Today’s letter – you can prevent Perry vs. Schwarzenegger bashings

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

As a gay man in California, I am terrified of what will happen when the court issues its decision in Perry vs. you. I have a house, family, and two small children to protect, and tensions are running high. Regardless of what Judge Walker determines, when he announces his ruling, there will be some who lash out against their neighbors with physical violence.

It has already started. In response to the uptick in gay bashings this spring, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck explained that “the LAPD often notices a spike in gay-related hate crimes whenever Proposition 8 news makes major headlines.”

I have no doubt that those who would deny me my right to marry will not think twice about punching me in the face, running me down with their car, or setting my house on fire.

Governor Schwarzenegger, since you started this with your veto of AB 43, your neutral stance on Proposition 8, and tacit support of the hateful language in the Republican Party Platform, will you speak out now to help deflate this tension, and possibly save lives?

I wish you would voice your support of lesbian and gay Californians and their right to equal treatment under the law, and denounce those who deny freedom to others, especially the Opponents of Equality who operate through both quiet intimidation and overt physical violence.

Today’s letter – same-sex marriage is the only proven way to get more people to marry and fewer people to divorce

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Let’s protect marriage together.

Denmark legalized same-sex marriage in 1989. In ten years the marriage rate increased 10.7% and the divorce rate dropped 14%. In Norway, marriage up 12.8% and divorce went down 6%. In Sweden, marriage went up an astonishing 28.7% while divorce dropped 14%.

marriage statistics over ten years
since legalization of same-sex marriage
Denmark Norway Sweden
Ten-year change in marriage rate up 10.7% up 12.8% up 28.7%
Ten-year change in divorce rate down 14% down 6% down 14%

Anybody who says that same-sex marriage threatens heterosexual marriages is lying.

I wish you would help educate Californians about the facts surrounding marriage. Hate is taught, but so is fairness, compassion and freedom.

Sincerely,

Letter to GOP Chairman Michael Steele – prove it or apologize

Chairman Michael Steele
Republican National Committee
310 First Street
Washington, D. C. 20003

May 19, 2009

Dear Mr. Steele:

On May 16th you told the Georgia State Republican Convention that gay marriage costs small businesses more money than it makes them, because gay marriage laws force them to spend more on health care and other benefits for their gay-married employees than for their gay-unmarried employees.

As a small business owner and a gay dad, I know the facts, and I know that you are lying. I would like to respectfully ask you to prove what you are saying, or apologize for saying it.

You argued “Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for, So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

Any small business owner will tell you that we are exempted from state policies that require us to pay different benefits to our married employees than our unmarried employees. In exchange for not discriminating on the basis of marital status, we are protected from having to pay more for married employees than unmarried employees.

Moreover, gay marriage in my state means that I get more business from marriages being performed here, and I have a larger pool of qualified workers to choose from. Massachusetts discovered that five years of same-sex marriage has attracted highly-skilled workers and produced an economic boost of over $110 million – and unlike your assertion, there are real studies that support that.

If you really were concerned about the supposed cost of married employees, you would ban all benefits for married employees, yet you single out the gays to specially deprive them of these benefits.

I am disappointed that you would choose to break the ninth commandment in order to argue that Republicans take a bigger role in the most intimate individual decisions; that my Government should decide who should get married instead my Church; or that fiscal stability depends on whether or not I can get married. And as we saw in the firing of Arabic Linguist Dan Choi because of his sexual orientation, your arguments about the awful gays don’t help national security either.

As a gay dad, I’ve seen your kind of bankrupt arguments before. They are designed to marginalize and dehumanize your neighbors as you advance a moral position at the expense of individual freedom.

Abraham Lincoln pointed out that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Jesus said “treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.” Would you like it if there was a law preventing you and the person that you love from getting married? If so, then I am happy to step aside, but if not, then you are obliged to grant me at least the same freedom that you enjoy.

