Today’s letter – healthcare reform needs our support, but I’m not that generous

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

During the election, then-candidate Barack Obama said about the gays, “it is wrong to hold up a line from Leviticus [condemning gays] while forgetting the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount [where Jesus teaches you to treat your neighbor as you treat yourself.]”

Then on Friday, the Administration released a memo defending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the grounds that homosexuality is, among other falsehoods, equivalent to incest.

Well, I am not willing to forget the Sermon on the Mount either. If President Obama wants me to respect him, he needs to respect me. The minion in the DOJ who put out this release needs to loose ALL of her Federal benefits along with her job. The dodo in the White House Press Office who defended the memo needs to loose ALL of his Federal benefits along with his job. And Michelle needs to make Barack sleep on the couch until he demands congress provide comprehensive and indistinguishable equality in employment, taxation, social security and immigration to every American citizen.

I would love to contribute to the Democrats’ health care reform plan – but all my spare change is going to fix the lies Mr. Obama is spreading.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – hospitals will block gay parents and their children as long as marriage is unstandardized

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today’s New York Times tells the story of Lisa Pond, who collapsed on a cruise ship and was taken to the ER in Florida. Her Domestic Partner Janice Langbehn and their three adopted kids followed the ambulance. They were denied access to see Lisa for hours despite the fact that all the appropriate medical and legal forms were faxed to the hospital within 30 minutes. Lisa Pond died alone.

This family did everything that they were told to do: they had their lawyers provide partnership agreements, powers of attorney, wills and trusts. But they lacked the one thing that would have allowed Lisa Pound to see her three children and her life partner before she died: the dignity and documentation that only the time-tested legal structure of marriage can provide.

As a gay dad in California, I know how important family is in these kinds of situations. I do not sleep well at night knowing that this kind of family disaster will occur over and over again until every couple is able to access the same institution, full legal marriage.

My kids know I’m married, my parents know I’m married. My Church and congregation know that I’m married. In this kind of situation, the only thing that matters is if my Government considers that I’m married. Or can you assure me otherwise?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Doctors should not be able to choose between their faith and their job

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In the “Gathering Storm” ad being aired by the National Organization for Marriage (“NOM”) there is a California doctor who testifies that she “has to choose between my faith and my job.”

I don’t want to live in a state where the doctor at the emergency room triages patients based on their beliefs; I don’t want to live in a state where my HMO sends patients to somebody who gives them second-class treatment because of their prejudices.

I don’t think the remedy is getting rid of same-sex marriage. Governor, could you please contact NOM to find out who that California doctor is, so she can be immediately removed from medical practice?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – people who are unhappy with fairness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was astonished to learn that even the opponents of equality believe “domestic partnership” and marriage are in fact the same things.

Kentucky State Senator Vernie McGaha introduced legislation that would bar state agencies and schools from providing health insurance for the domestic partners of their employees, even when fully paid for by the beneficiaries. Sen. McGaha said that he was concerned about the erosion of the sanctity of marriage by the provision of domestic-partner benefits.

That the bill was defeated in committee was no surprise. State Senator Ernesto Scorsone explained “I think most Kentuckians believe if you are able to pay for the insurance, you ought to be able to buy it.”

What shocked me was that six of the fifteen committee members voted for the legislation, apparently considering simple domestic partnership benefits to be an offensive intrusion by the gays into the world of marriage. These people will not be happy until I am exterminated.

Governor, it is time to choose between encouraging marriage and encouraging intolerance. The voters of this state are on the verge of changing our Constitution to block people like me from forming partnerships. Whether this comes out nine to six or six to nine depends on your support. I wish you would tell the people that you support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – State of the State

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In your “State of the State” address last Tuesday, you asked legislators to work with you to tackle some of California’s most pressing challenges. While your list had many important items, I expected that your agenda would have been topped by the plight of over 100,000 Californians who are specially blocked from getting married. That’s 100,000 Californians who would like have the freedom to marry the person they love, but are specially excluded from participating our economy and society.

While we are still debating whether people have a right to health care or clean air, we are all in agreement that the people have a right to live free from discrimination based on their gender, religion or sexual orientation.

