Today’s letter – Chinese are vilified, but not vile

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer David Pierson wrote a wonderful article about the “secret tunnels” in Fresno’s Chinatown in their November 26 edition. According to urban legend, the tunnels were created so the residents could crawl around without ever seeing daylight and people from the white side of the tracks could reach Chinatown speak-easies undetected. According to historians, though, the tunnels were actually fabricated by xenophobes in order to make the Chinese people seem less than human.

Phil Choy, past president of the Chinese Historical Society of America, explained that “The 19th century was an extremely racist climate. There had always been an attempt to remove the Chinese. You had this population of undesirables. The more mysterious they make us, the better.”

I believe the historians have this one right. As a Californian relegated to a Domestic Partnership, I have seen firsthand how the Opponents of Equality use rumors and outright lies to push my community’s relationships underground and demonize us as people.

The damage imposed on same-sex families isn’t quite as bad as the atrocities performed against Chinese-Americans, but it is the same devious twist of logic that turns one group of people into cockroaches by creating a mysterious network of tunnels, that turns another group of people into sexual deviants by creating a strange ‘alternative’ to marriage.

I am very upset at you, Governor, for supporting the lies and rumors that are used to put people down, instead of supporting the freedom to marry that would bring them up.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Same is not a shame

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Last night a friend of mine made an interesting observation. He pointed out that traditionally, marriage has been about ‘sameness.’ Same religion, same interests, same city, same house, same race, same bed.

Why would it be so strange to also have the same sex? Wearing each others’ clothes is no longer ‘weird’ but rather efficient. Being able to use the same locker room at the gym is quite practical. Not having to worry about putting the toilet seat down is quite a peacemaker too.

They say that the exception proves the rule. Just like there are exceptions to sameness, there are exceptions to differences. Please, support the freedom for same-sex couples to make the same commitment of marriage that same-religion, same-location, same-interests, same-house, same-bed, same-race couples can – and do – make every day. Please support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – it was we the people, not heterosexual males, who formed the union

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

It has been 135 years since Susan B. Anthony voted in the 1872 presidential election. She was arrested barely two weeks later because it was illegal at the time for women to vote.

In her defense, she argued that the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution said that all “persons” born in the US are citizens who can’t be denied the privileges of citizenship – then she pointed out if she were male, her behavior would have never been questioned.

“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people – women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government: the ballot.”

It took almost fifty years, but Susan B. Anthony managed to “redefine” voting laws to end the exclusion of women.

When you vetoed the Religious Tolerance and Civil Marriage Protection Act you said it was because of Proposition 22, a voter initiative that did not change either the Constitution of this State or this Country. You said I should be happy to enjoy the blessings of Domestic Partnership, and blocked me from making the commitment of marriage just because of the gender of the person I love.

I respectfully ask you to join us in the spirit of Susan B. Anthony and help us to “redefine marriage” so that all committed couples can make the commitment of marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – successful “shack-ups” undermine all marriages

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I want to get married, but I’m running into more and more people who just want to “shack up” without making that commitment. I am starting to think that the decline of marriage might be inspired by the many same-sex couples who have been forced to build their families without the safety and security of marriage, yet have done so with such success.

Many of our friends ask me and my permanent boyfriend for marital advice, which we happily supply, but I actually felt a bit guilty last week when a friend of mine from high school told me that he and his girlfriend decided to merely live together because of how well my ten-year relationship works without marriage.

Even public couples such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie cite gay relationships as reasons for not getting married. It’s so popular that Senator Carol Migden introduced a bill that would give California couples the rights of marriage without the responsibilities. She calls it “Domestic Partnership.”

If you believe that couples in a relationship should get married instead of “living in sin” then you should sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, and change the gold standard for successful relationships from “domestic partnerships” to marriages.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Domestic Partnerships are bad for Heterosexuals too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve written to you in the past about AB 43 which would allow same-sex couples to choose between marriage and Domestic Partnership, but today I want to write to you about a reciprocal bill – SB 11 – which would give all opposite-sex couples the option to choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage.

Heterosexuals couples over 62 years old can already choose Domestic Partnership instead of marriage but SB 11 would remove the age restriction and let anybody who can get married get Domestic Partnered instead.

I actually agree with Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) and an infamous Opponent of Equality, who said “Awarding marriage rights to people who shack up but refuse to get married is completely ridiculous. Why get married if you can get all the legal rights and benefits of marriage without being committed? This bad bill severely weakens the institution of marriage and will motivate unwed parents to remain uncommitted.”