I know from the Oreo incident that you are in the habit of speculating without proof. I know from your talk radio record your opinion about Civil Unions. I read about your call today for Republicans to stop apologizing. Well, here is your opportunity to answer that call and redeem yourself: prove how my marriage costs anybody anything.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – domestic terrorists really hate people

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The messenger is as important as the message. All those phone calls you get from the Opponents of Equality – the ones who want you to do away same-sex marriage, end domestic partnerships and veto Harvey Milk Day – are being led by some pretty weird folks.

The National Organization for Marriage got a new board member, Orson Scott Card. He says that “[homosexuals] flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior [and] cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.”

He also says “marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”

Now I’m sure you have a pretty big “whacko” file on me by now, but I’m the one who just wants you to enforce the Constitution. Orson Scott Card is the one advocating a holocaust and threatening to blow up government buildings. History shows that if you give these people a voice, we will all lose, starting promptly with our freedom.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – hate lost, now it’s time to do good

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As you know, the California Supreme Court has decided that same-sex marriages will proceed, consistent with its ruling and the State Constitution.

In trying to convince the court to postpone the marriages until after a vote in November, the Opponents of Equality, specifically the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Campaign for California Families, claimed that “legal chaos” would result if marriage licenses were issued for six months and then blocked by a constitutional amendment. They might be right.

Well, the marriages are proceeding, and they are at risk of being overturned. If the Opponents of Equality truly want to avoid a nightmare scenario of national “legal chaos,” then it is their turn to give a little.

I think it would be sportsman-like and morally right for the Opponents of Equality to end their war against their neighbors and friends by taking the $10 million earmarked for divisive hate politics and contribute it towards healing the sick or feeding the poor. Or perhaps they could focus on the parental notification initiative that might bring a surprising number of allies from the lesbian and gay community.

Governor, please tell the Opponents of Equality – and your Republican colleagues – that fighting against the law of the land, and against California’s families, is unacceptable. Please ask them to end their support of the Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Republicans are not acting republican

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I voted Tuesday in my last election as a registered Republican. It is sad for me to resign my membership in the Republican party, but the party has strayed too far from a principle that individuals are empowered to make individual decisions.

In particular, as a gay dad, I was lucky enough to find somebody who I like and love, and who loves me in return. We finally won the freedom to make the intimate decision to commit to marriage. But the Republicans, with you as the exception, continue to fight to take that away.

Your party platform glibly informs that “it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman” and “we oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.” – teachings that are designed deny me my freedom to choose who I marry and make individual decisions about how I live my life.

A moral compass that lets one claim individual freedom, yet ostracize ones neighbors is neither American nor Christian, and I want no part of it.

I urge you, for the future of the Republican party, to help the GOP and California State Republican Assembly overcome their hatred and bias in order to open the tent to all individuals who want to make California a better place.

Sadly,

Today’s letter – a modern dividing line


Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The Mason-Dixon line was used to separate slave states from free states. We have managed to divide our country once again, this time with the battle lines that limit marriage.

Ten states – not even our neighbors – are asking California’s Supreme Court not to lift the special ban on same-sex marriages.

The Opponents of Equality are arguing that they might have to recognize our marriages in their own states, in case the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and their own states’ Constitutional Amendments are somehow struck down.

While these states may or may not have the right to exclude their fellow Americans from fully participating in their economy and society, that is up to them. Trying to punish Californians for their bigoted intolerance is reprehensible.

What is particularly sad is that they don’t even want to block California marriages altogether – they just want them to go away until November, when a Constitutional Amendment (that has not even qualified for the ballot) might stop them.

Please, Governor, join your Attorney General Jerry Brown in opposing these unfortunate attempts to second guess the California Supreme Court and undermine basic human rights in your state.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – what is up with Oklahoma?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

What is up with Oklahoma? As individual politicians incite what can only be described as xenophobia, guardians of equality remain silent.

Seventeen House Republicans refused to accept a goodwill copy of the Quran from the Ethnic American Advisory Council, based on the (incorrect) assumption that “Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology.” The political fallout? None.

One law, HB1804, makes it illegal to provide education or health care to undocumented immigrants, including infants; requires police to check the immigration status of anyone “suspected” of being in this country illegally; makes it a felony to give an illegal immigrant a ride; forbids the issuance of birth certificates to a child if one parent was an illegal alien; and confiscates the property of anyone caught violating HB1804. There was not even a rally against this one – supporters are cowering in legitimate fear.

