably at bringing even basic parity to California’s gay partnerships.

When Director Cynthia Wade tells three million people that “It was Lt. Laurel Hester’s dying wish that her fight against discrimination would make a difference for all the same-sex couples across the country,” she is telling three million people that leaders like you are the problem; that people like you, for all your best intentions, are merely obstacles to individual liberty until you support the freedom for all of us to decide for ourselves who we marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – New Jersey knows separate is never equal

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

New Jersey has had “civil unions” for a year now. A state commission was formed to find out how that was working out, and they released their report today.

The 12-member commission found that the law “creates a second-class status” for the 2,400 same-sex couples who have been unioned, and that the law is not fulfilling its mandate of providing same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals.

The commission wrote:

“The commission also heard testimony that the term ‘marriage,’ were it applied to the relationships of same-sex couples, would make a significant difference in providing equality to same-sex couples in New Jersey. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.”

In addition, because civil unions are not open to heterosexuals, “The New Jersey Civil Union law automatically outs someone or anyone who gets civil unioned,” which is a breach of privacy.

Lynn Fontaine Newsome, president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, testified before the commission that “the legal work performed for these clients is double that which is performed for married couples to ensure that they are afforded equal rights,” raising the costs for poor and minority couples who most need the time-tested protection of marriage.

Governor, you know that the domestic apartheid that you have set up and advocated hurts the people of your state. New Jersey’s Governor Jon Corzine has said he would sign a marriage bill – what about you? I wish you would take action to make sure that all of California’s couples have the same freedom – the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – agents of intolerance

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a gay dad, I believe you are almost on the verge of having the change of heart that we need so I can finally get married. Your endorsement of John McCain was a really big step for two reasons.

First, Senator McCain shares my opinion of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Robertson and their ilk, saying “neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance.”

As you know, Sen. McCain’s “Agents of Intolerance” are the same as my “Opponents of Equality” – they’re the people who say, without having met me or knowing anything about me, that I’m not worthy of marriage just because of who I want to marry. So that’s a plus.

Second, Senator McCain believes that the Federal government should not make the most intimate decision of who can marry who. “The constitutional amendment [banning gay marriage] strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans, [because] it usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them.”

It is a short stretch for you, Governor, to realize that the State of California is no better than the Federal government at deciding who can marry who. To paraphrase Senator McCain, it usurps from individuals a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes it instead on a state remedy for a problem that most people do not believe confronts them.

So, Governor, I’m hoping that you get a chance to talk to Senator McCain about same-sex marriage, and I hope enough of his centrist rhetoric rubs off on you that you will finally realize that California would be a better place if we all had the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Chancellor Schwarzenegger

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today was the 75th anniversary of the date Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Before his reign was over, more than 65,000 homosexuals were interred or murdered.

When you vetoed AB 43, the bill that would have stopped my family from being singled out for special exclusion from marriage, you claimed that California law left you no choice.

Martin Luther King said “Don’t ever forget that what Hitler did was legal.” I don’t want you to forget that what you did to me and my family by denying me the individual choice of marriage might have been legal, but it was not right.

Strong families and individual choice are the cornerstone of California’s economy and your political party. I just wish you would support my choice to form and keep a family through marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Al Gore is keeping Current

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I know you don’t answer to Al Gore, but you did listen to him about the environment, and that has turned out pretty well for everybody. Would you at least listen to what he has to say about same-sex marriage?

Gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women — to make contracts, to have hospital visiting rights, to join together in marriage, and I don’t understand why it is considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage.

Shouldn’t we be promoting that kind of faithfulness and loyalty to ones partner regardless of sexual orientation?

It is sad that it takes a Democrat to actually stand up for what so many Republicans say they believe: government ought not to intrude in the private lives of individuals where no state purpose is served.

Please, Governor, you don’t even need your own TV network. Just stand up in front of the California Supreme Court and tell them that all Californians deserve the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – your approach to same-sex marriage is wrong

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Yesterday you told the Los Angeles Times “I have learned a lot of things where I felt one way before I went into office, and all of a sudden you learn things are not quite this way and you change.”

One position you have not changed is your approach to same-sex marriage.

