Today’s letter – sticks and stones do break bones

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A couple of weeks ago, Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern was caught comparing lesbian and gay citizens to cancer and calling them “worse than terrorists.”

It would have been nice if this very personal attack against my beliefs and my family had been met by public admonishment by her party and her state. Instead, it was answered by a teenager named Tucker:

“On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. … That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. … Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother’s killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves.

“Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They’ve already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names…. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.

“I wish you could’ve met my mom. Maybe she could’ve guided you in how a real Christian should be acting and speaking.”

Governor, you have not said the evil things that Sally Kern has. But you have also done nothing to undo them either. You continue to tolerate anti-gay messaging in your Republican party, your Catholic church and within your own administration. You continue to call same-sex couples who aspire to marriage as somehow less worthy of human dignity than yourself.

I am truly disappointed in you both as a governor and as a human being.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Jesse Kern and Mother Sally

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

After I heard Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern’s attack on lesbian and gay people – the one where she said they were “worse than terrorists” and “a cancer” that had to be eliminated – I was only disappointed to learn that her adult son Jesse, although currently “celibate,” was quite inarguably gay.

Unfortunately, poor Jesse Kern was not the Michael Stipe or Dan Savage kind of open and proud kind of gay, but the evil back-closet Ted Haggart / Larry Craig kind of gay, based on reports that he was twice cited for making inappropriate advances to other men in the library toilets at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Parents in this situation tend to go either way: they can go the way of Mary Cheney, Cher and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to embrace their children by creating a world where they can live and be happy, or they can go the way of Sally Kern, Sonny Bono and Pete Knight, removing the options of marriage and family leaving only “celibacy” or suicide.

Which one do you think winds up being best for the parents, kids and society?

I wish you would tell the people of this state that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, because it will take somebody like you to undo the damage that Sally Kern has done to us all, parents and kids alike.

Yours,

Today’s letter – why Republicans hate the gays

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern was secretly videotaped kvetching about The Gays at a Republican party meeting.

“I honestly think it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam. … The homosexual agenda is a very real threat to the sacred institution of marriage and the traditional family unit … If you have cancer in your little toe, do you just say that I’m going to forget about it since the rest of you is fine? It spreads! This stuff is deadly and it is spreading. It will destroy our young people and it will destroy this nation.”

Since then, Ms. Kern has been busy defending her comments while lashing out at her lesbian and gay neighbors both for trying to blocking her speech and for releasing the video on YouTube.

“They want to silence anyone who does not approve their lifestyle. They want their freedom but don’t want those who disagree to have their freedom.”

Now I could say a bunch of lofty stuff about “with freedom comes responsibility” and “I may not agree with you but I will defend with my life your ability to say it.” But the issue here is not one of freedom to hate – the Boy Scouts proved that’s already in our Constitution – but the freedom to love. Can our democracy overcome the false teachings of Ms. Kern and extend the freedom to marry to all her people?

It can, Governor, with your help.

Yours,

Today’s letter – short slippery slope

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Just to be clear, polygamist men are allowed to marry and file joint taxes, although only with one wife at a time. Right?

Why do polygamists have more rights than I do as a committed man in a domestic partnership relationship?

Yours,

Today’s letter – supporting evil is the same as doing evil

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As an example of how awful this battle over the freedom to marry has become, we fired our roofer today.

Well, we didn’t actually “fire” him, but here’s what happened. We had a leak in our roof. This guy from who was highly recommended came over to look at it, and later emailed us a quotation. His email led to his professional Web site, which listed “Victory Outreach Church of Eagle Rock” in his “community” section.

It took about ten seconds to discover that Valley Outreach is a notorious Texas-based Megachurch that not only operates reparation therapy facilities (where they beat the gay out of people) but also specifically endorses the Protect Marriage campaign to exterminate my family.

I did what anybody of conscience is obliged to do: I told this guy that I would retch if a fraction of a fraction of my money went to a place that has exchanged Jesus’ teachings for those of Pete Knight.

Our poor roofer guy was shocked and tried to defend his conscience by saying that he knows many gay people who are “his kindest friends.” I explained that if his ethics allows him to tell his kindest friends they are less worthy of marriage than Britney Spears, then he is not someone I want within a mile of my family, and chased him away.

Really, these are the people who can shoot an abortion doctor in the head without blinking an eye. They should be laughed out of any room they’re in. Yet they asked you to veto AB 43 and you complied.

I really wish you would put an end to this awful battle by telling the people of California that prejudice and hate is not acceptable. There is nothing wrong with gay marriage; there is everything wrong with denying it.

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

Today’s letter – you cannot lead people when you hate them

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am not impressed when evangelicals like Ted Haggard, Paul Barnes, Mike Huckabee, John Paulk, Trent Lott, Larry Craig and Richard Roberts throw stones at my family and then destroy their own. It is par for the course. I just wish they didn’t use their three million followers and shady political connections to amplify their own “rightneous” while specially excluding me and my fiancée from freely participating in the economy and society.