Then to ice the cake, Republican Rep. Sally Kern focused on gays and lesbians, calling them more of a threat “than terrorism or Islam,” and calling them – us – a “cancer.”

Kern did not apologize – she instead got a standing ovation shortly after her comments were made public. Kern explained “I told the people when I was running for this office that I was a Christian candidate and that I believed we were in a cultural war for the very existence of our Judeo-Christian values.” Values that killed Matt Shepherd. Nice values.

I am so happy to work and live in California, where all of our citizens are welcomed to fully participate in our economy and society. Thank you, Governor, for making and keeping it that way.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Oklahoma” plus a three-cent “USA” makeup stamp.

Today’s letter – marriages will be overturned

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I want to give you a window into the constant “buzz” of hatred that pervades my daily life.

A YouTube user named “Danielstwin” commented on one of my YouTube videos saying

“we will see lololo [California’s fag marriages] will be overturned… no fags”

to which I immediately replied

“According to your profile, you are a fan of Ron Paul and his philosophy of libertarianism, and you talk about freedom for everybody. But you won’t let the gays get married. Instead you run around the internet calling people ‘fag’ when they haven’t done anything to you. Abraham Lincoln said “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” If you really want your own freedom – Ron Paul fan – you are obliged to give it to others. You’ll be surprised [by what happens when you give freedom.]

“Danielstwin” followed up with a personal message:

i have many gay friends and mother was a lesbian for years….i have no problem and think fag may have been a little over board. i just get tired of hearing liberals cry over all there bullshit. i am athiust and beleive that only woman and men should be married.. if there was a private island for gays to live and be wed great but there is not and i do not want my kids asking me growing up why are those men kissing. give me a break what is this country teaching are children… you know the facts are the facts a top DNA expert of the usa has said blacks are not as smart as whites and are more barbaric. they cant help it its in there animalistic being.,and he said he can prove it… so why hide this were did this guy go??????? we have been enslaved they freed slaves and endlaved all of us….. well sorry if i offended you but no gay weddings… if men were suppost to be together a man could get pregnant. if you can pull that off i will agree lolol daniel

I was obliged to respond, as I am prone to do.

Greetings, Daniel. If you have many lesbian and gay friends (and close relatives) then you know that they just want to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anybody else.

My husband and I have been together through two of Britney Spears’ marriages. We looked each other in the eyes and made the same promises that every married couple does on Valentine’s Day 2004. We had two kids through a process called gestational surrogacy that was developed to help infertile couples have children. We both did our part as men, and we were just as pregnant as any man can ever be. Our kids were baptized in our Episcopal church and they’re just learning to walk.

Our family knows we are married, our friends know we are married, our church knows we are married, and now finally even our state acknowledges that we are married.

I am probably more tired of liberals crying over their bullshit than even you! I don’t care about rubbing my sexuality into other people’s faces. But I am also tired of seeing my neighbors – and good people like yourself – running around saying that people like me – who happens to believe marriage is about more than sex – are not entitled to their beliefs, or their freedom.

I hope that when your kids see two men kissing, you can teach them that while you might not like it, this is a free country and that those men must love each other a whole lot – just like your parents love each other. Loving somebody doesn’t make somebody less human; in fact, doesn’t it make them more?

What is better, teaching your kids the difference between love and sex, or that it’s OK to run around calling anybody they disagree with a ‘fag?’

Same-sex marriage doesn’t hurt anybody. And let’s face it – if America sent all of her gays to an island, everybody would want to visit!

Governor, I am proud to live in a country where people can express their beliefs and ideas freely without fear of retribution. I am blessed that God gave me the means, wisdom and opportunity to speak back. When I do, I have the power to change hearts and minds; but every time I do, I wonder what citizenship we have been teaching our children that they can claim their freedom to speak, believe and marry, yet stop short of allowing those freedoms to others.

The Constitutional Amendment to Limit Marriage before voters this fall is the test of that citizenship. I pray that California will past the test by defeating the measure, and leave no American behind.

Sincerely,

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,