SB 11 is a reciprocal bill to AB 43, and the reciprocal truth applies: why ban people who are “shacking up” from the commitment of marriage? Why would you motivate (or force) unwed parents to remain uncommitted? Just as SB 11 weakens marriage, AB 43 strengthens it by allowing committed couples to commit to each other.

My California Domestic Partner and I have been “shacked up” and “uncommitted” for way too long. I wish you would let us access the safety and security of marriage just like everybody else: please sign AB 43.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Once again, Domestic Partnership is not the same as Marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m just a normal guy trying to be the best father I can. Something has to really upset me to get me to write a letter. You accomplished that when you said that Domestic Partnership is the same as marriage.

You make me feel me frustrated because anybody with the sense God gave geese knows that they’re different. Domestic Partnership isn’t enough to satisfy the people who are forced into them, and it’s too much to satisfy the Opponents of Equality. In the meantime taxpayers are forking out to maintain a separate set of laws governing relationships and everybody is confused because there is no simple definition of a relationship.

I have to admit that when my California Domestic Partner and I got Domestic Partnered over a photocopier in the Glendale Galleria, it was not the happiest moment in my life. It was more like a trip to the dentist. But when we were eloped in San Francisco in 2004, my mother cried because she couldn’t make it in time to see her son get married. That’s the power a word has.

Obviously, you wouldn’t exclude people from marriage if you didn’t think that Domestic Partnerships were equal. Even you know that would be wrong. I’m here to tell you that they are not equal, not even separate-but-equal. They are demeaning and humiliating by their very design – the verbal and political equivalent of South Africa’s Townships and the pyramids of Abu Ghraib. When you say they are the same, you are wrong: not only technically incorrect but also ethically bankrupt.

You don’t have to sign AB 43 to support the freedom to marry, but as long as you pretend that Domestic Partnerships are the same as marriage, you are doing yourself and the people of California a grave disservice.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – teasing my kids

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As the father of two six-month old children, I believe my partner and I should have the freedom to marry.

Our kids have two dads, and like all kids they will be teased about something. Letting same-sex couples get married just like everybody else means they will have one less thing to be teased about. They won’t have any idea how much social stigma we had to overcome to bring them to school, because having two parents who are married is no big deal.

As a fellow parent (who happens to be governor), you can make it happen: please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, and let me and my California Registered Domestic Partner get married, just like everybody else.

Many thanks,

Today’s letter – Thank you for being a friend

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Thank you for being so supportive of California’s many lesbian and gay families, from signing our historic domestic partnership legislation to leaving $300,000 in this year’s budget for LGBT victims of domestic violence.

I wish your support of our community would go just one step further, the final step to marriage equality. You have the authority to reverse Jerry Brown’s 1977 change that banned gay marriage in California, without affecting the state rights proposition passed by voters in 2000. You have the opportunity to give freedom of religion and civil marriage protection to many thousands of families. You can continue to be a great friend to all of us who just want to be the best parents they can. Just sign AB 43 and support full and equal access to marriage for all Californians.

Your friend,

Today’s letter – Eight Domestic Partnership Laws or One Marriage Bill

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

My California Registered Domestic Partner and I are raising our two kids here in Los Angeles. There are currently nine bills moving through the legislature that will make my family’s life better. Five of them will make California a safer place for our children, and three of them are enhancements to California’s Domestic Partnership laws that you have so wonderfully supported. But only one of them will provide us with the respect, dignity and freedom that all Californians should enjoy.

SB 105 would simplify my state taxes so we can file them as easily as straight couples. SB 559 would fix my property value that was reassessed when we moved it into our family trust. AB 102 lets us change our family name like couples do when they get married.

But AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, would make those three laws and many others unnecessary by simply ending the legislature-imposed ban on same-sex marriage.

I don’t understand why your support for families like mine ends short of supporting marriage. California deserves to have one set of rules for everybody. Please sign AB 43 and end this parade of separate laws.

Hopefully,

Today’s letter – gays can’t marry but straights can domestic partner

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Did you know that in California, same-sex couples cannot be married, but opposite-sex couples can be domestic partners?

Apparently by Federal law, if you are being paid your dead spouse’s Social Security and remarry, you lose your deceased partner’s benefits. Our domestic partnership law has a carve-out for straight people over the age of 62 so they can keep their former spouse’s social security benefits, yet enjoy survivorship, inheritance and hospital visitation with their new partner.

I think that stinks. I’ve been in a domestic partnership since 2000; I pay MORE than the same taxes, but I can’t get my partner’s Social Security at all. If I were in a heterosexual relationship, I would not only be able to get my husband’s benefits, but also defraud the government in my next relationship.

California should have one word for marriage: “marriage.” Please sign AB 43 and get rid of this nonsense.

Offended, but still yours,