In four years, you have never once spoken out against a system where some people – like me – who pay taxes just like everybody else, but can’t get married like everybody else.

Anybody with the brains God gave geese knows having a separate set of laws for straight couples and gay couples causes harm to every Californian, every day. It pushes people in committed relationships away from the commitment of marriage and into something less. Yet you continue to oppose the legislature’s efforts to correct this domestic apartheid with one proper law.

You say “I would rather flip-flop when I see something is a wrong idea than get stuck with it and stay with it and [keep making] the same mistake.”

It’s time for you to flip-flop on your stand against the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Choosing to libertate or to obliberate

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As an American and as a parent, I believe government should not interfere with individual choices. My personal beliefs are echoed in the California Republican Party Platform, which says:

“As Republicans, we believe the home should remain the central place for individual decision-making, and issues impacting the family should not be handed over to intrusive government bureaucrats. … [P]arents are most capable of making decisions for and about their children … the CRP opposes any effort to weaken parents’ freedom of decision and choice.”

Imagine my surprise when I found a list of lawmakers – Republicans all – who have taken a different vow, by supporting the Protect Marriage campaign “in defense of marriage.” This heartless master says:

“We oppose granting to homosexuals special privileges, including marriage, domestic partnership benefits, and child custody or adoption.”

As a homosexual American and proud parent, let me be clear: such an initiative does not just merely subvert my individual decision-making, but sets out to deliberately destroy my family outright.

You know these people, Governor. They are your colleagues and friends. Yet they have compromised their party and their conscience to pursue a path which is reprehensible. I don’t want you to ask them to abandon their beliefs: I want you to ask them to choose which belief they really support: their belief that gay people should be excluded from our economy and society, or that all individuals should have the same freedom of personal choice, especially in who they marry.

Yours,

ATTACHMENT: lawmakers who endorse the “protect marriage” campaign

ProtectMarriage.com Coalition Endorsements

State Senators
Senator Dick Ackerman (R-Tustin) – www.senate.ca.gov/Ackerman
Senator Sam Aanestad (R-Redding) – www.senate.ca.gov/Aanestad
Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield ) – www.senate.ca.gov/Ashburn
Senator James Battin, Jr. (R-La Quinta) – www.senate.ca.gov/Battin
Senator John Campbell (R-Irvine) – www.senate.ca.gov/Campbell
Senator Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks) – www.senate.ca.gov/Cox
Senator Jeff Denham (R-Merced) – www.senate.ca.gov/Denham
Senator Bob Dutton (R-San Bernadino) – www.senate.ca.gov/Dutton
Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R- El Cajon) – www.senate.ca.gov/Hollingsworth
Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) – www.senate.ca.gov/Maldonado
Senator Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) – www.senate.ca.gov/Margett
Senator Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) – www.senate.ca.gov/McClintock
Senator Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside) – www.senate.ca.gov/Morrow
Senator Charles Poochigian (R-Fresno) – www.senate.ca.gov/Poochigian
Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) – www.senate.ca.gov/Runner
Senator Mark Wyland (R-Carlsbad) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Wyland

Assembly Members
Assemblyman Greg Aghzarian (R-Stockton) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Aghazarian
Assemblyman John Benoit (R-Palm Desert) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Benoit
Assemblyman Russ Bogh (R-Yucaipa) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Bogh
Assemblyman Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Cogdill
Assemblyman Chuck Devore (R-Irvine) – www.assembly.ca.gov/DeVore
Assemblyman Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Emmerson
Assemblyman Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Harman
Assemblyman Guy Houston (R-San Ramon) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Houston
Assemblyman Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Huff
Assemblyman Rick Keene (R-Chico) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Keene
Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa (R-Biggs) – www.assembly.ca.gov/LaMalfa
Assemblyman Jay LaSuer (R-LaMesa) – www.assembly.ca.gov/LaSuer
Assemblyman Bill Maze (R-Visalia) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Maze
Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R-Monrovia) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Mountjoy
Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi (R-Lodi) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Nakanishi
Assemblyman Roger Niello (R-Sacramento) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Niello
Assemblyman George Plescia (R-San Diego) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Plescia
Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Runner
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland (R-Camarillo) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Strickland
Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Costa Mesa) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Tran
Assemblyman Michael Villines (R-Clovis) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Villines
Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Walters