I am not arguing that Mike Huckabee is secretly homosexual; what I am saying is that the history of evangelical ministers – especially gay-bashing Republican ones – demonstrates that the higher they are, the further they fall. By that measure, Mike Huckabee is in orbit.

So let’s play a game. Try to match the quotations on the left with the person making it on the right:

1) “It’s not because I don’t like [gay people.] It’s because I like even more the idea that the heart and soul, the essence of our civilization is in the family [without gays].”

2) “We don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the Bible.”

3) “So there is a sense in which, you know, it’s one thing to say if people want to live a different way, that’s their business. But when you want to redefine what family means or what marriage means, then that’s an issue that should require some serious and significant debate in the public square.”

4) “It is [a sin]….You should try to show them a way to deal with that problem, just like alcohol…or sex addiction…or kleptomaniacs.”

5) “We need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.”

A) Mike Huckabee, Baptist minister and Republican candidate for President.

B) Ted Haggard who was having drug-fueled homosexual trysts instead of good man-on-woman sex with his wife:

C) Paul Barnes, founder and former senior minister of Grace Chapel, who resigned when his gay dalliances were revealed;

D) Trent Lott, Senator from Mississippi who suddenly ended his 35-year career in congress under “curious” circumstances.

E) Larry Craig, Senator for Idaho, who admitted to soliciting sex in an airport bathroom.

F) John Paulk, former chairman of the board for Exodus International North America (a group that beats the gay out of people)

The answers are 1-A, 2-B, 3-A, 4-D, 5-A. But it doesn’t matter, because anybody who believes that the key to fixing families in this country is by specially excluding gays from marriage is unfit for office, either by demonstrated irrationality or by hidden proclivities. You cannot lead people when you hate them.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Pete Knight: In his own words

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When you vetoed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (and my freedom to marry), you cited “Proposition 22” as last word on same-sex marriage in California. I think it is important to look at what those words are – and what words you support – when you support Proposition 22.

Proposition 22’s author Pete Knight said:

“The man-woman family is the best possible family unit… The woman brings certain characteristics, and the man brings certain characteristics. Homosexuals who want to marry are asking the state to legalize and promote a family unit that is different from the best.”

“They talk about equal rights, but there is no right to marriage. … There is no civil right that says that you should be allowed to marry a man and a man.”

“As far as domestic partners are concerned, I think I can accept, and I would be willing to support, domestic partners with limited rights, limited state’s rights. …they should have the ability to designate whoever they want to come in and visit with them in a hospital. Those kinds of things are kind of basic, and they don’t even need to register as domestic partners to have that happen. There are legal documents, there are legal means, by which they can accomplish that. They can have a will and leave whatever they have to whomever they want. So that’s not something that’s being denied them. They can have those kinds of things.”

“I think, sooner or later, the government is going to have to step in and say, now wait a minute. You can’t have a marriage here and not be accepted here. We had a patchwork one time with slavery, and we had to correct it.”

“The state would have to teach that this is an acceptable family unit. The state should not be sponsoring or promoting a second-class unit.”

This guy sure was good. He was able to convince an entire state of Americans to turn against their principles and say that not all of us are created equal. His success forces me to take time I could be spending with my kids in order to beg for every little scrap that “first-class” units like Britney Spears can get in under an hour. He has managed to redefine marriage as a weapon, and aimed it straight at me.

I wish you, Governor, would do more to thwart this man’s injustices, and less to propagate them.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Buying with Dignity and Fairness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The Human Rights Campaign released their annual Buying Guide for Equality last week. In addition to rankings for brands and stores, it has fun marketing facts, such as “77% of heterosexuals are likely to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits above one that does not” and “1 in 4 adults say they have switched products or service providers because they found a competing company that supports causes that benefit the GLBT community.”

It is not shocking that there are so many companies with high ratings – all you have to do is treat all your employees with dignity and fairness regardless of their sexual orientation. What is surprising is that there are entertainment companies with less than perfect scores (Vivendi Universal scored 35) and that there still companies with zeros – like Exxon Mobil Corp.

Businesses understand that treating your employees with dignity and fairness is not only right, but also profitable. When is California going to learn this?

I wish you would end your support of special rights for heterosexuals and instead support a California that gives all of her citizens the same freedom, the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Do Good Work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Like many Californians, I’m not profoundly religious, and the Bible is a big puzzle. So I rely on people of faith to help me interpret that book.

The Most Reverend Jefferts Schori, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, told a congregation confused about the role of homosexuality in scripture that “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Sit there and throw words at each other,’ He said, ‘Get out there and heal the sick and help the poor.’ “

You know, she is right. You don’t get into heaven by punishing people here on earth. You get there by helping them.

I wish you and your Government would help couples like us get married, instead of punishing us for doing nothing wrong. Then you could focus on your budget and the churches could concentrate on helping people.

Yours,