I wish you would assume leadership of this issue like you have on the budget, education, growth, health care and the environment, because of all of the great things you want to accomplish, there is nothing more important than ensuring that all Californians have the freedom to enjoy them.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Salvation Army Undermines World AIDS Effort

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is World AIDS Day. It’s an awful disease. Government is not doing enough, and the religious are doing even less.

The US branch of the Salvation Army ignores this day to ring bells in suburbia. They divert money from direct aid in order to block the only things that are shown to stop the disease: needle exchange, condoms, and commitments like same-sex marriage. They use the excuse of religion to pick and choose who they help – reserving food baskets and employee health care for people who meet their myopic definition of family.

Money can not “do the most good” when it is dispensed with an agenda influenced not by compassion but by judgment. Nobody can help people when they hate them.

I wish you would say something this holiday season about how the Salvation Army is undermining the fight against AIDS with its old-testament evangelical superstitiously-based policies. The Salvation Army may be entitled to their beliefs, but Californians deserve to know what beliefs they are funding.

Yours,

Today’s letter – You are doing neither

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a parent who wants to teach his kids about freedom and tolerance, it irritates me that you have so curtly promised to veto AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.
It’s not the veto that saddens me; what offends me as an American is your refusal to acknowledge that it is fundamentally wrong to carve out and exclude a whole group of people from marriage based exclusively on who they love.

In signing AB 43, your hands might be tied, but in denouncing two sets of laws governing relationships in California, your mouth is still free. Won’t you use that freedom so I can teach my kids about freedom and tolerance by example rather than by exception?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Whose side are you on?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am writing to ask you to sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California. Have a look at the groups that support and oppose AB 43 and the freedom to marry, and you decide which group you would trust with your health decisions and the safety of your children. It is time to let the health and social professionals do their job by signing AB 43.

Groups that support AB 43 and the freedom to marry:

the American Academy of Pediatrics,

American Psychiatric Association,
American Psychological Association,
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (District IX),
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists,
American Psychoanalytic Association,
the National Association of Social Workers.
the NAACP California State Conference,
United Farm Workers,
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
Chinese for Affirmative Action,
California Teachers Association,
ACLU,
California Nurses Association,
Anti-Defamation League,
California National Organization for Women,
California Church Impact,
the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

AB 43 and the freedom to marry is opposed by:

the Campaign for California Families (CCF)
the Capitol Resource Institute

Who would you trust with your kids health and future? Who would you go to for relationship advice? Who is going to be out of business if you sign AB 43 and who is here to help? Whose platform is built on exclusion and whose on freedom?

Pragmatically,

Today’s letter – whatever it takes

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I see from today’s paper that you are teaming up with the Democrats and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez in order to “do whatever it takes” to overhaul our healthcare system.

I wish you would “do whatever it takes” to bring the freedom to marry to all Californians.

Like healthcare, freedom to marry will allow universal access to important services inside of a secure, time-tested framework that everybody understands. Unlike healthcare, nobody is being forced to get married or even perform the ceremonies, and California taxpayers will actually save $24 million a year. It provides personal choice and freedom to Californians at a bargain price – something worth fighting for.

“Whatever it takes” includes signing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. The legislature was clever enough to design it so it wouldn’t conflict with Proposition 22, and now that “universal access” is in your vocabulary, signing it isn’t even politically risky: it’s just the least you can do.

So please consider signing AB 43 and bringing to California’s same-sex couples the same freedom to marry that you have.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – we need it either way

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When you vetoed AB 849, the 2005 version of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, you concluded “If the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, this bill is not necessary. If the ban is constitutional, this bill is ineffective.”

With AB 43, the exact opposite is true. If the ban on same-sex couples from marriage is found to be unconstitutional, a bill like AB 43 would be necessary for marriages to commence. If the special ban is constitutional, this bill would be effective at changing a different part of the Family Code than the one currently being examined by the court.

The people will ultimately decide, and AB 43 is the prescription for doing that: a necessary and effective law that would end the ban preventing religious institutions from freely practicing their beliefs and stop the special exclusion of same-sex couples from choosing marriage. I wish you would sign this prescription for the health, safety and security of all California’s families.

Sincerely,